Holt Hill

24 04 2008

MA - Andover - Holt Hill

  • Location: Ward Reservation, Andover and North Andover, MA
  • Owner: Trustees of Reservations
  • Highlights: A short hike to the highest point in Essex County emptys onto an open summit with fantastic views south to the Boston skyline; two other hills are accessable after a longer hike in the reservation
  • Directions (from Boston):  22.6 mi, 30 minutes
  • The Trail:  1.2 mi
    1. From the parking lot, walk right on Prospect Road until reaching a gated road on the left (the gate is visible from the parking lot).
    2. At the gate, either follow its road (the shorter, less scenic route) or parallel Prospect Road on Rachel’s Trail (the longer – not that long – more scenic route).
    3. Rachel’s Trail passes between a small orchard and the road before reaching a multi-way junction at marker 4.  At this junction, take the Bay Circuit Trail left into the woods (it is marked as this and as a way to Holt Hill).
    4. After curving to the right (following white blazes), the trail emerges into a clearing.
    5. Follow it uphill through the open field until reaching the fire tower and the Solsctice Stones.  These mark the peak of Holt Hill and offer a great view.
    6. From here there are several different trails that can either take you further into the reservation to Shrub Hill and Boston Hill or back to the parking lot.
    7. I chose to make a longer loop back following an unnamed trail that exited the summit going behind the fire tower. 
    8. This trail entered the woods, descended somewhat steeply and passed another unnamed trail exiting to the right.
    9. A little further on, it junctioned with Sanborn Trail.
    10. Turn left on Sanborn Trail and follow it along Cat Swamp before it turns uphill and eventually rejoins the Bay Circuit Trail a little bit uphill from the gate mentioned in step II.
    11. Make a right on the road and follow it past the gate back to Prospect Road and the parking lot.  
  • Trail maps are available from the trailhead kiosk or the Ward Reservation Web site
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