Signal Hill

4 08 2013

    • Location: Canton, Mass.
    • Owner: The Trustees of Reservations
    • Highlights: Short walk to a view of Great Blue Hill and the Boston skyline.
    • Description: The hill, located by an industrial park, once was a seasonal home for paleo-Americans. (Source: This Trustees of Reservations page about the hill)
    • Directions (from Boston): 20.2 miles, 29 minutes
    • The Trail: 0.5 miles, round trip
      1. In the parking lot, gaze up at the hill you will climb.
      2.  From the lot, follow the trail along a field and into the woods.
      3. At the junction, take the trail leading to the left, following the “Scenic Overlook” sign.
      4. It ascends uphill until quickly reaching the summit and view.
      5. Return on the same path.

Turkey Hill

11 09 2010

  • Location: Whitney and Thayer Woods, Cohasset and Hingham, MA
  • Owner: The Trustees of Reservations
  • Highlights: An extremely short hike to a great view of the Atlantic Ocean, Hull windmill, Boston skyline, Blue Hills, and South Shore. A much longer hike could be done from other parking areas.
  • Directions (from Boston): 18 miles, 31 minutes
  • The Trail: 0.12 miles, round trip 
    1. From the parking lot located almost at the summit, follow the obvious path into the open field, quickly reaching the summit and view.
    2. Return to the parking lot or explore the other trails on the property or nearby Weir River Farm.
  • Trail maps are available from the trailhead kiosk or here (PDF).


Old Town Hill

24 04 2009

MA - Newbury - Old Town Hill

  • Location: Old Town Hill, Newbury, MA
  • Owner: Trustees of Reservations
  • Highlights: A short hike to nice directional views of New Hampshire, Maine, Plum Island, and the Atlantic Ocean
  • Directions (from Boston): 40.1 miles, 51 minutes
  • The Trail: 1.26 miles round trip
    1. From the parking lot, cross Newman Road to the trailhead, Parking Access Trail. This entire hike is blazed with white markers and follows the route of the Bay Circuit Trail.
    2. Follow Parking Access Trail for a bit parallel to the road until it curves away from Newman Road and comes to a T with Ridge Trail, a much wider trail.
    3. Turn right on this trail and follow it as it winds uphill and around Watch Field, a meadow with limited views.
    4. A bit beyond the meadow, the trail emerges in a clearing with nice directional views.
    5. Return via the same route.
  • A trail map is available on the Trustees of Reservations Web site here (PDF) and is posted on a bulletin board at the parking lot.   

  • Weir Hill

    17 04 2009
  • Location: Weir Hill, North Andover, MA
  • Owner: The Trustees of Reservations
  • Highlights: Several viewpoints of the Merrimack Valley along this loop hike which travels through open meadows, thinned forests, and undisturbed woods.
  • Directions (from Boston): 29.5 miles, 37 minutes
  • The Trail:  0.5 miles round trip to clearing; approximately 1.5 miles taking the loop

    1. Follow the wide path from the road into the woods.
    2. Almost immediately after entering the woods, turn right onto Stevens Trail.
    3. This climbs steadily for a bit to a clearing with a nice view and bench on which to rest.
    4. From the clearing, one can return to the parking area along the same route or take a loop following Stevens Trail out the other side of the clearing and returning on a combination of Weir Hill, Scrub Oak, Johnson and several unnamed trails.
  • Trail maps are available from the Trustees of Reservations Web site here (PDF).

  • 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

  • Noon Hill

    16 11 2007

    MA - Medfield - Noon Hill

  • Location: Medfield, MA
  • Owner: The Trustees of Reservations  
  • Highlights: A relatively easy walk through an extensive trail system to a summit with views to Gillete Stadium and the surrounding scenery
  • Directions (from Boston): 31.6 miles, 47 minutes
  • The Trail: 1.8 miles round trip
    1. Before venturing up the hill, consider taking a trail at the right of the parking lot to Holt Pond.  The pond is within sight of the trailhead.  A bench overlooks the pond providing a nice spot for a pre (or post) hike snack. 
    2. The trail to the hill top leaves to the left of the parking lot. 
    3. Folow the trail through marked junctions 1, 2 and 3.
    4. At junction 4, keep left and continue to junction 8.
    5. At junction 8, turn right and complete your assent up the hill.
    6. Upon reaching  junction 7, turn left and reach the overlook, from which Gillette Stadium is visible. 
    7. Retrace your steps back to junction 7 and turn left.
    8. At junction 6, turn right and follow that trail through junction 5 to where it rejoins the trail you took up at junction 4. 
    9. Retrace your steps through junctions 3, 2 and 1 back to the parking lot.
  • All junctions were marked, although things got a little confusing at junction 8 where there was a detour from what I assume was the path marked on trail maps available at the trailhead.  A map is also available from the Trustees of Reservation’s Noon Hill Web site.