Bald Hill Reservation and Boxford State Forest

Bald Hill Reservation and Boxford State Forest
Middleton Road
Boxford, MA 01921
978-686-3391

Bald Hill East is one of Essex County's best assemblages of rich forestland, diverse wetlands, and associated biological diversity, which change by season. Greenbelt protects 25 land parcels, totaling 286 acres, within a much larger protected area. Bald Hill East is adjacent to Boxford State Forest's Longmeadow Swamp and the John Phillips Wildlife Sanctuary, which together consist of 1,800 acres of large land tracts spread across the towns of Boxford, North Andover, and Middleton. Special Features: The natural history of this property consists of a variety of habitats supporting an extraordinary diversity of plant and animal life. The landscape has been shaped by its past use as woodlot and pasture, with remnants of stone walls still visible today. Wetlands, ponds and at least two vernal pools add to the diversity of this area; and in recent year, beavers have been active, creating even more wetlands. Spring signals migratory birds, wildflowers, and vernal pools; summer brings sedges and breeding raptors; fall delivers a spectacular foliage display and winter wildlife tracking is an exciting adventure, when fallen snow becomes the record book for the travels of nearby white-tail deer, fisher, mink, otter and other animals. Bald Hill East is one of Essex County's best assemblages of rich forestland, diverse wetlands, and associated biological diversity, which change by season. Greenbelt protects 25 land parcels, totaling 286 acres, within a much larger protected area. Bald Hill East is adjacent to Boxford State Forest's Longmeadow Swamp and the John Phillips Wildlife Sanctuary, which together consist of 1,800 acres of large land tracts spread across the towns of Boxford, North Andover, and Middleton. Special Features: The natural history of this property consists of a variety of habitats supporting an extraordinary diversity of plant and animal life. The landscape has been shaped by its past use as woodlot and pasture, with remnants of stone walls still visible today. Wetlands, ponds and at least two vernal pools add to the diversity of this area; and in recent year, beavers have been active, creating even more wetlands. Spring signals migratory birds, wildflowers, and vernal pools; summer brings sedges and breeding raptors; fall delivers a spectacular foliage display and winter wildlife tracking is an exciting adventure, when fallen snow becomes the record book for the travels of nearby white-tail deer, fisher, mink, otter and other animals.

Hours: 

Dawn to Dusk

Driving Directions: 

From I-95 take exit 51 for Endicott St., Boxford. From exit ramp turn west for a very short distance (just across the interstate if you were driving north on 95) to Middleton Rd. Turn right (north) and drive about 2 miles to a large dirt pullout on left with a kiosk for the reservation, which shows a trail map. This is where birders park for Crooked Pond. About half a mile farther north is a second pulloff on left beside a white house; there is room here for two cars. This is a good place from which to explore the northernmost trails.

Site Notes & Advisories: 

Autumn’s bare branches allow you to see the tops of the skyscrapers in Boston from the very top of the hill! For a trail map visit www.ecga.org/properties/baldhill.html. Hiking, cross-country skiing, climbing, birding, nature study,snowshoeing, horseback riding and fishing. Mountain biking on designated trails only. Bird Species of Note: Nesting barred owls, pileated woodpeckers, winter wrens, northern and Louisiana waterthrushes, yellow-throated and blue-headed vireos, red-shouldered hawks, and northern goshawks (usually one pair) are the main attractions of this wonderful reservation, along with woodland species commonly seen anywhere in the county. Counts of red-eyed vireos, scarlet tanagers, ovenbirds, black-throated green warblers, brown creepers, and red-breasted nuthatches can be impressive here. Common ravens are sometimes seen or heard and may nest in the area. This is one of the best places in the county to spot a fisher, though it doesn't happen very often. Viewing Information: There are no facilities in the reservation, but the breeding-season birding is as good as it gets; this is one of the most popular interior birding spots in the county. Other Notices: Biting insects are greedy after mid-May, so come prepared. Wear boots suitable for wading in shallow water and mud, as beavers have dammed the pond outlet and inlet streams and portions of the main trail are usually flooded. If you can get across the inlet stream at the back of the pond by walking across the beaver dam, the trails on and around Bald Hill are open to you, and these trails are largely dry. If you don't have a trail map, study the map on the kiosk so you can remember how to get to and around Crooked Pond. Trail maps are usually available at Bradley Palmer State Park in Topsfield or Harold Parker State Forest in North Andover. Hunting is allowed on this property. Visitors to this area from October through December should wear blaze orange cap or vest for visibility. Statewide, hunting is prohibited on Sundays.

Flags: 

  • Family Friendly
  • Parking
  • Pet Friendly
  • Self guided

Categories: 

  • Birding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Natural Resources
  • Parks

Property Owner/Organization: 

Essex County Greenbelt Association
Essex Coastal Scenic Byway
Rail Trail
Rail Trail Trailhead