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By foot or canoe, enjoy incomparable views of the Charles River at its most serene as it slowly winds between granite walls. Or amble among pine groves and past wetlands along seven miles of trails and footpaths.
What makes Rocky Narrows a special place?
We think it’s the riverside location and great paddling as well as the reservation’s blend of mixed forest and wetlands that make for varied, and memorable, experiences. The reservation – The Trustees’ first – showcases the Charles River at its loveliest: a pastoral stream slowly moving between ancient cliff walls and steeply wooded hillsides.
Paddlers justifiably regard this stretch of the meandering, 80-mile Charles River as just about ideal. Canoeist or kayaker, river veteran or newcomer, you’ll revel in its gentle current and spectacular natural surroundings. A mixed forest of hardwoods and evergreens once again blanket a landscape cleared long ago for farming, and the 50-foot rock walls that form the Narrows themselves date back 650 million years.
For a change of scenery, emerge from your boat at the landing and head out on foot across miles of carriage roads and footpaths through rocky uplands and resurgent forest. A two-mile hike follows the river’s edge south before reaching successive overlooks. Rocky Narrows Overlook takes some effort to reach, but you’ll be rewarded with views of steep, hemlock covered cliffs that form a narrow river passage – the landmark that gives the reservation its name.
Further south along the trail is a granite bluff that bears the name King Philip, the Wampanoag chief who warred against the early settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. From King Philip’s Overlook (in Sherborn Town Forest), visitors can view the marshes of Medfield and Millis, with Noon Hill on the distant horizon.
If the forests, wetlands, and riverbanks you explore here seem larger than 274 acres, that’s because they are: Rocky Narrows brackets the Sherborn Town Forest on three sides. This successful model of public/private land conservation has resulted in almost 400 suburban acres protected from development.
7 miles of trails, including those that pass through the adjacent 150-acre Sherborn Town Forest. Moderate hiking, strenuous in places. The property is a link in the Bay Circuit Trail.
When to Visit
Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 1½ hours.