Halibut Point Reservation
Rockport, MA
12 acres
Bird Watching Mountain Biking Not Permitted Dog Walking Fishing Walking/Hiking (Moderate) Picnicking Public Transportation Restroom

About Halibut Point Reservation

Scramble across ledges scarred for eons by wind and wave and examine tide pools teeming with marine life.

What makes Halibut Point a special place?
Bird watchers get an eyeful from this low coastal shelf overlooking dramatic surf. The weather-beaten bluffs here make up a low rocky coastal shelf covered in bayberry, greenbriar, and shadbush. During storms, waves crash over the rocky shore. Tidal pools harbor snails, hermit crabs, and sea stars.

Above the reservation is the former Babson Farm Quarry, now filled by natural underground springs. Granite quarried here at the turn of the 20th century paved thousands of city streets and built bridges, tunnels, monuments, warehouses, and buildings, such as Boston's Custom House Tower.

Halibut Point is cooperatively managed by The Trustees of Reservations and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), which acquired an adjoining 54-acre state park in 1981 with the assistance of The Trustees. DCR operates a small visitor center and museum dedicated to telling the story of Cape Ann's historic granite industry.

Reservation is located along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway, part of the congressionally designated Essex National Heritage Area. The Area’s extensive historic, cultural and natural resources tell the story of the region’s role in the nation’s early settlement, maritime trade and industrialization.

2.5 miles of trails. Moderate walking. The reservation is a link in Rockport's Atlantic Path.

When to Visit
Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 1 hour, 2 hours if visiting state park and its visitor center and museum.

The state park operates a small visitor center and museum devoted to Halibut Point's natural history and Cape Ann's historic granite quarrying industry, of which Halibut Point's Babson Farm Quarry was a major part. The visitor center has public restrooms.

Regulations & Advisories

Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.

Cape Ann Spring Happenings >>

The Trustees reserves the right to photograph or video visitors and program participants for promotional use, and usage of our properties implies consent. Find the full policy here.


Gott Avenue
Pigeon Cove
Rockport, MA 01966
Telephone: 978.526.8687
E-mail: dgove@thetrustees.org

Latitude: 42.6888
Longitude: -70.6295

Get directions on Google Maps.

From Rt. 128 Exit 9, take Rt. 127 North for 3 mi. At Rockport Center, turn left onto Railroad Ave. (remains Rt. 127) and follow for 2.4 mi. Turn right onto Gott Ave. Entrance and parking (70 cars) on right.


When to Visit
Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 1 hour, 2 hours if visiting state park and its visitor center and museum.

Parking for Halibut Point Reservation is shared with Halibut Point State Park. Admission is FREE for Trustees members, pedestrians, and bicyclists, but you must display your Trustees member sticker on the dashboard of your vehicle, with your membership number and expiration date clearly visible, in order to ensure free parking.

Parking fee for nonmembers year-round. Nonmembers may use the following parking passes for free parking:

  • Annual DCR ParksPass
  • Day Use Parking Pass
  • Library or Recreation Department ParksPass
  • Senior Citizen Pass
  • Disable Parking Placard/License Plate
  • Disable Veterans License Plate

Memorial Day through Labor Day:
Fee based parking when available.
When parking lot is full, lot closes for a 2-hour time frame.
No waiting at the gate allowed.

Property History

Halibut Point was once home to a large granite-quarrying operation in the years around the turn of the 20th century. Granite quarried here at the turn of the 20th century paved thousands of city streets and built bridges, tunnels, monuments, warehouses, and buildings, such as Boston's Custom House Tower.

Property Acquisition History
Purchased in 1934 with funds given by Dr. John C. Phillips and Rockport residents.

Conservation and Stewardship

Management Planning for Our Properties

Since 1891, The Trustees have worked to protect special places in Massachusetts and maintain them to the highest standards. To ensure these standards are met, a program of careful planning and sound management is essential. Comprehensive property management plans are created for each reservation and are completely updated approximately every ten years. We often work with volunteers, property users, and members of the community to carry out this planning, which typically involves several steps:

  • Describing in detail the site’s natural, scenic, and historical resources; identifying management issues related to the protection of those resources. 

  • Describing how visitors use the property; outlining the opportunities that the property provides for people to become involved in the work of conservation and caring for their community.

  • Developing a detailed list of management recommendations, a work plan, and a description of financial needs for implementing the actions.

  • Developing a prescribed routine management program for the reservation that will guide staff work plans, volunteer involvement, and the allocation of human and financial resources.

View Halibut Point management plan.

Maps and Resources

Interpretive brochure with map available for free from the gatehouse attendant and the State Park's visitor center. The brochure covers both Halibut Point State Park (Department of Conservation and Recreation) and The Trustees' Halibut Point Reservation. You can also download a trail map before you go.

Planning Your Visit

Travel Links
Essex National Heritage Area
North of Boston CVB
Cape Ann.com
Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce
North Shore Chamber of Commerce

Before You Go
We encourage you to visit as many Trustees properties as you can.

Wherever your travels take you, please observe all posted regulations, follow special instructions from property staff, and keep in mind the Stewardship Code:

  • Protect wildlife and plants.
  • Guard against all risk of fire.
  • Help keep air and water clean.
  • Carry out what you carry in.
  • Use marked footpaths and bridle paths.
  • Leave livestock, crops, and machinery alone.
  • Respect the privacy of neighboring land.
  • Enjoy and share the landscape with others.

Click on links below for further visitor information:

Before Setting Out

Enjoying Trustees Reservations


About Hunting on Trustees of Reservations Land

Tell Us What You Think

We’d love to hear about your visit! Here are three easy ways to let us know what you think:

  1. Take our visitor survey. If you have a question for us, you can ask us in the survey and we’ll get back to you.

  2. Post a comment about your visit on our Facebook page.

  3. Share your experiences with other visitors on our website. Simply fill out the form below, and we’ll post your comment right here on this page.

Submitted by gwfirecracker on: July 20, 2016
Had an amazing visit to Halibut Point State Park last week. As always so clean and beautifully maintained, not to mention picturesque. To read more about my visit, check out my blog post featuring this awesome State Park:http://www.lifeasiseeitphotography.net/2016/07/halibut-point-state-park-must-see-when.html

Submitted by Jan on: August 8, 2013
I visited the park on 8/7/13. Among the scrub and wildfires I spotted something that looked like a cross between a dragonfly and a hummingbird. After researching online, I figured out that it was a hummingbird moth, also sometimes called a hummingbird clearwing. This is the first time I've seen this insect!

Submitted by The Trustees on: May 11, 2011
Response to MoJoRizn: We're looking into the cedar apple rust issue. Our experience with cedar apple rust is that it doesn't harm the cedar tree, although it looks bad. The spores could cause harm if there is an orchard nearby. Normally, we don't spray cedars for cedar apple rust unless there are harvested apple orchards nearby. Thank you.

Submitted by MoJoRizn on: May 5, 2011
My girlfriend and visited Halibut state park, primarily for birding reasons. We did see several species of warbler, and my first ever sighting of an Eastern Towhee. We did notice that there was some strange looking orange like sea anemone on several of the evergreen/juniper trees. We identified this a dangerous fungus called Cedar-apple rust. The infestation is pretty bad and should probably be treated before the trees are jeapordized.

Submitted by SueBee on: June 8, 2010
I love this place. Very well maintained. Visitors respectful of the place. Lots to see.

Submitted by Nate on: August 12, 2009

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