Agassiz Rock
Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA
116 acres
Bird Watching Cross-country skiing/Snowshoeing Hunting Walking/Hiking (Moderate) Picnicking

About Agassiz Rock

Ascend a small hill to where a massive granite monolith left by the last glacier juts into the sky, then pass a swamp where another huge boulder has sat as silent witness for millennia.

What makes Agassiz Rock a special place?
Big and Little Agassiz Rocks are dramatic examples of giant boulders plucked from bedrock and carried far away by the last glacier. A short loop trail leads you up Beaverdam Hill where Little Agassiz Rock emerges as a giant granite monolith silhouetted against the sky. A short distance away, other boulders lie perched on the edge of this glaciated upland. Below, in a small shrub swamp, rests 30-foot-tall Big Agassiz Rock. No one knows how far below the ground it is buried.

As the glaciers scoured this landscape, the mass of bedrock forming the hill proved more resistant than the surrounding soil, forcing the bottom of the glacier up and over the hill. The north side was smoothed and the south side left steep and rugged as the glacier broke off chunks of rock as it passed.

1-mile loop trail (moderate hiking) takes in both Big and Little Agassiz Rocks. Following long periods of rain, when the water table is high, the immediate area surrounding Big Agassiz Rock can be flooded.

When to Visit
Open year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 1 hour.

Regulations & Advisories

Seasonal hunting is not permitted at this property without prior written permission from the property superintendent. In addition, a Trustees of Reservations permit is required. Learn more about hunting on Trustees properties.

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.


School Street
Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA 01944
Telephone: 978.526.8687

Latitude: 42.5981
Longitude: -70.7669

Get directions on Google Maps.

From Rt. 128 (exit 15), take School St. north for 0.5 mi. Entrance and roadside parking (10 cars) on right.


When to Visit
Open year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 1 hour.

FREE to all.

Property History

In October 1874, a group of students from the Essex Institute formally named the site to honor Louis Agassiz (1807–1873), the professor of natural history at Harvard University who first theorized that the rocks that dot New England’s landscape were shaped and deposited by glaciers. Agassiz supposedly visited the site at the suggestion of its then-owner, Frederick Burnham.

Agassiz found its erratics great lessons to advance his theory and to bring it to the attention of science. Prior to Agassiz’s theory, it was widely believed that the scattering of rocks throughout New England were the result of Noah’s great flood.

Property Acquisition History
Original acreage a gift, with endowment, of Arthur W. Stevens in 1957 and 1958. Additional land purchased in 1960, 1961, and 1963. Additional land given by Doris E. Peabody and Mrs. John B. Warner in memory of William A. Stone and Charles H. Stone in 1964; Barbara Babin, Edwin F., Rowland E., and Dorothea Butler in 1965 in memory of Nelson A. Butler; Samuel Knight & Sons Co. in 1966; the heirs of Eva Rand in 1967; and Douglas DeAngelis in 2001.

Conservation and Stewardship

Management Planning for Our Properties

Since 1891, The Trustees of Reservations 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.

Maps and Resources

Printed trail maps are distributed free from bulletin boards in parking areas. Please understand that supplies sometimes run out. You may also download trail a map from this web site or mail order trail maps in advance of your visit.

Planning Your Visit

Travel Links
Essex National Heritage Area
North of Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau
North Shore Chamber of Commerce
Town of Manchester-by-the-Sea

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