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Coronavirus Update from The Trustees
Appleton Farms Grass Rides
northeast Hamilton & Ipswich, MA
259 acres

This property is open during normal hours. The Trustees asks that visitors follow social distancing guidelines for the health and safety of all. Please note: all buildings and inside areas are remain closed on all properties. For more information about our response to COVID-19, please click here.

Appleton Farms Grass Rides Hours and Admission
Daily; Sunrise to Sunset
Free to Members; $5 Parking Fee for Non-Members

COVID-19 Safety Guidelines for Trustees Properties:

  • Limit visits to open Trustees properties to your respective town or neighborhood;
  • Stay at least six feet from other visitors, including stepping aside on the trail to let others pass;
  • Please keep dogs leashed and away from other visitors at all times;
  • If a parking area is full, please come back at a less busy time.

Thank you for visiting and supporting Appleton Farms. To renew your Membership or become a new Member of The Trustees, click here.

The Appleton Farm Store is open for online orders and curbside pickup, at

This family-friendly network of grassy trails provides an ideal environment for walking, exploring, and nature watching.

What makes Appleton Farms Grass Rides a special place?
With more than five miles of wide carriage paths bordered by woods, Appleton Farms Grass Rides was originally designed for horseback riding. Like a wagon wheel, five “rides” (an English term for carriage path) meet in a central clearing called the “Roundpoint,” where a large granite pinnacle salvaged from the demolition of the former Harvard College Library stands as a silent sentry.

Don’t miss the Great Pasture Trail, which parallels a stone wall.bordered by forest on one side and the beautiful open landscape of the Great Pasture, dotted with cows. From the Pigeon Hill overlook, you can take in a panoramic view of the entire pasture and the site of another pinnacle salvaged from Harvard.

There are four pinnacles on the property, given to the Appleton family in recognition of their long association with Harvard University. Over the centuries, many Appletons held important positions in both the military and government, practiced law or entered business professions. Many retained strong ties with Appleton Farms and its traditions, and some continued to live on the farm and manage its day-to-day activities.

Appleton Farms Grass Rides is made up of forest, open fields, and wetlands. On the upland portion of the reservation you’ll find secondary growth forest, interspersed by occasional small fields. Long ago, these areas were originally covered by mature stands of white pine and oak. However, in the 17th century, these old-growth forests were cleared by colonists to meet their needs for timber and pasture land. What you see today is the result of the slow process of vegetative succession and natural regeneration of former pastureland back into forest.

Wetlands found on the Grass Rides are part of the watershed for the Miles and Ipswich Rivers. At one time, these wetlands were more extensive than they are today. In the past, many farmers, who did not fully understand the ecological importance of wetlands, took measures to drain or divert them. As you walk the trails, look for the many fine examples of stone culverts and bridges that, thanks to the skilled craftsmen who constructed them, are still working effectively to maintain the existing wetland habitat.

5.5 miles of grass avenues (easy walking) that serve as a link in the Bay Circuit Trail and the "Discover Hamilton" trail system.

When to Visit
Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 1 hour, 3 hours if also visiting Appleton Farms.

Public restrooms are available in the Carriage Barn located in the farmstead.

  • Regulations & Advisories
  • Programs
  • History
Announcements & Alerts

Learn about the Appleton tree care and renewal project

For cross country ski trail condition information please visit

Quest Detective

Advisory: Authorized bow hunting is allowed on portions of this reservation with prior written permission from the property superintendent. Please stay on marked trails. See Regulations and Advisories at left for more information.

The Hike Trustees Challenge
Take our Hike Trustees challenge and see just how far you can go. Get outside, win prizes.
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