Stavros Reservation
Essex, MA
74 acres
Bird Watching Cross-country skiing/Snowshoeing Hunting Mountain Biking Not Permitted Dog Walking Walking/Hiking (Moderate) Picnicking

About Stavros Reservation

Enjoy an easy ascent to a coastal hilltop that rewards you with panoramic views of Crane Beach and the Essex River estuary.

What makes Stavros Reservation a special place?
While most of this reservation protects more than 50 acres of salt marsh, its most popular feature is Whites Hill, a coastal drumlin that offers unobstructed views of Crane Beach, the Crane Wildlife Refuge, and Halibut Point.

A loop trail leads you along a field and up the hillside to a broad, open meadow. Here stands the fieldstone base of a 50-foot, three-level tower built by Lamont G. Burnham in the 1880s. It was said that, in its day, the structure was used as a pumping tower to supply water to the Burnham farm. It’s also rumored that a sentinel stationed in the tower would look for coal barges belonging to Mr. Burnham rounding Halibut Point. When the signal came, Mr. Burnham would ride a fast horse to Newburyport to put a price on the cargo.

As you loop back down the hill, you’ll trek through a thicket of Devil's walking stick, broken only by a small hillside clearing that offers views over the salt marshes to Castle Hill.

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.

3/4-mile trail. Moderate hiking.

When to Visit
Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of ½ hour.

Regulations & Advisories

  • Tick Warning: Be sure to check for ticks (which can transmit Lyme Disease) after visiting the reservation. Long-sleeve shirts and long pants recommended.

  • Mountain biking is not allowed.

  • Seasonal hunting is not permitted at this property without prior written permission from the property superintendent. In addition, a Trustees 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.


Island Road
Essex, MA 01929
Telephone: 978.526.8687

Latitude: 42.6508
Longitude: -70.7868

Get directions on Google Maps.

From Rt. 128 Exit 15, take School St. north (becomes Southern Ave.) for 3.1 mi. until it ends at Rt. 133. Turn left and follow for 2 mi. through Essex Center. Immediately after the Cape Ann Golf Course, turn right onto Island Rd. Entrance and roadside parking on right.


When to Visit
Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of ½ hour.

FREE to all

Property History

Property Acquisition History
Original acreage a gift of Mary F. Stavros in 1982. Additional land purchased in 1985.

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

At present, a downloadable trail map is not available for Stavros Reservation.

Planning Your Visit

Travel Links
Cape Ann Whale Watch
Essex National Heritage Area
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