Go the distance… or just a few steps
You don’t have to pack for months, or even days, to get a taste of the long-distance trails that run through Massachusetts. Here’s where to find adventures of all sizes at Trustees reservations:
Bay Circuit Trail
Newbury: Old Town Hill
Hamilton/Ipswich: Appleton Farms
Andover/North Andover: Ward Reservation
Concord: The Old Manse
Sherborn: Rocky Narrows
Medfield: Medfield Rhododendrons,
Noon Hill, Shattuck Reservation
Tyringham: Tyringham Cobble
Photo on left: Together, Denny Nackony, Rita Corey, Greg Meister, and Kurt Buermann worked to mark the Bay Circuit Trail's course through Sharon.
Rocky hilltops dimple a lush and forested landscape of shimmering ponds and chattering waterfalls.
Into the Wilds
The state seems to rumple as you head west, into a region of exceptional conservation land nestled in the less populated, ten-town region north of the Quabbin Reservoir. Rocky hilltops dimple a lush and forested landscape of shimmering ponds and chattering waterfalls. More than 90,000 acres of protected parkland can be found in North Quabbin country, and the 22-mile Tully Trail loops through many of its highlights, including three Trustees reservations (see sidebar).
“We’re blessed,” enthuses Mike Lovell of Orange, Mass. “It’s quite the trail system.” A Trustees member since 2006, Lovell regularly contributes his time to maintain the Tully Trail and keep it clear of brush, branches, and litter. “It’s a special treat to be out in the woods, plus you’re doing something to help all kinds of other people. It brightens your thinking about how the whole world works.”
Completed in 2001, the Tully Trail begins at Tully Lake Campground, the only Trustees-managed campground. It heads north toward Royalston Falls, where a delicate cascade drops more than 20 feet into an inaccessible grotto. Just beyond, close to the trail’s midpoint, stands a free, first-come, first-serve, eight-bunk shelter constructed by Trustees volunteers in 2003.
Here the Tully Trail is joined for 1.4 miles by a portion of the Metacomet-Monadnock (M-M) Trail, which runs for 114 miles from the Connecticut border to the summit of Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire. In March 2009, the Massachusetts portion of trail, along with connected trails in Connecticut, was designated the New England National Scenic Trail, a Congressional recognition of its significance.
With its new designation, the M-M Trail enjoys the same status as that most famous of long-distance paths: the Appalachian Trail (AT). On its journey from Georgia to Maine, the AT traces 90 miles across the Berkshires – including a one-mile stretch through The Trustees’ Tyringham Cobble, where a striking hilltop meadow provides sweeping views.
The AT first graced the Cobble in the mid-1980s, when The Trustees worked to reroute the trail away from a nearby road. Trustees volunteers continue to monitor the trail today, and an annual October volunteer workday draws dozens.