by Kezia Bacon, Correspondent
Cohasset is a gorgeous town, with its hardwood forests, granite ledges, and numerous coastal views. It’s home to two properties managed by The Trustees, as well as a corner of Wompatuck State Park… and also quite a few conservation parcels! Are you ready to hit the trails and see some of Cohasset’s hidden beauty? See below for details.
Also be sure to keep up with our 2022 Explore South Shore Challenge. Each week, we suggest a different outdoor activity to try. This month’s themes include: sketching or painting a landscape, geocaching, looking for signs of spring, creating a photo series or nature video, and taking a sensory walk.
To help you meet these challenges, every day in March we’ll feature a relevant property on Instagram and Facebook. Post photos from your adventures to Instagram with the hashtag #ExploreSouthShore. Each month we randomly select a winner from the posts to receive a prize package.
Aaron River Reservoir & Dam
For a short walk and some stunning water views, consider this alternate entrance to the 3500-acre Wompatuck State Park. Hike up the steep hill beside the spillway and then walk across the top of the 900-foot wide, 25-foot-tall dam. Continue down the other side and it’s just under a half mile round-trip. At the foot of the dam, an additional path crosses the Aaron River and connects to the park’s extensive trail network, including the Doane Street entrance. The Aaron River finds its source within Wompatuck State Park, and joins with Brass Kettle Brook downstream of the dam. Part of the Gulf River watershed, it flows into the ocean at Cohasset Harbor. Limited on-site parking at the end of Beechwood Street. Pedestrian access from Aaron River Road.
Brass Kettle Conservation Area
This 120-acre forest, acquired by the town in 2004 and 2008, offers about a mile of woodland trails, historic stone walls, and vernal pools, and access to Brass Kettle Brook. With trails leading into the Pape Reservation and Whitney & Thayer Woods, it’s easy to extend your stay. Look for the small parking area (2-3 cars) between 265 & 279 King Street.
Wompatuck State Park – Doane Street Entrance
Another alternate entrance to Wompatuck State Park is located on Doane Street in Cohasset. It’s an excellent access point for views of the Aaron River Reservoir. (Hike along the R7 trail to reach a lovely spot with water views.) It’s also great place to begin a bike ride through the park. Limited on-site parking at the end of Doane Street.
Great Brewster Woods
Very close to the Cohasset Common, off Highland Ave., look for the entrance to this varied 26-acre woodland. Within you’ll find a well-marked 1-mile trail with moderate elevation, plus numerous rocky outcroppings and views of the salt marsh and Little Harbor. The southern portion of the property drains to Cohasset Harbor. The northern portion drains to Little Harbor. On-site parking for 2-3 vehicles. Additional parking with separate trailhead at Cohasset Town Hall.
George Ingram Park
It’s easy to miss this 27-acre property, located just west of the railroad tracks on Norman Todd Road, across from Heritage Lane. But as soon as you find the informational kiosk, you’ll be all set. Follow a series of plank boardwalks to the loop trail, which extends around a captivating cluster of glacial erratic boulders. The main trail continues beyond the loop, through the woods and around the property’s perimeter. In total, there’s about a mile of trails. Ingram Park lies within the watershed of Bound Brook, which flows into the Gulf River. Limited parking is permitted on Heritage Lane, across from the main trailhead.
This 11-acre property features a relatively flat half-mile trail. It extends along the western edge of Lily Pond, Cohasset’s drinking water reservoir, and passes by several rocky outcroppings as well as a vernal pool. Along the way, you’ll find numerous water views, plus access to the Brass Kettle Conservation Area. Brass Kettle Brook flows through the pond. Look for the trailhead along the driveway of the Cohasset Water Treatment Plant on King Street, where you’ll also find limited parking.
Hike or drive to the top of this 187-foot hill for spectacular views of the Boston skyline, the Harbor Islands, and the Hull-2 wind turbine. The 62-acre property, managed by The Trustees, features several miles of trails connecting to the Whitney Spur Rail Trail, Weir River Farm and Whitney & Thayer Woods. Most of this property is part of the Weir River watershed. The Weir River flows through Hingham, starting at Accord Pond and ending in the estuary between Hingham and Hull. Parking available off Route 3A in Cohasset near the intersection with Route 228, and in Hingham on Turkey Hill Lane.
Located side-by-side, with access from both North Main Street and Forest Avenue, these properties total 232 acres, with an extensive trail network. Within the property you’ll find a skating pond, mossy granite outcroppings, and some intriguingly-named glacial erratic boulders, including Big Tippling, Little Tippling, Split Rock, and Devil’s Chair. On-site parking on North Main Street, very close to Red Gate Lane. Additional trailhead with parking for 4 cars on Forest Ave.
Whitney & Thayer Woods
There is so much to see and explore here! This very large woodland (824 acres), managed by The Trustees, features rocky outcrops, glacial erratic boulders, 10 miles of well-marked trails, a “wild garden” featuring mature rhododendrons, and access to many of the above-mentioned properties. Brass Kettle Brook flows through the southern portion of the property. On-site parking on Route 3A in Cohasset, across from Stop & Shop.
Whitney Spur Rail Trail
This 1.5-mile rail trail connects the Cohasset MBTA station with Whitney and Thayer Woods, Turkey Hill, and Wompatuck State Park. In earlier days, it served as a railroad spur, connecting the Hingham Naval Ammunition Depot to the Old Colony Railroad. Composed of graded crushed stone, it is suitable for bicycles, wheelchairs, and strollers. The lower portion of the Whitney Spur Rail Trail extends through the Great Swamp, and lies within the watershed of Hingham Bay. The upper portion of the trail lies within the watershed of the Aaron River. Designated free parking at the Cohasset MBTA station, 110 Chief Justice Cushing Highway (Route 3A), Cohasset.
Kezia Bacon’s articles appear courtesy of the North and South Rivers Watershed Association, a local non-profit organization devoted to protecting our waters. For membership information and a copy of their latest newsletter, contact NSRWA at (781) 659-8168 or visit www.nsrwa.org. You will also find 25+ years of Kezia’s Nature columns there. Click here for more information about the 2022 Explore South Shore Challenge. This article is Powered by Planet Subaru