Bare Cove Park, Fort Hill Street, Hingham, MA, USA
Owned By: Town of Hingham
A 484-acre park on the banks of the Weymouth Back River with 5 miles of paved and woodland trails. Wetlands, woodlands, open fields, marshes, and gorgeous views. Stroller-friendly. Directly adjacent to Carlson Memorial Athletic Fields / Hingham Skate Park on one side, and Lynch Athletic Fields on the other. Across the river from Weymouth’s Great Esker Park and Osprey Overlook Park.
Europeans from Hingham, England arrived at the Bare Cove area in 1633. They named their settlement “Barecove,” but changed the name to Hingham in 1635. The land where the park now stands was privately owned until the early 1900s. Then the Navy established the Hingham Naval Ammunition Depot, also known as Hockley Hollow, on site. In 1917, Camp Hingham Naval Station, a training camp, was established nearby as well, and in 1925, it became part of the depot.
At its peak, the Hingham Naval Ammunition Depot employed over 2,400 people, both civilians and military personnel. There were 90 buildings at that time and 15 cranes. Acclaimed saxophonist John Coltrane was stationed there, and played in the depot’s jazz band. Nearby, the Hingham Naval Ammunition Depot Annex (now Wompatuck State Park) provided storage for the depot.
The base at Bare Cove was decommissioned in 1961, and turned over to the Town of Hingham in 1971. Many of the military buildings have been removed, but some still remain. The property is now known as Bare Cove Park, which opened in 1974. Remains of old wharves are plainly visible from some of the trails that extend along the edge of the marsh and river.
This land is within the region of the Massachuseuk (or Massachusett) Native American tribe.
Bare Cove Park’s 5+ miles of paved roadways and woodland trails are ideal for walking, jogging, and bicycling. This is a great place to ride bikes with young children. Motorized vehicles, open fires, and camping are prohibited.
Habitats and Wildlife
This property was a military base for much of the 20th century. With the exception of the marsh and river, vegetation here is relatively young — some pine, oak, beech, birch, maple, cherry, sumac and cedar are present along the edges of the roadways and paths. There is also a vernal pool, and such geologic features as glacial eskers, kettle holes, and drumlin hills.
Some of the mammals commonly found at Bare Cove include long-tailed weasel, mink, striped skunk, red and gray fox, white tailed deer, eastern cottontail rabbit, meadow vole, coyote, opossum, raccoon and field mouse. Birds include American kestrel, double-crested cormorant, killdeer, snowy egret, ruby throated hummingbird, wood duck, red shouldered hawk, great horned owl, screech owl, barred owl, osprey, great blue heron, and mallard. Fish include smelt, blueback herring and striped bass.
Directly across the river is Great Esker Park in Weymouth, another excellent place to explore.
The Weymouth Back River rises from several ponds and swamps, including Whitman’s Pond in Weymouth. It flows for about 10 miles, and empties into the Atlantic Ocean at Hingham Bay, just south of Grape Island and Slate Island. For more information about the Weymouth Back River, follow the Back River Watershed Association.
Historic Site: Yes
Boat Launch: No
Size: 484 acres
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Large on-site parking lots on Bare Cove Drive and Beal Street.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Benches, trash receptacles, informational kiosks. Geocache location.
Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash (15' maximum) at all times, unless you have a town-issued Off Leash Permit. Please remove all dog waste.
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: Yes
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Weymouth Back River