Brass Kettle Conservation Area

Town of Cohasset: 781-383-4100

Owned By: Cohasset Conservation Trust

The Brass Kettle Conservation Area in Cohasset features about a mile of woodland trails with vernal pools, historic stone walls, and access to Brass Kettle Brook. A side trail provides access to the Pape Reservation and Lily Pond. Extend your walk into adjacent properties, including Whitney & Thayer Woods and Wompatuck State Park.


This land was acquired by the Town of Cohasset in 2004 and 2008 to protect its drinking water. Lily Pond, the municipal drinking water reservoir, is directly adjacent. The purchase was funded with Water Department revenues, state grants, Community Preservation Act funds and the Cohasset Conservation Trust.

While the land is forested now, in the past it was cleared of trees and used as pasture for grazing livestock. The stone walls mark old property lines. There are a number of rocky outcroppings as well as the occasional glacial erratic boulder.

Prior to European contact, a band of the Massachusett Native American tribe maintained a village in what is now Cohasset. It was known as Quonahassit — often translated as “long rocky place.”

In 1614, while exploring what was known then as the New World, Captain John Smith (1580-1631) landed in “Quonahassit Harbor” to trade for furs.

The Quonahassit village was probably in the vicinity of today’s Elm Street, a summer camp for fishing, and for growing corn, beans and squash. The village moved inland during the winter for shelter, and to hunt for deer, turkey and other wildlife. A widespread plague decimated the Quonahassit population shortly after Smith’s visit.

To learn more about local Native American tribes, we encourage you to interact with their members. The Mattakeeset band of the Massachusett and the Massachusett tribe at Ponkapoag share information on their websites. 

Trail Description

The trails within this property are well marked. Even the dead ends are posted as such! They are generally wide, but also rooty and/or rocky in certain places, and also occasionally wet.

Great Lot Lane is the main trail. If you start at the King Street trailhead, after 0.2 miles, Great Lot Lane intersects with the Lily Pond Trail, which leads almost immediately into the adjacent Pape Reservation. Continue on Great Lot Lane to reach Brass Kettle Brook, as well as Wompatuck State Park and Whitney & Thayer Woods. The distance from the parking area on King Street to the property boundary with Wompatuck at Brass Kettle Brook is 0.75 miles.

Habitats and Wildlife

The woods here are comprised of maple, hemlock, pine, oak, holly, beech, and yellow birch. It is mostly upland with occasional small ponds and vernal pools. Like many Cohasset properties, there are numerous rocky outcroppings and glacial erratic boulders.

According to the Cohasset Conservation Trust, the National Heritage and Endangered Species Program identifies the entire Brass Kettle property and much of its surroundings area as core habitat for rare species. There are more than 70 species of trees and plants inhabiting this woodland as well as a wide variety of animals and birds including grouse, partridge and deer.

Brass Kettle Brook flows through the property. It joins with the Aaron River and eventually flows into the Gulf River in North Scituate. The Gulf River flows into the ocean at Cohasset Harbor.

  • A photograph of a trailhead with a fence, a parking spot, and a sign, with forest in the background.
  • A photograph of a trail through a forest with fall foliage.
  • A photograph of a wetland or a vernal pool in a forest.
  • A photograph of two dogs on a forest trail.
  • A photograph of a pine tree with two trail signs posted on it.
  • A photograph of a trail through a forest with fall foliage.
  • A photograph of an old stone wall in a forest.
  • A photograph of an individual in a red jacket walking on a forest trail.
  • A photograph of a stream running through a forest.
  • A photograph of a bird on a tree branch in a forest.
42.230819, -70.820495

Historic Site: No

Park: No

Beach: No

Boat Launch: No

Lifeguards: No

Size: 120 acres

Hours: Dawn to Dusk.

Parking: Look for the small parking area (2-3 cars) between 265 & 279 King Street. Additional access via the Pape Reservation, as well as Whitney & Thayer Woods.

Cost: Free

Trail Difficulty: Easy, Medium

Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash.

Boat Ramp: No

ADA Access: No

Scenic Views: Yes

Waterbody/Watershed: Brass Kettle Brook (Gulf River/Cohasset Harbor watershed)

Other Things to Do at This Site