Herring Runs

Carter Beal Conservation Area

20 Bournedale Road, Buzzards Bay, MA, USA

(508) 759-0600 x1344

Owned By: Town of Bourne

The 29.7-acre Carter Beal Conservation Area in Bourne offers more than a mile of hilly woodland trails, plus footbridges and walkways that offer close-up views of a fishway. Launch your canoe or kayak here to explore a pond-like section of the Herring River.


A grist mill once operated here, established in 1695. There are remnants of its dam — the first dam on the Herring River — in the fishway near the park entrance.

This land is within the region of the Herring Pond Wampanoag tribe. To learn more about local tribes, we encourage you to interact with their members. The Herring Pond Wampanoag share information on their website.

Trail Description

A trail extends from the parking area, along the edge of the river and pond, and into the woods. Look for white and purple blazes.

The purple trail forms a short loop of about 0.34 miles. Bear in mind that involves a steep hill!

The white trail extends for more than a mile into the woods, climbing and descending the moderate to difficult hills of a terminal moraine. On our initial site visit, we ran out of daylight before we could find the end of this trail!

Habitats and Wildlife

Stop here in the springtime to look for river herring making their way upstream from the Herring Run Recreation Area on the Cape Cod Canal to their spawning grounds in Great Herring Pond in Plymouth.

Especially when the herring are running, look for their predators — birds such as osprey and heron, as well as mammals such as otter and mink.

Maple, birch, oak, pitch pine, and eastern white pine trees dominate the woodland, along with some cherry trees. Along the trails, you’ll find viburnum, plus numerous large glacial erratic boulders, some covered with lichen.

  • A photograph of a property sign in a grassy area with trees in the background.
  • A photograph of a grassy area with an informational kiosk to one side and trees in the background.
  • A photograph of a dam and spillway with mill equipment and fall foliage.
  • A photograph of a tranquil pond reflecting a cloudy sky.
  • A photograph of a wooden bridge beside a pond and fishways with fall foliage.
  • A photograph of a fishway with benches and fall foliage.
  • A photograph of an old stone foundation in a woodland with a bench.
  • A photograph of a woodland trail with a white blaze on one tree.
  • A photograph of a woodland trail climbing a hill with rocks and trees.
  • A photograph of a glacial erratic boulder on a hill in the forest.
  • A photograph of a trail through a bare winter woodland.
20 Bournedale Road, Buzzards Bay, MA, USA

Historic Site: No

Park: No

Beach: No

Boat Launch: No

Lifeguards: No

Size: 29.7 acres

Hours: 5am to 10pm

Parking: Medium-sized parking area at 20 Bournedale Road.

Cost: Free

Trail Difficulty: Easy, Medium, Hard


Informational kiosk, benches, footbridges, trash receptacle. Geocache location.

Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash. Scoop the poop!

Boat Ramp: No

ADA Access: No

Scenic Views: Yes

Waterbody/Watershed: Herring River (Bourne)