The Center, at Center Hill Preserve, 158 Center Hill Rd, Plymouth, MA 02360, USA
Owned By: Town of Plymouth
This large, diverse property offers a 2.4-mile trail network that traverses woods, wetlands, ocean shoreline, and a former cranberry bog. Located on Cape Cod Bay. Rocky, but otherwise suitable for swimming in the summer.
This property was preserved with Community Preservation funds in 2015, as well as with grants from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The Wildlands Trust helped to facilitate the acquisition process.
The easternmost point in Plymouth is located here. Henry David Thoreau walked through this property during the trek he chronicled in his book Cape Cod.
There are two sides to the preserve, with a total of 2.4 miles of trails.
The 28-acre east side provides a short, winding trail through an open woodland, along the edge of a marsh and Center Hill Pond, and then along a boardwalk to sand dunes and a rocky beach on Cape Cod Bay. The beach itself, with 1/2 mile of accessible coastline, is open to the public, but please be mindful of private property.
The 70-acre west side provides a network of tails through the woods and around an old cranberry bog. The trails are blazed in white. The terrain is a series of rolling hills, with some moderate elevations. There is a wind turbine immediately adjacent.
Habitats and Wildlife
On the east/ocean side of the property, watch for harbor seals and gray seals swimming in the water or lounging on the rocks. (Per the Marine Mammal Protection Act, remain at least 150 feet away at all times.) It’s important to know that seals and sharks tend to enjoy the same water areas. At low tide, hunt for crabs, periwinkles and seaweed in the tide pools along the shore. The sand dunes are prime habitat for shorebirds such as piping plover. There is also an osprey nest platform. On a clear day, you may be able to see across the water to Race Point in Provincetown.
Some of the west side of the property is a pine barrens. The Southeastern Massachusetts Pine Barrens Alliance (SEMPBA) Discovery Center is on site. Some of the trees here include pitch pine, sassafras, oak, birch, white pine and cedar. Look for white-tailed deer in the woods and all sorts of waterfowl around the old bog.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Size: 98 acres
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Limited on-site parking on Center Hill Road (2 small parking lots)
Trail Difficulty: Easy, Medium
Informational kiosk, interpretive signs, bench, pet waste bag receptacle, picnic table, sandy beach.
Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash. Scoop the poop!
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Cape Cod Bay/Atlantic Ocean