Colby-Phillips Trails

30 Whiting St, Hanover, MA 02339, USA

Town of Hanover: 781-826-5000

Owned By: Town of Hanover

Hanover’s Colby-Phillips Trails extend for 3 miles through a diverse and inviting 147-acre property. Features include boardwalks through woods and wetlands, a bridge over Cushing Brook, an observation deck on Cushing Brook Marsh, and the historic West Hanover Cemetery.

Extend your walk on the linked Rockland Rail Trail and Hanover Branch Rail Trail. Two trails at the southern end of the Colby-Phillips property link directly to the rail trail! Also nearby, the Melzar Hatch Preserve.


The historic West Hanover Cemetery is located within this property. It is also known as the Darling Cemetery. Gravestones date back to the early 1800s.

This land is within the region of the Massachuseuk (or Massachusett). To learn more about local 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

In total there are 3.1 miles of trails here. Many are flat and wide, some include boardwalks, and some are narrower, with steep or root-filled sections. Be careful: the bridge and boardwalks can be slippery when wet.

When you access the property from its Whiting Street entrance, you will find yourself on a boardwalk. Hanover Conservation blazes mark all of the trails. The main trail (green) extends through the woods, first west and then south, to the West Hanover Cemetery. Along the way there are several short loop trails (marked in red) that offer additional perspectives. There are also two spur trails that leads to the Rockland Rail Trail and Hanover Branch Rail Trail.

Habitats and Wildlife

In the uplands, you’ll see pine, oak, holly, hemlock, greenbrier, and a gorgeous grove of mature beech trees. In the wetlands, look for ferns, sweet pepper bush, and maples. Be sure to check out the observation deck that overlooks Cushing Brook Marsh.

A gracefully arching wooden bridge spans Cushing Brook. You can hear the brook before you see it! Beside the brook itself, there is a perfectly situated bench — a lovely spot to sit and contemplate your surroundings.

Cushing Brook is a tributary to the Drinkwater River. According to Martha Campbell’s Remembering Old Abington, the name “Drinkwater River” is said to be an Anglicized version of the original Native American name for the stream, Nannumackeuitt, “which meant that a hollow stem had to be used as a straw when sucking up water from this shallow, sluggish stream.”

French’s Stream and the Drinkwater River flow together just upstream of Forge Pond. The Drinkwater River continues to flow southeast of Forge Pond, into Factory Pond. From there, the waterway turns east and is known as the Indian Head River. It joins Herring Brook in Pembroke to form the North River, which flows 12 miles through Hanover, Pembroke, Norwell, Marshfield, and Scituate, to the Atlantic Ocean.

  • A photograph of a property sign beside a road.
  • A photograph of a property sign above a boardwalk trail.
  • A photograph of a boardwalk through a forested wetland.
  • A photograph of a trail through a forest.
  • A photograph of a forest of tall pine trees.
  • A photograph of a trail sign within a forest.
  • A photograph of a wetland and forest with colorful foliage.
  • A photograph of a boardwalk through a wetland and forest.
  • A photograph of a stream in a forest.
  • A photograph of a bench beside a trail in a sunny forest.
  • A photograph of a trail through a sunny forest.
  • A photograph of a historic cemetery with a property sign.
  • A photograph of a historic marker within a forest.
  • A photograph of a bridge over a stream in a forest.
  • A photograph of a row of cut logs on a forest trail.
  • A photograph of a property sign beside a road.
  • A photograph of a trailhead and property sign in a snowy forest.
30 Whiting St, Hanover, MA 02339, USA

Historic Site: No

Park: No

Beach: No

Boat Launch: No

Lifeguards: No

Size: 147 acres

Hours: Dawn to Dusk

Parking: Park at Hanover Middle School, and cross Whiting Street to the well-marked trailhead. Additional parking and pedestrian access at the Hanover Branch Rail Trail at 1409 Hanover Street (Route 139).

Cost: Free

Trail Difficulty: Easy, Medium


Benches and boardwalks. Observation deck on Cushing Brook Marsh. Bridge over Cushing Brook.

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

Boat Ramp: No

ADA Access: No

Scenic Views: Yes

Waterbody/Watershed: Cushing Brook (North River watershed)