5Bower Rd Ext, Quincy, MA, USA
Owned By: Town of Braintree
This 100-acre property features 2 miles of woodland trails around a pond and through a former granite quarry, with views of Hayward Creek and its surrounding wetlands.
Note: This property directly abuts active train tracks, on the Braintree-Quincy line.
This land is within the region of the Massachuseuk (or Massachusett) Native American tribe.
According to the Braintree Trail Guide, this section of town “was originally set aside as the South Commons, of old Braintree. … Granite for King’s Chapel was quarried here in 1749. It continued as common land until a 26-year-old John Adams, four years before he became a Braintree selectman, was ‘appointed and inpowered by the town to draw conveyances and securities respecting said South Commons.’ After this sale to private interests, it continued to be used for quarrying, grazing and as a source for ice houses in to the 20th Century. The foundations of ice houses, old storage areas for this once all-important source of refrigeration, dot the landscape.” The dam on the property was built in the 1970s as part of an Army Corps of Engineers flood control project.
Follow Skyline Drive to the Bower Road extension, and look for the Eaton’s Pond Area property sign on the northwest side of the pond. Some trails are better marked than others. This property would benefit from some additional signage and trail markers.
• The blue trail leads from the trailhead, along the edge of the pond, and offers a short loop with scenic water views. It continues to a dam before coming to a stop at the property boundary. According to the Braintree Trail Guide, the dam is a prime spot for birding.
• The Y-shaped red trail connects to the blue trail in 2 places. It passes by wetlands and granite ridges as it proceeds through the woods, up and down moderately hilly terrain.
• The yellow trail is a short loop off the red trail, featuring aspens and old apple trees in what was once an orchard. Also on this trail, views of an abandoned granite quarry.
• The orange trail, which is a loop, features a footbridge and the foundation of an old ice house, with additional quarry views.
Habitats and Wildlife
The trees on this property are mostly oak and pine, with some pitch pine on the orange trail. Aspens and apple trees can be found on the yellow trail.
Some of the wildlife commonly spotted here include: deer, wild turkeys, downy woodpeckers, hawks, great blue herons, snowy egrets, foxes, owls, coyotes, and bald eagles.
Eaton’s Pond is shallow — only about 6 feet at its deepest. Because it contains excessively high levels of nutrients, aquatic invasive species often flourish here, especially in the summer.
Hayward Creek flows through from Eaton’s Pond, heading north. It is part of the Fore River watershed. The Fore River serves as the boundary line between the towns of Weymouth and Braintree. It flows for about 3 miles, into Quincy, where it meets Town River, and then flows for another 2 miles into Hingham Bay. In its final few miles, the Fore River is nearly a mile wide in some places.
Follow the Fore River Watershed Association more information about the Monatiquot and Fore Rivers.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Size: 100 acres
Hours: Dawn to Disk
Parking: Park on Bower Road extension, near the Eaton's Pond Area property sign.
Trail Difficulty: Easy, Medium
Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash. Scoop the poop!
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Hayward Creek (Fore River)