Frederick B. Knapp Town Forest

Mass Audubon's North Hill Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary, Mayflower St, Duxbury, MA 02332, USA

Town of Duxbury: 781-934-1100

Owned By: Town of Duxbury

The Frederick B. Knapp Town Forest is situated on a hillside, overlooking a large pond and wetlands. It is part of Duxbury’s 1,000-acre Eastern Greenbelt, and home to the town’s largest trail network. Knapp Town Forest is directly adjacent to North Hill Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary, Round Pond Conservation Area, Cherry Lane Bogs, Waiting Hill Preserve, Green’s Harbor Path & Kettle Hole Loop, and North Hill Country Club.


The Frederick B. Knapp Town Forest is part of Duxbury’s 1,000-acre Eastern Greenbelt. It directly abuts Mass Audubon’s North Hill Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary, as well as the Waiting Hill Preserve and the Round Pond Conservation Area. Within Knapp Forest, you’ll find the Green’s Harbor Path and Kettle Hole Loop trail network, among others. North Hill Country Club is directly adjacent as well.

This land is within the region of the Patuxet Wampanoag tribe, who for centuries have inhabited the area around the Jones River now known as Duxbury, Kingston and Plymouth. To learn more about local Native American tribes, we encourage you to interact with their members. The Mashpee Wampanoag and the Herring Pond Wampanoag share information on their websites.

The forest is named for Frederick B. Knapp (1857-1932), who served as the Headmaster for the Powder Point School for Boys, chief of the Duxbury Volunteer Fire Department, and Forest Warden.

Trail Description

Primary access to the Knapp Town Forest is at North Hill Marsh on Mayflower Street. The Knapp Trail, blazed in yellow, extends a short distance in one direction from the parking area to Mayflower Street, but much greater distance in the other direction, through the woods the O’Brien Bogs, along the Kettle Hole Loop Trail, and beyond to Harrison and Tremont Streets.

The Pond Loop, blazed in blue, extends all the way around North Hill Marsh. A secondary trail, blazed in red, extends from the northern intersection of Green’s Harbor Path and the Kettle Hole Loop, west to the North Hill Marsh trail network.

Green-blazed trails in the northwest quadrant link to the Waiting Hill Preserve. Additional unblazed trails lead to the North Hill Country Club property and Merry Ave.

Additional access to the Knapp Trail is available behind First Parish Church in Duxbury (842 Tremont Street). Follow the stairs, or the trail nearby, to head downhill. Walk past the labyrinth/meditation garden, and continue to the fence that borders Mayflower Cemetery.

Habitats and Wildlife

This property is composed of pine and oak woodlands along a sloping hillside, with some wetland areas. Birds such as hawks, osprey, herons, ducks, geese and tree swallows are commonly found here. In the spring and summer you may see butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies. For mammals, watch for white-tailed deer, mink, muskrat, opossum, raccoon, chipmunk, squirrel and coyote. Reptile residents include black snakes and a variety of turtles (box, painted, spotted, snapping). Amphibians include frogs, toads and salamanders. Some of the flowers commonly viewed include mayflowers in April, ladyslippers in May, and sheep laurel in June.

The waters on this property drain into West Brook, a major source (along with North Hill Pond) of the Duck Hill River. After flowing through the Cow Tent Hill Preserve, the Duck Hill River meanders through the Duxbury marshes for quite a distance before flowing into Duxbury Bay.

  • A photograph of a forested parking area.
  • A photograph of an observation platform overlooking a pond, in a forest.
  • A photograph of an individual walking on a forest trail.
  • A photograph of a structure made of fallen branches, beside a pond.
  • A photograph ofa forest trail with a blue blaze on one tree.
  • A photograph of a pond with a forest in the background.
  • A photograph of a sunny forest beside a pond.
  • A photograph of a wide trail through a forest.
  • A photograph of a pond in a forest with some fall foliage.
  • A photograph of a wooden walkway through a pine forest.
  • A close-up photograph of an observation deck on a pond with fall foliage.
  • A photograph of two individuals walking on a forest trail.
  • A photograph of a forest trail intersection with two blue blazes on a rock, overlooking a cranberry bog.
  • A photograph of a forest trailhead with a large metal gate.
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Mass Audubon's North Hill Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary, Mayflower St, Duxbury, MA 02332, USA

Historic Site: No

Park: No

Beach: No

Boat Launch: No

Lifeguards: No

Size: 823 acres

Hours: Dawn to Dusk

Parking: Limited on-site parking at North Hill Marsh. Additional access from Mayflower Street and behind the Duxbury Town Offices.

Cost: Free

Trail Difficulty: Easy, Medium


Kiosk, benches, observation platform, boardwalks. Observation platform off the Pond Loop trail. Geocache location.

Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash or under control. Scoop the poop!

Boat Ramp: No

ADA Access: No

Scenic Views: Yes

Waterbody/Watershed: West Brook (Duck Hill River watershed)

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