Great Brewster Trail, Cohasset, MA 02025, USA
Owned By: Cohasset Conservation Trust
A varied woodland with a well-marked 1-mile trail. Moderate elevation, plus numerous rocky outcroppings. Enjoy views of the salt marsh as well as Little Harbor.
The 18.16 acres that make up Great Brewster Woods were given to the Cohasset Conservation Trust in 1985 by the Great Brewster Corporation. Its owners, Edgar Hill, Walter Railsback, Raymond Remick, and George McLaughlin, were all Cohasset residents. The company was named for one of the Boston Harbor Islands, where Edgar Hill mined gravel. The 7 acres that comprise Dean’s Meadow were donated to the Cohasset Conservation trust in 1992 by Helen Dean. Source: Cohasset Conservation Trust
Prior to European contact, a band of the Massachusett Native American tribe maintained a village in what is now Cohasset. It was known as Quonahassit — often translated as “long rocky place.” In 1614, while exploring what was known then as the New World, Captain John Smith (1580-1631) landed in “Quonahassit Harbor” to trade for furs. The Quonahassit village was probably in the vicinity of today’s Elm Street, a summer camp for fishing, and for growing corn, beans and squash. The village moved inland during the winter for shelter, and to hunt for deer, turkey and other wildlife. A widespread plague decimated the Quonahassit population shortly after Smith’s visit.
The trails here are rocky at times and occasionally steep. Look for the trailhead at the end of Great Brewster Trail, located off Highland Avenue in Cohasset Village. A large sign/informational kiosk marks the entrance. The trails within this property are very well marked, with bright yellow tags. Numerous points of interest are identified as well.
The trail begins by skirting behind some residential properties. There is a moderate hill to climb, and then the route descends into a pleasant valley. Along the way, you’ll see moss- and lichen-covered rocky outcroppings and old stone walls. When you arrive at the junction between Markers #4 and 5, turn right. This is the beginning of the loop trail. To the left at Marker #7, you can follow a short spur trail for a view of the Mohawk salt marsh.
Then continue on the main trail. When you turn right at the next junction, through a gap in a stone wall, you will cross into Dean’s Meadow. Take a sharp left at Marker #9. You’ll pass through a grove of beech trees, and eventually through another gap in a stone wall. At Marker #11 the short spur trail to the right leads to a small stream and some fascinating rocky outcroppings.
Now it’s time to head back. Continue along the loop, with the salt marsh to your right. Eventually you’ll be headed uphill. At Marker #14 check out the pudding stone, a naturally occurring rock conglomeration. Not long after #14, you will return to the main trail, which leads back to the entrance. Altogether this route is about a 1 mile.
There is an additional trailhead behind the Cohasset Town Hall. It leads uphill to a second “Welcome” sign.
Habitats and Wildlife
There are a variety of trees on the property, including white and red oaks, black tupelos, witch hazel, American beech, junipers, mockernut hickory, holly, white birch and hophornbeam, as well as club mosses, blueberry, wintergreen, lichen (rock tripe), sweet pepperbush, and sassafras. The northern portion of the property drains to Cohasset’s Little Harbor. The southern portion drains to the Gulf River.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Size: 26 acres
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Parking for 2-3 vehicles at the end of Great Brewster Trail, off Highland Avenue. Additional parking with separate trailhead at Cohasset Town Hall.
Trail Difficulty: Medium
Informational kiosks, online trail guide, benches, possible geocache location.
Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash. Scoop the poop!
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Gulf River and Little Harbor watersheds