Forest Trails

Masthead Drive Trail

88 Masthead Dr, Norwell, MA 02061, USA

(781) 659-8022

Owned By: Town of Norwell

This 11-acre property features a 0.4-mile trail that extends through the woods to the North River, just west of the Route 3 Bridge. Don’t miss the view of river and marshes at the end of the trail! Just downstream where the Route 3 Bridge now stands is a historic site known as Bald Hills/Stetson Shipyard.


The trail is maintained by Norwell Conservation. It runs directly behind the rest area on Route 3 southbound. The highway is visible at times through the trees, and also quite audible! At the end of the trail there are three separate overlooks on the North River. All three might be suitable for swimmers. Rope swings are known to be present at this spot but their presence (and safety) is unreliable.

An archaeological excavation conducted from 1962-1965 on or close to this property at “The Oak Island Site” revealed numerous artifacts from the early Archaic period through the 17th century.

This land is within the region of the Massachusett (or Massachuseuk) Native American tribe. For thousands of years, the land that today is known as Norwell was inhabited by indigenous people who grew crops, foraged, hunted, and fished in the Assinippi and North River areas. Circa 1617, a major outbreak of disease decimated an estimated 90% of the native population in New England, including the Massachusett and Wampanoag tribes that inhabited the South Shore. There are still descendants of these original inhabitants living here today. They are known as the Mattakeesett Tribe of the Massachusett Indian Nation , the Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag, and the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe.

Trail Description

Park in the cul de sac at the end of Masthead Drive. Look for the trailhead, just behind the storm drain grate. The trail is marked with a single white Norwell Conservation blaze. Follow the trail up and down a couple of small drumlin hills and across a small stream (there is a bridge). At the fork, you can go right to access the first North River overlook, where there is a bit of a drop to the water’s edge. Or go left to access two additional overlooks, closer to water level. Total trail distance is about 0.4 miles.

Habitats and Wildlife

The forest here is primarily pine, with some beech, maple, oak, hemlock, plus ferns and sweet pepper bush. The end of the trail directly abuts the North River.

The North River rises from marshes and springs in Weymouth, Rockland and Hanson. It is approximately 10 miles in length, with its source at the confluence of the Indian Head River (Hanover) and Herring Brook (Pembroke). From there it flows through the towns of Hanover, Pembroke, Marshfield, Norwell, and Scituate to the Atlantic Ocean between Third and Fourth Cliffs, draining approximately 59,000 acres along the way.

88 Masthead Dr, Norwell, MA 02061, USA

Historic Site: No

Park: No

Beach: No

Boat Launch: No

Lifeguards: No

Size: 11 acres

Hours: Dawn to Dusk

Parking: Limited parking in the cul de sac at the end of Masthead Drive.

Cost: Free

Trail Difficulty: Easy


Picnic table.

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

Boat Ramp: No

ADA Access: No

Scenic Views: Yes

Waterbody/Watershed: North River watershed