470 Liberty Street, Braintree, MA, USA
Owned By: Town of Braintree, Town of Weymouth
Two miles of paved trails around a pond plus additional woodland paths. 320 acres altogether. A popular spot for jogging, bike riding, cross country skiing, fishing, camping and non-motorized boating. Look for the boat launch beyond the picnic area. Stroller-friendly. Entrances in Weymouth and Braintree.
Pond Meadow Park was created in the early 1970s as part of a flood control system for the Towns of Braintree and Weymouth. The Army Corp of Engineers built the flood control system in 1976 to prevent Smelt Brook from flooding Weymouth Landing. The system includes a dam, a 20 acre pond, and a series of culverts. By the late 2010s, efforts were underway to make some of the over-engineered aspects of the system more friendly to fish and other wildlife. This very promising project is ongoing.
This land is within the region of the Massachuseuk (or Massachusett) Native American tribe.
A 2-mile wide, paved loop trail surrounds a 20-acre pond. It is mostly wide and flat, but some sections are steep and winding. Granite posts mark every half mile. Climb the stairs near the dam for far-reaching views of the pond. The park offers several additional color-coded trails through woods, meadows and wetlands. Motorized vehicles are prohibited.
Habitats and Wildlife
The forests at Pond Meadow Park are composed of maple, pine, beech, cedar, sumac, sassafras, birch, plus fern, greenbrier, and bittersweet. Look for old stone walls in the woods. This diverse habitat is a haven for migrating birds. You might see turtles in the pond and glacial erratic boulders along the trails. Fish commonly found here include sunfish, bass, bluegill, pickerel, eel and bullhead.
Smelt Brook runs through the park. It is part of the Fore River watershed. In 2019, a portion of the brook in Weymouth Landing was restored, to encourage smelt and other migratory fish to swim farther upstream. That same year, an eel ladder was installed on the dam at Pond Meadow Pond, to facilitate upstream passage.
Smelt Brook and the Monatiquot River flow together to form the Fore River. 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: Yes
Size: 320 acres
Hours: Dawn to Dusk.
Parking: Limited on-site parking lot via Liberty Street in Braintree. Additional entrance, with parking, on Summer Street in Weymouth.
Trail Difficulty: Easy, Medium
Two full-time park rangers. Benches, two shaded picnic areas, trash and dog waste receptacles, fishing piers and platforms. Kayak/canoe launch. Geocache location.
Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash Scoop the poop!
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: Yes
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Smelt Brook (Fore River watershed)