by Kezia Bacon, Correspondent

One of our objectives here at NSRWA is to encourage individuals of all ages and abilities to experience the outdoors, and hopefully make meaningful connections along the way. I’m frequently asked for tips about short-distance walks. Sometimes these requests come from those whose stamina is better suited for a slow, quarter-mile stroll. Sometimes it’s a person with limited time, or limited mobility.

While long walks in the woods aren’t likely to be at the top of anyone’s list on these hot, sticky summer days, it can still feel good to move your body, especially early in the morning while the air is relatively cool. Below you’ll find a list of short walks in pretty places. Some involve woodland trails and moderate hills. Others are flat, paved, or otherwise graded for wheelchair and stroller access. All offer opportunities to enjoy nature in fewer than 1,000 steps!

Also, don’t miss our 2023 Explore South Shore Challenge, Know Your Local Waters. Each week we feature a river, stream, pond or other waterway, and highlight public places you can visit to experience it first-hand. Watch for daily posts on Facebook and Instagram. The program also includes a weekly trivia question, with a chance to win a custom NSRWA prize package.

Mattakeeset Trail, Hanover Public Launch, Indian Head River

Mattakeeset Trail at Hanover Public Launch

We were very excited when this new 0.26-mile woodland trail opened this past spring! Check it out, and enjoy captivating views of the Indian Head River. Trailhead and parking at the end of Indian Head Drive in Hanover.

Mabbett Park

This 0.75-acre town park on Plymouth Harbor offers a 0.1-mile wheelchair-friendly concrete walkway, with spectacular water views. Continue your exploration at Pilgrim Memorial State Park, next door, where you’ll find additional accessible trails. On-site parking and wheelchair access at 108 Water Street, Plymouth.

Cow Tent Hill Preserve

Seeking a quick but invigorating walk? Check out this diminutive Wildlands Trust property! It features a 1/3-mile loop trail with a moderate hill, plus views of the Duck Hill River. Located at 1280 Tremont Street (Route 3A), Duxbury.

Herring River Trail

Follow a former railroad bed through light woods and across the salt marsh! This 0.4-mile crushed stone trail in Scituate is suitable for most wheelchairs and strollers, and the views of the Herring River are glorious! Trail access and limited parking at 32 New Driftway in Scituate.

Crooked Meadow River Area, Serenity Trail, Second Parish Church, Hingham

Crooked Meadow River Area

This 0.6-acre conservation parcel is small but mighty. The very well-maintained Serenity Path (0.14 mile) leads to distant views of the Crooked Meadow River, as well as some rocky outcroppings and large glacial erratic boulders. Located at 685 Main Street, behind Second Parish Church in Hingham.

King Oak Hill Park in Weymouth

King Oak Hill Park

This grassy 24-acre town park sits atop a drumlin hill, formed by retreating glaciers. With a shade pavilion and a 0.25-mile paved walking loop, it’s a wonderful spot to enjoy views of the Boston Skyline. Full accessible, with ample on-site parking at the end of Emery Lane in Weymouth.

Pratt Farm

Birders will especially enjoy this 34-acre conservation property in Marshfield, which tends to attract a number of different species. Follow the 0.35-mile trail through the woods and along Zenas Brook, a tributary to the South River. Wooden bridges and boardwalks offer ideal spots to pause and enjoy the natural world. On-site parking on Willow Street in Marshfield.

Patty Whitehouse Scenic Overview Trail

This 0.13-mile gravel trail, located next to the Braintree Electric Light Department, features an overlook with interpretive signage and a gorgeous view of the Fore River! The path leads down a moderately sloping hill, with occasional railings. Suitable for strollers and some wheelchair users, with very limited roadside parking at 170 Glenrose Ave. in Braintree.

Masthead Drive Trail

This 11-acre sliver of town-owned land features a 0.4-mile trail that extends through the woods, up and down a couple of small drumlin hills and across a small stream (there is a bridge). At the end, there’s an extraordinary view of the North River. Park in the cul-de-sac at the end of Masthead Drive in Norwell, and look for the trailhead, just behind the storm drain grate. While beautiful, this spot is also noisy, as it’s located just upstream of Route 3!

Rockland Rail Trail

Rockland recently created a new access point for its excellent Rail Trail. Look for the small parking lot at 638 Market Street, not far from the Hanover town line. The paved, fully-accessible trail extends for 3 miles westward, through Rockland and into Abington. It also extends eastward to Hanover, where the town is currently adding to its own Rail Trail. Suitable for wheelchairs and strollers.

David E. Alper Nature Preserve

This 43-acre town-owned property features a 0.75-mile cart path along a ridge between two ponds. The first half features plant identification tags, courtesy of the Herring Ponds Watershed Association. There’s also a short loop in the other direction with an up-close view of Carter’s Brook, a great spot to watch the annual herring migration. Access and roadside parking at the end of Little Herring Pond Road in Plymouth.

Hull Art Walk

Hull Art Walk

Very short, but very cool! This paved 0.05-mile walkway behind Dalat restaurant in Hull features large scale murals and sculptures, along with interpretive signage. It provides a pleasant, wheelchair-accessible short cut between George Washington Blvd. and Nantasket Ave. Ample parking nearby, within the Nantasket Beach historical district.

Kezia Bacon’s articles appear courtesy of the North and South Rivers Watershed Association, a local non-profit organization devoted to protecting our waters. For membership information and a copy of their latest newsletter, contact NSRWA at (781) 659-8168 or visit You will also find 26+ years of Kezia’s Nature columns there. For more information about the Explore South Shore 2023 Challenge, visit