Scenic Nature Trails to discover in and around Gloucester

March 27, 2020 / Good to Know, Outdoor Adventures, Things to Do & See

Gloucester’s landscape is rich and varied from its rugged rocky coastline and pristine sandy beaches to its hilly forests filled with abundant wildlife. Gloucester is home to some of the most beautiful and scenic walking trails and nature hikes on the North Shore. Nature lovers will enjoy discovering all of the natural beauty and splendors by walking, hiking, or biking in several of the area’s conservation lands and parks.

Plan a great outdoor adventure and take advantage of nature’s many benefits! Here are a few places to visit to soak an abundance of Cape Ann’s natural surroundings, admire the scenic landscapes, and make new memories.

Ravenswood Park

Surround yourself with serenity and nature. Located in West Gloucester, Ravenswood is a favorite place for hikers and nature lovers to explore the walking and hiking trails throughout its 600 acres. The wide “carriage paths” offer an easy route for light or moderate walks, or hike the off-beaten paths which offer a more challenging terrain. Reach the summit of the Ledge Hill Trail for views of Gloucester Harbor. Click here to download the trail map.
Learn more about visiting Ravenswood Park.

Activities: Walking, hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing. Dogs are welcomed with a reminder to please pick up after your pooch.

Travel tips: Free admission and open year round.

Dogtown Commons and Babson Boulders

Recently featured in The Boston Globe article “Wild and Wonderful in Massachusetts – Where to Find It”, Dogtown Common is a 3,600-acre stretch of forested land in the heart of Cape Ann and one of Essex County’s hidden gems. Steeped in history and known as the oldest abandoned settlement, its charming woods are filled with natural beauty, glacier-formed rock formations from the last glacier ice melt, and two reservoirs. The Babson Boulders Trail will encourage you to pause and reflect on the inspirational sayings carved into three dozen boulders that dot the path. Local quarry workers carved these boulders during the Great Depression. Download the trail map. Learn more about visiting Dogtown Common.

Activities: Visitors are welcome to hike, walk, bike, and cross-country ski. Pet friendly.

Travel tips: Open year round and free to the public. Maps can also be purchased at The Bookstore of Gloucester.

Tompson Street Reservation

Explore some higher elevations in one of the Essex Greenbelt’s largest reservations. Hike up Sunset Mountain and Eagle Rock at Tompson Street Reservation to find stunning views of Gloucester Harbor and Ipswich Bay, taking your pick of several miles of hiking trails. Discover the vernal ponds and a red maple swamp where diverse natural groups thrive. Learn more about visiting Tompson Street Reservation.

Activities: Walking, dog walking, hiking, trail running, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing.

Halibut Point State Park – Rockport

Located at the very tip of Cape Ann, Halibut Point State Park is the site of the old Rockport Granite Company’s Babson Farm Quarry. With the ocean setting as your natural backdrop, explore the walking trails that circle the quarry and leads down to the rocky shore below. Birdwatchers and photographers will get an eyeful from the low rocky coastal shelf and the rugged and surf. Family fun includes walking the trails and exploring the tidal pools and finding sea creatures such as harbor snails, hermit crabs, and sea stars. Learn more about visiting Halibut Point.

Activities: Walking, dog walking, hiking, bird watching, fishing, and picnicking.

Travel tips: Open year round.

Additional Locations and Resources

Here are some other parks and conservation lands and resources to discover on Cape Ann during your visit to Gloucester.

Coolidge Reservation – Manchester-by-the-Sea

Allyn Cox Reservation – Essex

Trustees of the Reservation

Essex National Heritage Area