Archive for the ‘ ~DARTMOUTH MA~ ’ Category

Howland Reserve – Dartmouth

 

The hardest part of Howland Reserve is finding it. The trail starts slightly set back on the east side of North Hixville Road at the clearing for a gas pipeline easement. But once you find it, you are in for a treat. This property has a small network of trails blazed red, orange, and yellow. For this hike I made a loop using a little of each trail. The trails wind through a canopy of towering pines and there is a spot to take a quick peek at the Copicut River. It is suggested to wear orange at this property as it is close to a rod and gun club. In fact the sound of gunfire is common. I came across several birds and a few ducks on this property.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Howland Reserve

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Tall Pines Along The Trail

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Knowles-Padanaram – Dartmouth

  • Knowles-Padanaram Reserve
  • Smith Neck Road, Dartmouth, MA
  • Trailhead: 41°35’3.48″N, 70°57’5.26″W
  • Last Time Hiked: March 20, 2017
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.0 miles
  • Easy.

 

Knowles-Padanaram is a small property that extends on each side of West Smith Neck Road. The nearly 1 mile of trails weaves through a mix of trees and shrubs and skirts a salt marsh. The property also has a trail that leads to Dike Meadow Creek and a small pond. There was an abundance of several small birds here as well as seagulls. The main entrance is closed due to bridge and causeway construction along Smith Neck Road and Gulf Road. The reserve can be accessed via West Smith Neck Road.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Knowles-Padanaram

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Salt Marsh at Knowles-Padanaram

Smith Farm – Dartmouth

 

What a pleasant surprise of a property. One must say that the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust has some beautiful properties. Just down the road from Cornell Farm is Smith Farm. In comparison the trail system at Smith Farm is much shorter than Cornell but it is well worth the visit. The front end of the property offers a series of stone walls and what appears to be foundations. Starting by following the red blazed trail, you soon enter the woods. Among the deciduous trees are several holly trees and shrubs. The red trail soon comes to a large open field with one prominent pine tree. Follow the path across the field to continue following the red blazed trail. The next section of woods offer some swamps, wetlands, and stone walls. Next follow the blue blazed trail around Horseshoe Pond. It crosses several trickling streams as it follows the ponds edge. At the time of this hike I had come across an owl and several ducks. After following the blue blazed trail around the perimeter of the pond turn left at the red blazed trail and follow it to its end. Turn left and follow the orange blazed trail to its end. There you will find an observation platform that overlooks Nonquitt Marsh. From here follow the orange blazed trail back, staying on it to the parking area. It follows an old cart path road passing several stone walls and a vernal pool.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Smith Farm

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Field at Smith Farm

McBratney – Dartmouth

 

This short out and back orange blazed trail starting near utility pole number 394-71 along Smith Neck Road offers peeks at small ponds, streams, and wetlands. The narrow trail follows a small ridge before crossing a stream. The trail ends in a blueberry patch that would be in bloom in the summer months. At the time of this hike, being early morning, I came across several white tail deer and there was an abundance of birds chirping.

 

Trail maps can be found at: McBratney

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Stream Crossing at McBratney

Star Of The Sea – Dartmouth

 

Star Of The Sea is a well hidden property along the west side of the same named road. There are two trail heads along the road. Only the northern trail head is marked with a small sign on a fence post. There is a larger kiosk just a few feet into the woods with more information. This hike consists of doing both the red blazed and blue blazed loops as well as the red blazed connector trail and a visit out to the old causeway. The tree and grass covered causeway offers views of a marsh and the upper reaches of the Apponagansett River. The loop trails meander around the wooded areas of the property occasionally crossing seasonal streams. Hunting is allowed on portions of this hike.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Star Of The Sea

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View From The Causeway

Paskamansett Woods – Dartmouth

  • Paskamansett Woods – Gidley Woods
  • Chase Road, Dartmouth, MA
  • Trailhead: 41°37’54.64″N, 70°59’29.07″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 20, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.8 miles
  • Fairly easy.

 

This hike crosses over two properties that abut each other. This first and smaller property is owned by the Dartmouth Natural Resource Trust and the second is private property with “respectful public access”. With that being said, it is imperative that you must remain on the blazed trails only that are open to the public and respect the areas that are off limits. The owners of the private property can revoke the public’s right to access this property at anytime. Starting from a small parking area on Chase Road, I followed the red blazed trail pass a small pond, through a fern covered forest of pines, to a historic stone bridge. It crosses the Paskamansett River where the once heavily traveled Old Kings Road crossed. The colonial era road was once the main route between Newport and Plymouth. Just after the bridge the red blazed trail veers off to the right and leads to a pond. At the pond I found an egret feeding as well as several species of wildflowers. Just before the pond the red blazed trail turned left. Retrace your steps briefly and then follow the red blazes (now on your right) to the second green blazed intersection. Here turn left and follow the green blazed trail back to the bridge and retrace your steps back to the parking area.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Paskamansett Woods

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Kings Road Bridge

Cornell Farm/Frank Knowles-Little River Reserve – Dartmouth

  • Cornell Farm/Frank Knowles-Little River Reserve
  • Smith Neck Road, Dartmouth, MA
  • Trailhead: 41°33’25.50″N, 70°57’18.82″W
  • Last Time Hiked: July 12, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5.2 miles
  • Fairly easy, some hills, unsteady bridge crossing.

 

These two properties owned by the Trustees Of Reservations and the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust (DNRT) together make for a spectacular hike through various landscapes. The properties with town owned property abut each other and are connected by a series of trails. Starting from a parking area along Smith Neck Road you first followed the path that leads through an open field. Be sure to stay on the designated trails particularly in the Cornell Farm area as the farm is actively used. Through the first stretch of the hike you are likely to see farm animals. You will also pass a barn, a greenhouse, and wildflower gardens. The trail turns to the west away from the farm first flanked by stone walls then turns left before turning to the right and entering the woods. The trail, sporadically blazed red, then crosses over a small stream as it traverses through the woods. Soon you will come to a trail intersection in an open field. There is an old wood post here. Stay to the left and follow the trail to a peninsula that offers a nice scenic view of a marsh. After viewing the marsh retrace your steps briefly and look for a narrow path to your left that leads through a pine grove. This path meets with the main red blazed trail once again. Stay to the left here and you soon come to the first boardwalk that crosses the upper reaches of the Little River. The views here are stunning in the summer with the lush green grass of the marsh. After the first boardwalk you enter the DNRT property, pass through another short section of woods, and come to the second boardwalk that has views just as stunning. From this point forward the trails are blazed very well. Continuing along the red blazed trail you will cross another section of boardwalks, this one in the woods, before coming to another of this hikes highlights. The suspended bridge, supported by cables crosses over and through a red maple swamp. There is a platform to sit and rest along the bridge. The bridge itself is rather bouncy and is a little hard to negotiate. Take your time crossing it and follow the posted rules. The red trail, root bound in areas, then continues through the woods before coming to the green trail. Turn left and follow the red trail. It will soon come to the blue trail and then the white trail. Be sure to follow the blazes for the red trail through all of those intersections. Along this stretch, at the time of this hike, there was an abundance of wild roses in bloom. Continuing along the red blazed trail you will pass by and over several stone walls before coming to a clearing with a large cellar hole. This area was once part of a farmstead. There were wildflowers growing in this area as well with a pair of monarch butterflies circling the milkweed. From here the red trail continues west. You will want to follow the blue blazed trail to the east. The trail winds through some of the most portions of the property and is very narrow at points. The blue trail then joins the white trail briefly. Make note where the blue trail turns away from the white trail on the left. You will want to turn there to continue following the blue blazed trail. But first follow the white trail to its end. You will first pass an old red shed before coming to another scenic view of the marsh along Little River. From here retrace your steps back to the blue trail (now on your right). You will follow the blue trail back to the red trail passing more stone walls and a fern covered forest. There were plenty of birds in the area including a woodpecker. Near the end of the trail is an old barn foundation now filled with shrubs and wildflowers. From here turn right and follow the red blazes back to the parking area crossing the suspended bridge and boardwalks once again before ending the hike back at the farm. Most of this property is open to hunting during the season. Be sure to wear blaze orange during hunting season.

 

Trail maps can be found at: Cornell/Frank Knowles/Little River

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Cornell Farm

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Little River

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Suspended Bridge From The Platform