- Leo G. Yelle Conservation Area
- Freeman Street, Norton, MA
- Trailhead: 41°58’14.65″N, 71°12’10.10″W
- Last Time Hiked: May 9, 2014
- Approximate distance hiked: 3.4 miles
- Easy with some slight elevation, some unmarked trails.
I had come across the Norton Conservation Commissions webpage this week while doing some research of the area. On the website there is a half dozen properties with hiking trails. Today I decided to explore the Yelle Conservation Area. I expected it to be a rather short hike and had planned on doing another hike in the area as well. I was quite surprised at just how much area there is to cover here and the adjoining Norton Historic Society property. I started the hike from a small parking area on Freeman Street and started following the trail into the conservation area. The trail is blazed red. Within a few moments I came to the first intersection. The green trail, a loop, goes to the right. (On the map the blue is labeled green and vice versa). I opted to follow the red trail toward the left. At the next intersection the green trail rejoins the red. I stayed to the left again following the red. At the next intersection I turned right following the red trail blazes. Soon the blue loop trail would veer off on the left. I stayed to the right again following the red trail passing an outcrop before the blue trail rejoined the red on the left. I continued further along the red trail through an area of mud before crossing two boardwalks, one which crossed a stream. I suspect in this area is where the conservation area ends and the historical society property begins. The trails are mostly unmarked from this point forward with the exception of the red trail being sporadically blazed. After the boardwalk I turned left following the main trail, still occasionally blazed red. The map I had in hand no longer showed the trails I was on. I was now relying on GPS and instinct. I came across some automobile pieces at the next intersection. The red trail continued to the left but first I took a right looking for a pond that was showing on the GPS. After some exploring and not finding a clear path to the pond I returned to the “car parts” intersection and continued following the red trail. At the next intersection I went straight and the trail started climbing up a hill. At the top of the hill I went right following the main trail. The trail followed a ridge and I could see a stream below on the right. The trail then went downhill. At the end of the trail I turned right and came across a wooden bridge that crossed another stream. At this point, being a little wet from the rain, a little hungry, and having no idea where exactly I was I decided to call it a day and retrace my steps back to the car. (I will do the other hike I planned for today sometime in the next week or two). I found this location to be very serene and peaceful. I will probably be back sometime in the future to explore it more. I would suspect I could get a couple more miles hiked here. I did not come across any wildlife other than the many, many birds here.
Trail map can be found at: Yelle Conservation Area. (scroll down after clicking link)