Hellcat Dunes Trail

Newburyport, Massachusetts

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This boardwalk trail explores barrier island dunes in all stages, from secondary sand dunes sheltering shrubs and pines to primary (oceanfront) dunes with low-growing plant life. The Hellcat Dunes Trail shares a trailhead with the Hellcat Freshwater Marsh Trail (walk 7). Both trails begin at the boardwalk west of the Hellcat parking lot (area 4) near the restrooms. Interpretive brochures are available here. About 200 yards from the trailhead, bear right onto the Hellcat Dunes Trail boardwalk (the Freshwater Marsh Trail branches off to the left). When you’re 175 yards past the trail junction (Station 2), you will see a healthy stand of black oak and pine in the lee of a high back-dune area. This is the widest part of Plum Island, and these high dunes run parallel to the ocean, offering a barrier against high winds and salt spray.
Nature Walks along the Seacoast: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, & Maine

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Nature Walks along the Seacoast: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, & Maine

by Julia Older & Steve Sherman (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)

This boardwalk trail explores barrier island dunes in all stages, from secondary sand dunes sheltering shrubs and pines to primary (oceanfront) dunes with low-growing plant life.

The Hellcat Dunes Trail shares a trailhead with the Hellcat Freshwater Marsh Trail (walk 7). Both trails begin at the boardwalk west of the Hellcat parking lot (area 4) near the restrooms. Interpretive brochures are available here. About 200 yards from the trailhead, bear right onto the Hellcat Dunes Trail boardwalk (the Freshwater Marsh Trail branches off to the left). When you’re 175 yards past the trail junction (Station 2), you will see a healthy stand of black oak and pine in the lee of a high back-dune area. This is the widest part of Plum Island, and these high dunes run parallel to the ocean, offering a barrier against high winds and salt spray.

©  Julia Older & Steve Sherman/Appalachian Mountain Club Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Newburyport
Distance: 0.6
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 20 minutes
Season: Best spring through fall
Local Contacts: Parker River National Wildlife Refuge at Plum Island
Driving Directions: Directions to Hellcat Dunes Trail

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Apr 2018