Ravenswood Park

Gloucester, Massachusetts 01931

Ravenswood Park

Ravenswood Park Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Following centuries-old footpaths, carriage roads, and a boardwalk through a magnolia swamp, this hike rambles through woods to reach Fernwood Lake before passing the cabin site of “The Hermit of Ravenswood” and two granite quarries.

If hiking in June, you will likely see mountain laurel in full bloom. Heavy with white blossoms touched with pink, these elegant bushes dress the woods as if for a formal occasion. As the trail descends to wetland, the density of laurel increases."

More Ravenswood Park Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

AMC's Best Day Hikes Near Boston (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)
Michael Tougias
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"This ecologically diverse pocket of wilderness includes a magnolia swamp; rocky ledges and boulders; and a large, unbroken forest."
Best Hikes With Dogs Boston & Beyond (The Mountaineers Books)
Jenna Ringelheim
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"Ravenswood Park, enjoyed for more than a century by residents of Gloucester and surrounding towns, offers a peaceful place for an outing, with almost 10 miles of trails and carriage paths. This mixture of woodlots, old pastures, and swamp was originally owned by businessman and philanthropist Samuel Sawyer. Upon his death in 1889, Sawyer left the land with an endowment and instructions that the park “be laid out handsomely with drive-ways and pleasant rural walks.” Ravenswood Park retains its originally intended ambiance and remains a fine place to take a hike with your dog. From the trailhead, follow the wide gravel path called the Old Salem Road. To the left you will see a trail that leads to the Great Magnolia Swamp, home to native sweetbay magnolias (Magnolia virginiana). You and your dog will enjoy weaving through the glacial erratics, boulders that were left in this area at the end of the last ice age. After marker 21, your pup can sip from the stream that leads to Buswell Pond."
Snowshoe Routes: New England (The Mountaineers Books)
Diane Bair & Pamela Wright
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"Most people think of the sea when they think of Gloucester. This seaport city is, after all, a working fishing port and home to the famous “Fisherman at the Wheel" statue on Stacey Boulevard, sculpted in 1923. This landmark, along with the more recent (and poignant) “Fisherman’s Wives" statue, honors the 15,000-plus Gloucester fishermen lost at sea, and the families they left behind. The monument is a constant reminder of the power of nature, something you’ll see evidence of at Ravenswood Park, although in less dramatic fashion. Ravenswood Park is a 600-acre glacial moraine. Thousands of years ago, retreating glaciers left giant boulders, or erratics, all over the park. In the winter, these giant, snow-covered boulders look like giant snowballs. Other features of the property tend to disappear under heavy snowfall, like the kettle ponds and Great Magnolia Swamp, a glacial bog. The park’s variety of trees look gorgeous draped in snow; you’ll tromp past oak, birch, beech, maple, eastern hemlock, white pine, mountain laurel, and even the sweetbay magnolia (uncommon around here)."
Hiking Massachusetts (Falcon Guides)
Benjamin B. Ames
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"Start at the harbor edge of this 600-acre glacial moraine and head north through fields of boulders dropped by the glaciers as they retreated at the end of the last ice age. You’ll pass by ocean views over Gloucester Harbor before heading west and dropping through wooded flatlands. Reach the Great Magnolia Swamp and cross a series of boardwalks to return on a broad carriage path to your car."
Best Hikes Near Boston (Falcon Guides)
Steve Mirsky
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"Much of this route winds through and alongside a vast magnolia swamp along with some spectacular ridge lines punctuated with interesting rock formations and some kettle holes and ponds. You’ll also get to see the spot where the Hermit of Gloucester, Mason A. Walton, built his cabin in 1884 and studied nature in these woods. Based on these experiences, he wrote several books, including A Hermit’s Wild Friends."

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Trail Type
Easy to Moderate
Skill Level
2 hours
The Trustees of Reservations, thetrustees.org/places-to-visit, 617-542-7696
Local Contacts
Posted at entrance
Local Maps

Trail Log