Bald Hill Road

J. C. Phillips Sanctuary, Massachusetts

Elevation Gain254ft
Trailhead Elevation96ft
Elevation Min/Max94/158ft
Elevation Start/End96/96ft

Bald Hill Road

Bald Hill Road is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Boxford, Massachusetts. It is within J. C. Phillips Sanctuary (Lockwood) and J. C. Phillips Sanctuary. It is 1.3 miles long and begins at 96 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 2.6 miles with a total elevation gain of 254 feet. The Stephen Maddock Mem Woodlot conservation can be seen along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Thomas Road.

Bald Hill Road Professional Reviews and Guides

"This loop through the Bald Hill Reservation features a variety of riding rarely matched anywhere. Aside from the absence of long climbs and descents, this mosaic of preserved woodland boasts an incredible array of trail conditions, from challenging rock-garden singletrack to smooth, fast, hard-packed dirt trails. Beginner riders may want to opt to stay on the wider trails, though the narrow cobblestone singletrack provides an excellent opportunity o improve you bike-handling skills while taking you to the less-traveled corners of the reservation.

These trails can, however, be as rigorous as they are beautiful, and the nine-mile loop may seem longer as a result. Bring plenty of water, and don't be bashful about taking a breather and enjoying your surroundings every now and then. The sights include a phenomenal mix of plantlife ranging from ferns and honeysuckle to tall pines and eastern hardwoods such as red oak, mountain maple and shagbark hickory. In terms of wildlife, you might come across red-shouldered hawks, bared owls, waterfowl, grouse, turkey, mink, otter, rabbits, fox, and deer. Terrain: Technical singletrack and well-marked doubletrack. An intriguing mix of geology, ranging from hard, rocky soils to thick bogs. the corresponding plantlife and wildlife is also remarkably diverse."


"Sprawled over three towns in central Essex County, Bald Hill covers 1,700 acres of forested hills and low-lying swamps protected as conservation land.

Enjoy a stroll to a hilltop overlook and explore trails adjacent to wetlands. Thanks are due to all the people who saved Wilson Mountain from development in 1994 and kept it natural. Just 10 miles from Boston, these 200 wooded acres could have easily become the site of a mall or housing lots, but instead, thanks to funds made available through the Open Space Bond Bill, it is now managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and is open to all."

"In central Essex County, sprawled over three towns, are acres and acres of forested hills and low-lying swamp protected as conservation land. The different tracts of woods include John C. Phillips Wildlife Sanctuary, Boxford State Forest, and Boxford Woodlots.

The area encompassing Bald Hill and Crooked Pond is generally known as Bald Hill Reservation. It lies within the town of Boxford near the Middleton and North Andover borders. Because there are more than 1,700 protected acres, wildlife abounds: ruffed grouse, goshawks, barred owls, woodcock, deer, fisher, and coyote all live here. The uncommon pileated woodpecker has also been seen here."

"Two miles SW of Boxford. Within the reservation's interlocking trail system, multiple round-trip and loop hike options exist; the selected loop unveils the typical discovery. Carry a map to plot travel and negotiate the numbered trail junctions. Special attractions: Mixed forest, wetlands, ponds, historic farmsite, wildflowers, wildlife, fall foliage."

"Bald Hill Reservation is one of Essex County’s best places to take an outing with your dog. The Commonwealth and the Essex County Greenbelt Association have protected over 1800 contiguous acres, which include the John C. Phillips Wildlife Sanctuary, Boxford State Forest, and Boxford Woodlots.

This conserved land contains a fine collection of forests,wetlands, ponds, streams, and open fields in which you and your furry friend can frolic. Migratory birds and wildflowers in spring, fall foliage, and winter tracking make visiting this property worthwhile at any time of year. Take a morning or the whole day to explore this fantastic place."

Bald Hill Road Reviews

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This hike went along poorly maintained trails that were frequently underwater and/or badly marked. The main path to the peak of Bald Hill was flooded by a beaver dam -- hikers had the option of fording a stagnant, knee-deep pond or clambering over and possibly damaging a wild animal's home. The mosquitos and ticks were out of control, and we were forced to sprint clear of swarming, blood-sucking bug clouds on multiple occasions. And, frankly -- with the single exception of a great blue heron sighting -- the scenery was not worth the trouble. Bald Hill was not particularly bald, and had no view to speak of; the remainder of the forest was nice enough, but the North Shore has plenty of better maintained parks with equally scenic forests and nature walks. If you must visit, aim for the fall, when there will be fewer bugs and pleasant foliage. Otherwise, don't waste your time.
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This is a great place to get in a quick jog or take your dog for a walk. Trail is well maintained, and if you stick to the red or green markers you'll get the most enjoyment. Green's a 2-mile trail that doesn't take very long at all. From the trailhead, take the immediate right and follow the markers. This will go in a loop and return you to the parking lot. Again, mostly dog walkers and runners here, some families with younger kids, etc. For the length and the location, it's a great trail.
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This trail has a lot to offer from fast flats on smooth single track to medium descents/ascents on rather rocky terrain. There's a swampy section if you like to get a little dirty and a clearing up top if you want to chew some grass. There are all sorts of side trails and a wide variety of scenery alowing one to explore as much as they would like. I rated this trail a 4 because I would imagine that riding here would be a blast supposing you choose the right date. Unfortunately, during my ride the black, deer, and green flies were ridiculous (not tomention the mosquitos)! If I stopped for a moment they would absolutely swarm. Bring a map if your new to the trail and pick a date that doesn't coincide with the emergence of these pests or else you will get really aggravated AND lost, as I did. I'd rate my initial ride a 2 if I included the bugs. They were that bad... I'm definitely going to ride here again, but I'm currently waiting for the all clear. After my next ride I should be able to post a much more conclusive reiew. For now...stay out of the woods entirely!
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Great mt bike area!! There are plenty of single-track options off the main route. The terrain is moderately challenging and plenty of fun! I recommend getting a better map than the trail guide. I came across several trail junctions in the park that were not on the trail guide's map. Boxford State Forest should have a better map. Overall an excellent riding experience!!
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Too flooded to follow the trail listed and even this early in the season it was mosquito and tick infested. I have already pulled 30 ticks off the dog, and 1 off each child and adult. We were mosquito treats even with repellant on.

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Trail Information

J. C. Phillips Sanctuary
Nearby City
J. C. Phillips Sanctuary
Department of Conservation and Recreation
Local Contacts
USGS Reading
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Sep 2018