Ipswich River Trail

Topsfield, Massachusetts
Elevation Gain93ft
Trailhead Elevation105ft
Elevation Min/Max33/105ft
Elevation Start/End105/105ft

Ipswich River Trail

Ipswich River Trail is a hiking trail in Topsfield, Massachusetts. It is 0.5 miles long and begins at 105 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 0.9 miles with a total elevation gain of 93 feet. Parking Lot and another parking, Bradstreet Hill (elevation 105 feet), and the Visitors Center information office are near the trailhead. There are also restrooms. This trail connects with the following: Drumlin Trail and South Esker Trail.
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Pathfinder | 80 pts
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Lincoln Land Conservation Trust (LLCT) is located in Lincoln, MA only about 25 mins from downtown Boston. It is a couple of trails that go around the Sandy Pond water reservoir. There is a biking trail and several hiking/walking trails. This location is where the great Henry David Thoreau went when he wanted a peaceful retreat from the busy Boston life.
The trails at LLCT are mostly well kept, but are also mostly poorly marked. The trails have changed from what most trail maps say due to changes in the watershed and the makeup of the land, and in a few spots we were unsure where to go. This isn’t a huge problem though since the area is not particularly large, so I would be unlikely that you would get lost. One thing to make sure to bring is bug spray. The area is mostly wetlands and in the humid summer months there tends to be a plentiful amount of mosquitos. We forgot ours and paid the price the whole hike.
The trail we went on was the one that does a 3.7m loop around the entire pond. It starts on the Black Gum Trail and then switches to several other unmarked trails as it snakes its way around the water. The one downside to this spot is that there isn’t really a great spot to look out over the pond. The trail runs relatively far away from the water and the area is heavily wooded.

Read more on my hiking blog:
Explorer | 30 pts
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This trail is lovely, but if you park between 10am and 5pm at DeCordova there is a $12 admission fee per person.
Explorer | 40 pts
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Wetland wonderland! Birdwatcher heaven!
If you are a bird watcher then just go here, I guarentte you will be glad you did. Dunes and beaches everywhere.
Very close to tourist area with almost too many things to eat and do, this is a great day or weekend trip if you dont want to go too far out of the way and if I had kids I would definately take them to this area, (though in the bird santuary try to keep em' quiet please).
There are moderate parking fees.

Ipswich River Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

AMC's Best Day Hikes Near Boston (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)
Michael Tougias
"Hike a wide path through this forest, circling a pond on your way to the Rockery. Children will have fun exploring the maze of paths, bridges, and tunnels." Read more
Cynthia Copeland, Thomas J. Lewis, & Emily Kerr
"The good news: the sanctuary’s famed Rockery, a series of stone stairways, tunnels, and bridges built by the property’s wealthy owners nearly a century ago, will make this hike unforgettable for the kids. The bad news: once they begin having fun exploring this intricate maze of precisely placed boulders, they may want to end the hike right there! But it’s well worth whatever cajoling it may take to get them to continue. Within the sanctuary’s 2400 acres are more than 20 miles of hiking trails with features nearly as enticing: boardwalks, rustic bridges, wildflower gardens, and unusual oriental trees and plants. You may even meet up with a snake or a turtle." Read more
Hiking Massachusetts (Falcon Guides)
Benjamin B. Ames
"At 2,800 acres this is Massachusetts Audubon’s largest sanctuary, covering woods, meadows, and wetlands, including the Great Wenham Swamp, the largest freshwater wetland on the north shore. This loop tours the sanctuary’s open fields, marshes, and beaver ponds, as well as the thickly wooded Averill’s Island, before returning for one more pass through the bustling wildlife neighborhood of the marshland." Read more
Best Hikes Near Boston (Falcon Guides)
Steve Mirsky
"Ensconced within the protected lands of the Ipswich Audubon Society, many landscape variations intrigue the senses. This route covers a rockery built in 1905 filled with narrow passages and caves made entirely from imported stone. You’ll also pass through extensive forest filled with towering century-old pines bordered by marshland and the vast but increasingly threatened Ipswich River ecosystem. In addition to paying the required admission fee here, you’ll receive a trail map, and staff will share the latest information on animal sightings and trail conditions. Once off the visitor center front porch, turn right, following the Rockery sign, and pass between two red wooden buildings, straight ahead into a meadow. Here you may spot some bobolink or eastern bluebirds and tree swallows flittering around the nesting boxes that have been installed." Read more

Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Guides

AMC's Best Day Hikes Near Boston


Best Hikes with Kids: Connecticut, Massachusetts, & Rhode Island


Hiking Massachusetts


Best Hikes Near Boston

Additional Use
Massachusetts Audubon, Topsfield; (978) 887-9264
Local Contacts
USGS Ipswich, MA
Local Maps

Trail Log