Beech Hill Preserve, Rockport
(Orange trails indicate Erickson Fields Preserve and connector path. Beech Hill trails in blue.)
This preserve is stunning! And after a lot of work, there is a long wheelchair-accessible trail that connects Beech Hill to Erickson Fields, extending the accessible trails already in place at both of these preserves.
The wheelchair-accessible trails are all on the north side of Beech Hill. If you start on this side and just want to walk up the hill, you’ll follow a wide dirt road through blueberry barrens for about 0.6 miles. The hiking is gradual and easy. At the top, you can rest at the picturesque stone hut with a sod-and-grass roof and a deep, stone-tiled porch. Walk around the house for 360-degree views of mountains, the sea, and meadows teeming with flowers, birds and insects. Coastal Mountains Land Trust manages the land for grassland bird habitat and grows organic blueberries on one side of the hill.
According to Wikipedia, the stone hut was built by a Norwegian man in 1913 for a wealthy family as a picnic spot. It was modeled after Norwegian mountain huts.
If you want to do a longer loop hike, continue on over the side of the hill and do the loop through woods.
If you want to make the roughly 2-mile trek to Erickson Fields Preserve trailhead, the wide gravel path runs between blueberry barrens and the road, before cutting across the street (at a blind corner, be careful) and entering the woods and crossing more fields.
Directions: From Route 1 in Rockport turn onto Beech Hill Road. Go 1.6 miles, and the parking lot (the bigger of the two) is on the left just past the old gate to Beech Hill and a stonewall. To reach the south side of the preserve, turn onto Rockville Street from Route 1. The parking lot is about 0.7 miles on the right side of the road. There’s room for roughly 15 cars on the Beech Hill Road lot, and between 8 and 10 cars on the Rockville Street side.