Spear Farm Estuary Preserve, Yarmouth

Yarmouth’s Spear Farm Estuary Preserve offers a salt marsh, views of Royal River, idyllic picnic spots, woods, a freshwater pond and more than two miles of trails. I am definitely returning to this 55-acre preserve when the snow melts, if it ever does. The trails aren’t as well marked as they could be, but the trails are easy to follow.

Directions: From Route 88 (Spring Street) turn southeast onto Bayview Street, cross the bridge over I-295, and go 0.9 mile to a small parking area on the right, set back from the road with a small barn and kiosk at the edge of the field.


Sweetsir Farm Preserve, Yarmouth

This walk is not well-marked. There is a mostly obvious footpath that runs from the parking lot to the river. Avoid the trails that branch off to the left; they lead onto private property. Here’s a bit more info.

Directions: From the intersection of North Road and Ledge Road go north a tenth of a mile to Concord Circle and turn left; go through the subdivision half way around the circle to Old Field Road. Cross the railroad tracks and proceed to a small parking area at the end of the road. The trail extends straight into the woods, approximately 0.3 mile to the river.

Sligo Road Property, Yarmouth

This is short walk that crosses a little meadow to a riverside trail, which then follows the gentle curves of the wide Royal River. A must, I think, for all seasons. I came here in winter, but will definitely return in warmer times. The preserve is smallish, 35 acres, and it seems easy to trespass on private property, so be mindful. The river is royally wide — good for swimming? Certainly for canoeing.

Directions: Head north on Main Street (Route 115) past the East Elm Street traffic light, turn right on Sligo Road. Go 0.4 mile to the Water District just beyond the railroad crossing. Park in the stub-ended turnaround to the left of the YWD parking lot. There is space for 2-3 cars.

View Sligo Road Property in a larger map

West Side Trail, Yarmouth

If you start at the end of Yarmouth’s West Side Trail that is close to the Route 295 (and the office building for Tyler Technologies) and walk east, toward the ocean, you can walk in one direction for about three miles before hitting Gilman Road and the bridge to Cousins Island. Then you can continue over the bridge all the way to the power station on the island, a little under two miles. This trail seemingly was designed with mountain bikers in mind, and some of the trails are winding and narrow. At steep hills, the trail has been cut into switchbacks. 

The path is well-marked with maps posted along the route.

The first part of the trail (near Tyler Technologies) begins at the large parking lot, and for the first 20-30 minutes you can hear the highway. But then it gets more quiet, and you wander along in the woods more or less parallel to the power lines (which you can also walk/ride along). There are occasional views of the sea as you walk toward the ocean. At times, the trail takes you under the electricity lines, but these portions are brief and the sunlight feels good. The trail connects with the Fels-Grove preserve. Beware of bike riders! Sometimes they come around corners quickly. 

Additionally, from the park-and-ride parking lot, there is a .2-mile section of the trail that the land trust calls wheelchair accessible. It is wide and flat but not quite long enough (or nice enough) on its own to go out of your way for.

Directions: Parking is available at the Fels-Groves Farm Preserve on Gilman Road and at the upper parking lot on Tyler Drive (formerly Cole Haan Driver) off Route 1, near Route 295’s exit 15.


Littlejohn Island Preserve, Yarmouth

On this walk you get an excuse to visit the tip of Littlejohn Island, baby cousin to Cousins Island. The 23-acre Littlejohn Preserve, managed by the Royal River Conservation Trust, offers lovely views and gravely beaches.

There are only four parking spots here, in a little parking lot of Pemasong Lane. If it is full, you’re not allowed to park on the road’s shoulders or at the end of the lane. Go here for more details.

Directions: After crossing on to Cousins Island, turn left onto Talbot Road by the Littlejohn Community House. Cross the bridge onto Littlejohn Island, then turn left onto Littlejohn Road. Bear left onto Pemasong Lane. Follow Pemasong Lane (please strictly respect posted speed limit of 15 mph) until you reach a parking area on the left, just before the stone gate with the “private” sign on it. Please park in this area and walk down to the end of the road through the stone gate to the entrance of the Preserve (2/10 of a mile, straight ahead, all turns are private driveways).

Pratt’s Brook Park, Yarmouth

The 220-acre Pratt’s Brook Park, with about five miles of trails, is a great gift for Yarmouth. Popular with dog walkers, this park makes for great skiing after a fresh fall of powdery snow.

Directions: There are three entrances to Pratt’s Brook Park. North Road, about 1.2 miles from East Main Street, on the right (or on the left, 0.1 mile south of the intersection of East Elm and North Road). Berryfield Road, a side road off of Granite Street just over a mile from the 4-way intersection with East Main Street (east of Transfer Station), with parking on the right. Ledge Road, about 1.2 miles from North Road or about 0.4 mile from Granite Street, the entrance is about 150 feet east of Mountfort Road on the south side of the road, with parking on a wide soft shoulder.

View Pratt’s Brook Park, Yarmouth in a larger map

Fels-Grove Farm Preserve, Yarmouth

This 55-acre preserve, protected by the Royal River Conservation Trust, starts off in a wide open meadow before heading into the woods for a short and pleasant walk. It also links to the long West Side Trail. The preserve has a short side trail that is wheelchair accessible, close to the parking lot, that loops through mature forest. 

Directions: Take Route 88 (Lafayette St.) to Princes Point Road. At the four-way stop, turn left onto Gilman Rd., going towards Cousins Island. The fields of Fels-Groves Farm open up within a quarter mile on both sides of Gilman Road. The southern parcel, which has trails and parking, is on the right.


Royal River Park, Yarmouth

This is a really pleasant community park, offering a 1-mile paved trail along the river (along with side trails), with panels explaining the site’s historical significance. Picnic tables, playing fields and a summer concert series round out its offerings. Lots of dogs and dog owners take advantage of this refuge, so close to downtown. It is wheelchair accessible.

Directions: The main entrance to the park is across from the Yarmouth Water District offices on East Elm Street, about 0.3 mile east of Andy’s Handy Store at the corner of Main Street. There are additional entrances to the park from Bridge Street, the Beth Condon Pathway near the Rowe Elementary School and via the pedestrian bridge accessed from Forest Falls Drive. Check out the town map in my slideshow.


Frank Knight Forest, Yarmouth

I was touched by this sweet place. I thought it might just be a rather ordinary walk in the woods, but the trail sets of from what appears to be an active community garden, and then follows wide paths (which when they are drive, are probably wheelchair/stroller accessible) to lovely meadows. Along the way you pass an apple orchard (which is fortified with lots of Keep Out! signs). An unusually shaped stone bench has been set up underneath a tree in one of the meadows. One trail, after passing through deep mature woods, ends at the railroad track, another takes you to a winding creek. The preserve is 75 acres.

Directions: Take East Main Street heading northeast. From the North Road intersection, the entrance is about 0.8 mile on the left just past the Community Garden sign. Park by the kiosk at the Community Garden.