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  The Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary
The Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

What to Bring

Hiking shoes   Backpack
Sunglasses   Windproof/
waterproof jacket
Snacks   Water
Food   Hat (in summer)


From Boston, take Route 95 North
Take exit 50 for Route 1 North
At the lights, turn right on Route 97
After less than a mile, take second left on Perkins Row (small sign for the sanctuary)
Entrance is on the right (large sign and
  Good to know in advance
Trail map available at the visitor center; also available online here

Closed on Mondays, except on holidays

Open year-round from 8 am to sunset (8 pm in summer)
Office hours: 9 am-5 pm (May-October),
10 am-4 pm (November-April)
Restrooms and water at the visitor center
Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, 87 Perkins Row, Topsfield MA 01983, (978) 887-9264
No dogs
No biking

ID Card

Overall rating: Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating
Difficulty: 3/5
  Time from Boston: 1 hour
  Duration: Full day


  Main activity:


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Owing to the sheer size of the sanctuary, you are unlikely to meet many people on the trails; the Ipswich river crosses the southern part of the sanctuary, and Mass Audubon members can rent canoes to explore the marshes.

The hike presented here is just one of the many you can do using the extensive trail network that crisscrosses the Sanctuary. The route described here takes you to the northern reaches of the Sanctuary, and is one of the longest in the area. You can still extend it through additional loops in the north and south using the map available at the office. This hike is essentially flat and on good trails, making it suitable for all-terrain strollers.

Trails are well marked, and white blazes signal trails leading you back to the visitor center.

Here are the detailed directions:
From the office, go the trailhead at the meadow’s edge behind the red buildings, and take right onto Innermost Trail
Follow signs for Innermost Trail at the next intersections, and take the boardwalks over the marshes
At the end of the boardwalk, take right on Waterfowl Pond trail (sign), then left at the stone bridge
Right before the bridge, turn right to take another boardwalk on Averill’s Island loop, which will lead you around Hassocky Meadow on your left
When you reach the other side of the meadow, follow sign for White Pine loop on the left
At the next intersection, follow sign for Hassocky Meadow trail, which leads you back to the stone bridge
After crossing the bridge, continue straight on Stone Bridge Trail, briefly becoming Drumlin Trail
Take left on Bradstreet Lane, which brings you back to the office and the parking lot
Depending on your pace, allow 2 to 3 hours for the loop.
The Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary is managed by the Massachusetts Audubon Society. The entrance fee is $4 per person for non-members, $3 for children (3-12) and seniors. Entrance is free for Mass. Audubon members. The annual membership fee is $50 for a family ($40 for individuals) and we suggest to take one, considering how many sanctuaries and other outdoor areas it allows you to visit for free.
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