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  Ski at Appleton Farms Grass Rides
Ski at Appleton Farms Grass Rides

What to Bring

skiing equipment
(skis, shoes,
poles) - see below for rentals
  Water or hot
tea/chocolate in
vacuum bottle
Fleece   Sunglasses
Hat   Snacks


From Boston, take 128 North
Take exit 20N and follow Route 1A north for 4.5 miles
Turn left onto Cutler Road and follow for 2.2 miles
At intersection with Highland Street, turn
Parking area (20 cars) immediately on right. The Highland Street parking area provides access to Appleton Farms as well
  Good to know in advance
Open year-round, daily, 8am to sunset

Trail maps available at the parking area or online at

Interpretive tours and programs for families and adults are offered by the Trustees of Reservations throughout the year. For
listings, visit
Appleton Farms: 219 County Road, Ipswich 01938; Tel. 978-356-5728,
EMS rents cross-country skis at their
Boston store:
–   Address: 1041 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215; Tel: 617.254.4250
–   Rates (include skis, poles and shoes): $20 per day; $25 for a 3-day weekend, $10 additional day
–   Rentals are first-come, first-serve; reservations accepted over the phone; skis can go quickly in February and March, so go there early!
Bring back your trash with you
If you want to exchange your skis for
mountain bikes when snow disappears, be aware that the property is closed to
mountain bikes Mar 1- April 30 to preserve trails during muddy season
Growing popularity of Appleton Farms with dog owners has led to increased conflicts among visitors. Please share the trail
observe the following dog-walking
guidelines: dogs must be under the control of their owners at all times and should not be allowed to approach other visitors or
dogs unless invited to do so; keep your dog on a leash in the parking area and entrance trail until you enter the woods, and consider keeping your dog leashed on busy days;
when walking through the fields, please
keep your dog on the trail to protect hay
crops and rare grassland wildlife; do not
allow your dog to chase, hunt, or harass
people, wildlife, or other dogs; minimize the impact of your dog on wetland areas to help protect rare aquatic wildlife.

ID Card

Overall rating: Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating
Difficulty: 1/5
  Time from Boston: 1 hour
  Duration: A few hours

$25 for skis rental

  Main activity:


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A great walking destination in summer, Appleton Farms Grass Rides becomes a perfect destination for cross-country skiing when snow appears. With no ski center there, you have the assurance of gliding in silence with probably very few fellow skiers in a preserved environment. So rent your skis in town and head for the outdoors!

The Appleton property is actually divided in two sections: the northern part, Appleton Farms, has an unique open landscape made of farmland, while Appleton Farms Grass Rides in the southern area has a good network of trails in woodlands. Appleton Farms Grass Rides was designed by the Appletons for the pleasure of family and friends who enjoyed horseback riding. Like a wagon wheel, five "rides" converge on a central clearing called the "Roundpoint." Here, a large, granite pinnacle, salvaged from the demolition of Gore Hall (the former Harvard College Library), stands as a silent sentry.

The trails, which are not groomed, are essentially flat and offer no technical difficulty. Allow between 1 and 2 hours to ski across the property.

Since there is no loop across both sections, this destination is well suited for open skiing and exploration as you go. The area is limited by roads on all sides and there is no chance of getting lost despite the many trails in the southern part.

The directions below will allow you to explore both sections of the property; any other combination of trails, using the trailmap (download it at the address in the side box), will offer a fine skiing experience:
From the parking lot (an area named Lamson Field), take the alley under the trees
Turn left at the next intersection; go through the stone wall and into the adjacent field, the Great Pasture
Ski by another stone wall and turn right on the larger trail towards the farm
Take the bridge over the railroad to reach the farm; you can first turn left towards Patch and Underhill Fields, where farm animals can usually be seen. A small wooded hill on the left and a smaller meadow make for a nice setting at the far end of this section
Once you reach the end of the trail, retrace your tracks towards the farm, and continue past the buildings on the large trail
When you reach the road and the end of the trail, come back and take the left trail at the fork to enter the forest
Continue straight at the first intersection, and then twice right at the next two forks; you will soon reach the farm again, and take the bridge over the railroad to come back to the parking lot
Once closer to Lamson Field, you can explore the wooded Appleton Grass Ride; instead of turning right to take the alley under the trees, turn left and continue all the way down the trail; turn right at the end
Turn left at the following intersection to reach the Round Point (orient yourself by checking where you come from, since 6 trails converge there)
Take the first trail on your right, then the second trail on your right as you get closer to the road
Continue down the trail until its end; then turn left to reach the stone wall beside the Great Pasture
Turn left again to walk back to the parking area.
As you ski, you will glide across a very varied landscape: long ago, this area were originally covered by mature stands of white pine and oak. However, in the 17th century, these old growth forests were cleared by colonists to meet their needs for timber and pasture land. What you see will see today is the result of the slow process of vegetative succession and natural regeneration of former pasture land back into forest.

You will also see wetlands: these are part of the watershed for the Miles and Ipswich Rivers. At one time, these wetlands were more extensive than they are today. In the past, many farmers, who did not fully understand the ecological importance of wetlands, took measures to drain or divert them. As you ski down the trails, look for the many fine examples of stone culverts and bridges that, thanks to the skilled craftsmen who constructed them, are still working effectively to maintain the existing wetland habitat and create that pristine setting for your ski day.

Appleton Farms Grass Rides is owned by The Trustees of Reservations - a conservation nonprofit organization that works to save the landscapes and landmarks of Massachusetts.

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