Photos: The Trails of the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

Photos: The Trails of the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

Spanning the NoBo Region: 5 Easy-Breezy Hikes

Hike #2: The Trails of the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

Article by Keith Spencer and Photos by Kyle Spencer

The Ipswich River provides residents with dozens of opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy a day in a variety of natural settings that make the NoBo region so unique.

The Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary is one of Mass Audubon’s largest properties, offering more than 12 miles of interconnecting trails that provide visitors of all ages and abilities the opportunity to explore the forests, meadows, and wetlands surrounding a portion of the Ipswich River.

Whether you want to walk or canoe (members can rent from May to October) along eight miles of the river, the sanctuary is alive with visitors and wildlife throughout much of the year.

A must-see is the easy-breezy hike around the Rockery Trail, an adventure that brings hikers inside and atop huge, man-made rock formations that were part of an arboretum created by the property’s original owners. Click here to download a trail map of the sanctuary.

On a recent visit, I spotted numerous croaking toads and frogs, a large snapper flogged by painted turtles, a small group of deer, and a chomping beaver who sat watching curiously from just feet away. Visitors will also often spot coyote, mink, otters, and fox as well as owls, hawks, and other fowl depending on the season.

For bird watchers, the park is alive with the sights and sounds of both native birds and those on migratory stopovers. Novices & families must download and print a bird checklist before visiting as a convenient way to keep track and identify their encounters.

For more information about the Mass Audubon Society and the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, email ipswichriver@massaudubon.org, call (978) 887-9264, or click here to visit their official website.

Where? Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, 87 Perkins Row, Topsfield

When? All trails are open from dawn to dusk; The visitor’s center is open: May through October, Mon to Fri from 9AM to 4PM, Weekends from 9AM to 5PM; November through April, 7 days a week from 9AM to 4PM

Cost? Mass Audubon Members enjoy FREE admission, $4 for non-member adults, $3 for non-member children (2-12) and seniors. Click here to learn how you can join the Mass Audubon Society.

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