Pegan Hill in Natick, MA has been on my radar for some time, and as I work to wrap up the updates to More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, I had hoped to visit here to decide if it did, indeed, fit my criteria for offering visitors an Easy Walk. Life events continued to thwart my intention, but finally the day dawned bright and sunny, my best walking buddy was available, and we headed over to walk the trails and see what was there.
Off the beaten track in South Natick, Pegan Hill offers parking on Pegan Lane. But be sure to approach from the north, off Pleasant Street adjacent to the Belkin Family Lookout Farm, which offers pick your own fruit from June to October. Pegan Lane can also be accessed in Dover, but offers no parking access to trails, and is closed to road traffic into the Natick portion of the road.
Visiting in spring offers the added attraction of viewing the acres of blossoming fruit trees at Lookout Farm. The pink and white blossoms filled our view as we walked along a section of trail next to the farm. Spring has truly arrived!
Pegan Hill, overseen by the Trustees of Reservations, has several trails to choose from. We walked up Pegan Hill, then back down to the wide open meadow of Lewis Hill,
an open meadow bisected by a gorgeous double-wide stone wall, presumably built along the town line of Dover-Natick. This open meadow offers views to the Mount Wachusett and the Monadnocks to the north, and views of the Blue Hills to the southeast. No views of Boston were spotted, but we spent time in the bright sunshine taking in the sights, both of the blossoming fruit orchard just below us, and the distant line of mountains to the north.
This well-marked property has some challenges–the trails nearly surround a private home, and access by a narrow loop trail takes visitors to the bottom of the hill, which, on the spring day we visited, was a muddy morass.
We kept hoping the trail would shift upwards some, allowing us to escape the mud, but once we were into the trail, it felt harder to go back through the muck than to keep going.
So onward we went. And it kept getting muddier. No, clearly not an easy part of the walk! My advice for future visitors is if you encounter mud on this narrow access trail below the house next to the meadow, turn back, since the trail will NOT get better! My guess is that the trail dries out considerably in warmer weather, but we had just had two days of heavy rain, and the water has to go somewhere. Now we know where it went…
Regardless, it is quite reasonable to simply follow the upland trail, enjoy the meadow and its views, then return on the same path.
The Trustees provide maps for visitors to study all along the trail, so even if you did not print out a map, you have multiple opportunities to figure out which way around the area will work best for you.
We spotted signs on the path for the Charles River Link Trail, and learned later that Pegan Hill trails are part of this multi-town trail system, and offers a link to the Mumford Wildlife Forest, newly acquired by the Trustees of Reservations only in 2016. We did not intentionally follow this link to the Mumford wildlife forest, but in looking at the map later, realize that we walked through the edge of the forest in making a loop around the private property that is surrounded by conservation land.
I look forward to returning to Pegan Hill in different seasons. Now that I have a better idea of what it has to offer, I am excited to see the views at different times of year, perhaps get some autumn photos, and simply enjoy the sunshine in the meadow (picnic tables provided).
So yes, Pegan Hill is going into the book update, which I hope to finish up in the next several months. Some really special places will be added that I didn’t know about when I first put together More Easy Walks in Massachusetts. It’s time to fix that. Happy trails!
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and editor of Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed. Just out is her latest book, Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are.
She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress.