Hopkinton MA Duck Pond Trail

Streamway channeled through the woods

It was another short day, with things to do before we headed outdoors. Where to go nearby before the sun went down? A Hopkinton (MA) trails club member had told me about a trail that was an Easy Walk. I had the sense few others would be there, since no sign is posted at the road indicating the presence of a trail. Turns out, my guess was right.

Hopkinton State Park in Hopkinton, MA is a very busy place any time of the year, but especially in the summer with kayak and paddle board rentals, and a swimming beach. The headquarters building in nearby, directly on Rt. 85, (71 Cedar Street) has no sign inviting visitors, but no signs warning visitors away either. We pulled into the headquarters driveway, found parking, and spotted a gate at the back of the clearing that sure looked like a trail.

A few rocks, and some roots on this wide fire road through woodland

On closer inspection, we spotted a sign “Duck pond trail”. Yup, we were in the right place. This fire road offered Easy Walking on a mostly level path, that meandered through an area with a lot of wetlands and wooded uplands.

I still stop when I look up into the sky, and it is a joy to find an Easy Walk where I can look around (and up) rather than always worrying about watching my feet

On the trail we found a few rocks, a few rooty areas, but for the most part, I was able to stride along with ease, rather than watching each step. What a joy to be able to look around as we traveled along the trail, not always down, watching my feet!

Old bridge carries visitors across the stream

We encountered a bridge over a stream that is perhaps ten feet wide. The bridge looked as if it had been there for many years. The path leading up to the bridge was raised, as we have seen railroad beds constructed through wetlands. But no trolley or rail engine was going to navigate this path as it climbed steeply up the nearby hillside on the opposite side of the stream. I heard from Hopkinton Trails Coordination and Management committee chair Peter LaGoy, who explained, “the stream you show is part of a water system constructed in the late 1800s/early 1900s to connect Lake Whitehall to the Hopkinton Reservoir to the Sudbury Reservoir to provide water for Boston. The area to the right was part of a glebe or land given to a church for its support, that was ultimately sold to the state.”

One of many large boulders scattered through the woodland

We wandered beyond the bridge, came upon some cool boulders,

This tree must have grown around a large rock, which is no longer here

and an intriguing tree that may have grown around a rock, which is no longer there.

Not the duckpond, rather, a much closer pond most likely created by the local beaver

After looking at our on-line map, and realizing the duck pond was still a mile beyond where we were, we reconsidered our plan. The sun was getting lower, and although we had headlamps with us, we turned around rather than risk being out on the trail after dark. We will have to come back another time.

Glebe trail, alongside the man-made stream

On our way back, we spotted a trail right alongside the stream we had previously crossed. On closer inspection, this stream appears to have been channeled at previous time. Later, when we drove farther along Rt. 85, we found where this channeled stream came out of the woods, headed directly to the pond at the main portion of Hopkinton State park.

Very fresh signs of beaver

We walked along the Glebe trail next to this slow moving stream and found old signs of beaver. A few more steps revealed very new signs of beaver. The wood chips around the felled tree were quite fresh.

Artistic beaver chews on the newly felled tree

The teeth marks on the felled tree displayed patterns that were almost artistic in nature.

Freshly repaired beaver lodge

A little farther along and we found the beaver lodge up against the bank, plastered with very fresh mud. Winter is coming.

Not being familiar with the area, we turned back, rather than continuing on what is a loop trail that brings travelers near where we entered the area. Multiple, wide trails have been constructed through this area that offer many possibilities for exploring.

We saw a total of five others while walking, and sadly, 100% of these visitors had no masks with them. Yes, the trails are wide, yes we are outdoors, and I will say nothing, just work to avoid these visitors while we are in the midst of a pandemic. But please do not politely ask me, “How are you?” I will be polite as well, but I will tell you, “Better when visitors have masks with them, and use when you pass me.” Sigh… And still, I will wish you happy trails.


Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionMore Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionEasy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her memoir, the backstory of Easy Walks, is My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Reclaiming hope in a world turned upside down.


Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

5 responses to “Hopkinton MA Duck Pond Trail

  1. jan jorgensen

    What gorgeous photos… I love the design created by the beaver’s teeth …


    Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public. Cornel West

    • Marjorie

      Thank you! I was struck by the art on the tree bark. Have seen many beaver chews, but this was particularly striking, I thought. Glad you enjoyed it. I always feel like I bring my friends along when we walk and I grab photos. Thanks so much for joining me 🙂

  2. Mary Chitty

    love the photos and your gift of observations

    • Marjorie

      Oh, I am so glad–walking slowly certainly has its benefits. And the fresh beaver signs was a real treat for me;. Glad you enjoyed it all.

  3. Pingback: Top 10 Easy Walks for 2020 | Marjorie Turner Hollman

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