Explore Upton’s Natural Areas!
Conservation Areas and Trail Maps
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Whitney Conservation Area
This 63 acre forested area was acquired in 2011. It consists of two parcels, one east and one west of North Street, and includes an east-west trail (Porier Path) which links Upton State Forest with the Warren Brook Watershed Conservation Area. The property is part of a historic farm which dates to the mid 1700’s and was once owned by the grandfather, uncle and cousin of the Eli Whitney, the early American inventor. The eastern parcel is fairly level. The western parcel rises steeply towards the Warren Brook Conservation Area and an unnamed hill that is the second highest elevation in Upton. The headwaters of Warren Brook pass through the western parcel. Trails can be accessed from the Upton State Forest, the Warren Brook Conservation Area and the Howarth Conservation Area. A parking area off North Street is planned.
Peppercorn Hill Conservation Area
The Peppercorn Conservation Area is located on the east side of town near North Pond. The 283 acres area is largely forested with oaks, maple and pine. It features cold water streams, wetlands, vernal pools, scenic vistas, and stone walls. The western slope of Peppercorn Hill is a remarkable jumble of boulders deposited by glaciers more than 10 thousand years ago. A National Grid powerline easement passes through the property and shrub habitat maintained by the easement provides excellent songbird and butterfly habitat. Trails can be accessed from Crocket Road and from Taft Street via the Snow Family Conservation Area.
Warren Brook Watershed Conservation Area
Located in the northern part of Upton on the Grafton Town Line, this 230 acre wooded area offers opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing. Access is available from a parking area on Grafton Road and a trail head on Oak Knoll Road. A trail connecting this area with the Eleanor T. Howarth Glen Conservation area is under construction.
Snow Family Conservation Area
This 10 acre parcel donated to the town by the Snow family contains 2 vernal pools and provides access to the Peppercorn Hill Conservation area from Taft Street.
Richard and Naomi Howarth Conservation Area
This 34 acre area consists of four parcels of Glen Echo Subdivision open space accepted by the town at the 2006 annual town meeting and designated a conservation area at the 2008 annual town meeting. The largest parcel is 26 acres and is mostly forested upland and wetland. It contains a vernal pool and abuts Upton State Forest and the Whitney Conservation Area (east parcel). The other three parcels range in size from about one to five acres. Trails are accessible from Howarth Drive.
Eleanor T. Howarth Glen Conservation Area
This 27.4 acre wooded parcel along North Street was acquired by the town as part of the Glen Echo Open Space development. The parcel provides habitat for several rare species and includes forested wetlands along Warren Brook and a vernal pool. Trails link this parcel to the Warren Brook Conservation Area. A parking area on North Street is planned.
Pratt Pond Conservation Area
This 10 acre wooded parcel north of Pratt Pond was purchased by the town in 1972. It abuts the town’s Kiwanis Beach Recreation Area.
Goss Pond Conservation Area
This 23 acre wooded parcel along Green Lane was deeded to the town by Robert Henderson in 2009 as part of the Goss Pond development and managed by the Land Stewardship Committee. Goss Pond is one of Upton’s hidden treasures. The small kettle hole lake near the West River is fringed by floating bog mat which is most easily accessed in winter. Goss Pond is home to a small and rare population of Black Spruce which has likely been isolated for thousands of years as the climate warmed and oak, chestnut, and pine came to dominate our local forests. A wooded trail provides access from Green Lane to the West River. Parking and Trail access is on Green Lane.
Pleasant Woods Conservation Area
This 33 acre wooded parcel in West Upton was placed under control of the Conservation Commission by a 1969 Town Meeting vote. It is accessible from a trail off Warren Street. Much of the area is quite hilly. There is a remarkable granite outcrop overlooking a vernal pool near the southern end of the loop trial. The area is named for Hotel Pleasant, which was located nearby many years ago.
Other Open Space and Parks
This 116 acre town owned property bordered by Mechanic and Orchard Streets includes forested uplands and wetlands, meadows, hedgerows, streams and vernal pools. Deer, fisher, wild turkey and numerous songbirds have all been observed on the property. Much of the property is on George Hill and there are nice views of Pratt Hill. Parking is available off Mechanic Street.
This 7.5 acre parcel off Elm Street was purchased with Community Preservation Act funds in 2006. It is the site of a magnificent stone chamber of unknown origin. The park includes walking trails, access to Mill Pond, meadows, and a parking area. It is managed by the Historical Commission.
Lake Wildwood Park
This 4.3 acre park was acquired in 1964 and includes a picnic area and canoe launch on Lake Wildwood. Access is via a private road off Williams Street. The entrance to the park is gated and locked after dark.
West River Canoe Access
Access to the West River is available at the Pleasant Street Bridge. An upstream paddle leads to Old Zac, a pond owned by the town of Upton. Traveling upstream may mean navigating around several beaver dams and its best to undertake the paddle in late spring or early summer.
Upton State Forest
The Upton State Forest is comprised of over 2,700 acres, including about 2,275 acres in Upton. The State Forest is owned by the Commonwealth and managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Friends of Upton State Forest website