Bay Circuit Trail Section 3

Posted By on May 3, 2017

6.32 miles; Rowley and Ipswich, MA

Oh, well done, Bay Circuit Trail! This is the first of my BCT hikes that was entirely in the woods. I went through town land, what looked like a developer’s easement, conservation land and a large state forest. Only crossed 1 road. This was a great hike!

Massachusetts Woods in Springtime

It was a fine day for hiking, too. It was warm enough, and the sun went in and out, but hey, I’ll take it. This hike started from a Rowley town property called Prospect Hill. Maybe once there was a “prospect…” it was certainly high enough, but so overgrown with trees now there was no view to speak of.

It was warm enough for this guy...

It was warm enough for this guy…

The weather was at least warm enough to get the snakes moving. This little garter snake was actually pretty feisty.

After I left Prospect Hill, the trail took me through a long easement behind a suburban macmansion neighborhood, but it was still in the woods behind the houses, not along the roads. I was happy to take that, too.

Linebrook Woods

Linebrook Woods

The long easement trail ultimately came out onto some fields next door to a farm. At some point, I presume I entered Linebrook Woods Conservation Area. These trails are all maintained by the Essex County Trail Association, and they do a fantastic job. There were no blowdowns, missing blazes, or wet bog crossings.

Swamp

Swamp

After I crossed the road that fronted Linebrook Woods (um, Linebrook Road, actually), I immediately entered the Willowdale State Forest. The Bay Circuit Trail (BCT) winds all through this large parcel, and it was a good thing it was so clearly marked, as the forest appears to be a favorite of local mountain bikers, who have made criss-crossing trails everywhere.

Some Blazes

Some Blazes

They really don’t want you to miss this turn. A little past here, there was a fork in the BCT, with one branch headed east, the Appleton Branch, and the main trail headed west, again very clearly marked and signed.

More Awesome Signage

More Awesome Signage

I stayed on the main part of the trail. Thanks to the excellent signage.

One Last Boardwalk

One Last Boardwalk

My car was parked on the side of the very busy Route 1 in Ipswich, and this boardwalk was almost at the end of the walk. The road noise here was quite loud, but it was still a visually lovely spot.

Track (click for details)

Track (click for details)

You can find out more about the Bay Circuit Trail from their website, bct.org. See the above links for info and maps of the individual parcels on this section. And as always, click the image, above, for details and to download the track.

 

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