Cornell Farm and Frank Knowles-Little River Reserve

Posted By on July 24, 2016

Cornell Farm and Frank Knowles-Little River Reserve

5.2 miles; South Dartmouth, MA

I decided to check this place out after seeing a post about it on my friend’s blog, Trails & Walks in RI. And am I glad I did. This is not only a very beautiful place, and a nice long trail system, but the suspension bridge is the most fun I’ve ever had on a hiking trail. What a hoot!

Salt Marsh

Salt Marsh

The trailhead we (my sister-in-law and I) chose to start from was the Smith Neck Road trailhead at Cornell Farm—a working farm and agricultural education center. This is also where to find the hiking trail which takes you first through some fields and then across the salt marsh at the head of Little River. It’s a stunning view.

Boardwalk Across the Marsh

Boardwalk Across the Marsh

There are not one but two long boardwalks across the salt marsh. The views go for a half mile south across the marsh, and they are wonderful. There are even benches for resting at the halfway point on both boardwalks.

Suspension Bridge

Suspension Bridge

But the absolute highlight of this hike is the suspension bridge. It’s unnerving to walk on at first until you get a rhythm going, particularly if you’re not the only one walking on a stretch. So. Much. Fun. The bridge is 200 feet long, with a viewing platform in the middle, and it takes you for a bird’s eye view of a red maple swamp.

Car-cass

Car-cass

The remainder of the hike was your normal southern New England walk through second growth oak and beech woods, peppered with the usual massive stone barn foundations and stone walls, cellarholes, and the odd rusting hulk. It was anti-climactic compared to the beginning. We were able to re-trace our steps over the bridge and boardwalks, though, as we walked a lollipop loop to and from the parking area on Smith Neck Road.

This hike is on two combined properties, one owned by the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust and the other owned by the Trustees of the Reservations. There is more information on this property, plus a link to a trail map, on this DNRT page. You can read more about Cornell Farm, which is where we began our hike, on this Trustees page.

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