Maudslay State Park

Area:  Maudslay State Park
Trails:  Merrimack River, Overlook, Castle Hill, Pasture, Hedge, Fire, Main, North, Artichoke Woods Fire, Artichoke Woods Main, Main, Swamp, Well Walk, Mile Circle, Long Border, Line, Laurel Walk, Cathedral Trails
Region:  MA - Northeast  
Maudslay State Park
Location:  Newburyport, MA
Rating:  Easy  
Features:  River, gardens
Distance:  Variable  
Elevation Gain:  Minimal  
Season:  Variable
Last Updated:  03/16/2009  
Author:  Webmaster

Maudslay State Park (photo courtesy of Maudslay State Park)
Maudslay State Park

 

Click for a PDF-format trail map for Maudslay State Park (it will open in a new window).   

Map of Maudslay State Park (map courtesy of Maudslay State Park)

 

  Trail Guide   

Throughout its 480 acres, Maudslay State Park encompasses a network of 16 miles of trails, many of which are carriage roads. You can spend as little as 30 minutes here or as much as an entire day.

Formerly a country estate dating back to 1805, the park is famous for its formal gardens as well as its mountain laurels and rhododendrons. The park has about 1.5 miles of frontage on the Merrimack River and the trails traverse park-like landscapes, meadows, woodsy paths, and even ravines so it has something for everyone.

The terrain is mostly flat but Castle Hill provides a nice little climb for those wanting something more challenging. There are three main paths leading up to this perch overlooking a field and I like to go up all three: I go up one, down another, circle around, and go up a different way, down another direction, etc. Castle Hill is located in the northeastern part of the park and I've rarely run into another person in this area. The hilltop makes a great place for a picnic.

Use the map on this page (or follow the link just above it for the PDF format) for navigation. A trail map should also be available at the parking area or park headquarters.

A popular park-like walk includes checking out the gardens, and then going a bit farther to enjoy the view of the Merrimack River. There are several different routes you could follow to achieve this goal, but in all you will end up walking probably less than a mile.

You are likely to see quite a few people enjoying the trails in and around the gardens, and a couple of the carriage trails in the southeastern part of the park are fairly popular. Explore beyond these areas and you will experience varied habitats and less humanity.

Most of the buildings from the original estate no longer exist but you can find some smaller structures, old foundations, and even a weed-choked old cement swimming pool. The natural sights you'll encounter include woods, ravines, a kettle hole, and shoreline along the Merrimack River as well as the Artichoke River.

I especially enjoy the narrow winding footpaths through the eastern part of the park. Look on the map for the carriage road labeled "Overlook Road". Part of this route encircles a kettle hole (a depression in the ground formed by the glaciers) which is worth checking out. But just to the left of Overlook Road on the map, you will see dotted lines which represent smaller footpaths. These are the paths that have a special, wild, secluded feeling and pass alongside a ravine.

Another section of the park that's interesting is the southwestern corner which is on the opposite side of the road from the main park. Even though the paved road that requires crossing is small and rarely has traffic, it seems to create a psychological barrier as the trails in this part of the park seem to be rarely used. These paths travel through woods and circle close to the Artichoke River which feeds into the Merrimack.

No matter which routes you decide to explore, you are sure to have a delightful time at Maudslay.
 
 


MA - Northeast


  Driving Directions   

Maudslay State Park is located in Newburyport, Massachusetts on Curzon Mill Road.

From I-95:
  • Take exit 57 from I-95 to Rt. 113 West.
  • Follow Rt. 113 West for 0.5 mile then turn right onto Hoyt's Lane, a.k.a. Gypsy Lane.
  • Follow Hoyt's/Gypsy Lane for 0.6 mile to its end.
  • At the T-junction the park will be directly in front of you. Turn right and then right again to enter the parking lot in 100 yards.

Facilities   

Located in the parking lot is a small building housing bathrooms and showers.

Other Notes   

  • There is a $2.00 parking fee. Annual passes are available for purchase.
  • A small portion of the park is closed from November 1st to March 31st to protect the bald eagle nesting habitat.
  • Beware of deer ticks.
  • Dogs must be leashed.

About Maudslay State Park   

Maudslay State Park was formerly the country estate of Frederick Strong Moseley and in 1985 was made into a Massachusetts state park. It consists of 480 acres.

The estate was originally dubbed "Maudesleigh", named after Mosely's original home in England. At its peak, the estate consisted of a dairy farm, two mansions, several houses, three greenhouses, a two-acre formal vegetable and cutting garden, a 500-foot perennial border, an Italian garden, a rose garden, and rhododendrons, azaleas, and specimen trees, as well as the site's native mountain laurels.

Located on the banks of the Merrimack River, the park currently features stands of towering white pines, a nesting site for bald eagles, 19th-century plants and gardens, woods, meadows, azaleas, rhododendrons, and one of the largest naturally-occurring stands of mountain laurel in Massachusetts.

May and June are good months to visit to see many of the flowers in bloom: dogwoods, apple trees, roses, lilacs, rhododendrons, azaleas, and mountain laurels.

The park service created a large parking lot and a nearby house serves as the park headquarters. A staff of rangers and grounds employees maintain the meadows and trails and conduct guided tours.

Recreational uses for the park include walking, hiking, running, horseback riding, biking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. Special-use permits may be obtained for wedding ceremonies and similar programs.

Cultural events are a regular feature during the summer and "Theater in the Open" puts on productions at Maudslay in the spring, summer, and fall, including the "Maudslay is Haunted" walk in October.

Maudslay State Park
Curzon Mill Road
Newburyport, MA
978.465.7223
 

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