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MA - Central North
Views, pond, brooks, cliffs, loop hike
250 feet (cumulative)
This is an easy loop hike with gentle ups and downs and offers lots of different natural features: a beaver pond, brooks, cliffs, and views of the surrounding forests and hills. First, this route follows the trails on the outermost perimeter of the Vaughn Hills hiking network, then it turns into the center of the property to do a smaller loop up and around the summit of Vaughn Hill.
The trails are well marked by yellow triangles. You will pass very close below a beaver dam on the right, a quarter-mile from the start. The dam which is six feet high by about 75-100 feet wide has turned what used to be a swamp into a pond. The beaver lodge is another quarter-mile along the trail. Continue around the pond as far as possible (on the trail). You'll see a sign for the summit but keep going right around the pond and you'll enjoy the treat. There are a few trails that crisscross and the ice storms have blurred some of the paths but the trail should be cleaned up soon.
The trail then turns left away from the pond and begins to move into the woods and follows a brook beneath a steep cliff (the view up is very nice). You will make your way along the back edge of a farm and then you will need to follow the map to stay on the outside perimeter of the trail system. The path follows a brook downhill to the north and then loops around and follows another brook uphill to the south. The trail crosses the brooks several times and passes over an old dam located at the very northern turnaround point.
The trail loops back around to where you will see the summit sign once again. There is a well-marked loop trail that takes you up to the top of two small peaks (Vaughn Hills) with beautiful panoramas of the forest and trail below. After descending the hills in a southerly direction you will be back at the junction you encountered earlier near the pond, and you can then head back to the parking lot along the trail you came in on.
This hike is fairly easy with gradual changes in elevation. The loop is easy with no snow and can be difficult with snow but no snowshoes. This is a great quick hike (after work) and is surprisingly quiet, although you may see other walkers with dogs and horses. The total elevation change is a couple hundred feet.
The multiple loops allow you to do as much or as little of a hike as you like. The access from Route 495 is very easy, yet far enough away that the road noise cannot be heard.
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The trailhead for this hike to Vaughn Hills is located in Bolton, Massachusetts.
From I-495, take Exit 27 for Rt. 117 West.
Follow Rt. 117 West for about 2.6 miles.
Turn sharply right onto Green Road and follow it for about 0.9 mile.
Park on the left in a parking area opposite Nourse Road.
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