CORONAVIRUS update from The Trustees. Learn More
Metro West

Rocky Narrows

Sherborn

274 acres

Along the banks of the Charles...

By foot or canoe, enjoy incomparable views of the Charles River as it slowly and serenely winds past field and forest and between granite walls.

Share

Plan Your Visit
  • Overview
  • Ideas for Your Visit
  • Admission & Hours
  • Directions
  • Property Map
  • Regulations & Advisories

Overview

In 1897, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., acting as an acquisition agent for Augustus Hemenway, deeded to The Trustees 21 acres on the Charles River known as Rocky Narrows, the “Gates of the Charles.” It became The Trustees’ first reservation, populated with a mixed forest of hardwoods and evergreens and 50-foot rock walls that date back 650 million years.

Today, visitors use an extensive trail system to explore Rocky Narrows and adjacent Sherborn Town Forest, and the setting showcases the 80-mile Charles River at its loveliest: a pastoral stream slowly moving between ancient cliff walls and steeply wooded hillsides.

 

Ideas for Your Visit

Amble among pine groves and past wetlands along seven miles of trails and footpaths. A canoe landing connects to a two-mile loop trail to the Rocky Narrows Overlook, a ledge rewarding visitors with views of steep, hemlock-covered rock cliffs that form a narrow river passage—the reservation’s namesake.

Further south along the trail is King Philip’s Overlook in Sherborn Town Forest, where visitors can view the forests of Medfield and Millis, and Noon Hill Reservation on the horizon. The property is a link in the Bay Circuit Trail.

Admission & Hours

FREE to all.

Directions

South Main Street (Rt. 27)
Sherborn, MA 01770
Telephone: 508.785.0339
E-mail: charlesrivervalley@thetrustees.org

Get directions on Google Maps.

From Points North: I-95/Rt. 128 South to Exit 21B. Follow Rt. 16 West to Rt. 27 South, 2.5 mi to entrance on Left

From Points South: I-95/Rt. 128 North to Ext 16B. Follow Rt. 109 West 8 mi. towards Westwood. Turn right onto Rt. 27 North for 3.5 mi. to entrance and parking (strict 6-car limit) on right.

Alternate parking (recommended) on Forest St. off Snow St. at northern edge of property (6 cars). On-street parking is not permitted.

Property Map

Free trail map distributed from bulletin board in the parking area. Please understand that supplies periodically run out.

We recommend that you take a photo of the map on your phone so you can refer to it during your visit, or download a trail map before you head out.

Regulations & Advisories

  • The active railway through the southwest corner of the property prohibits crossing of tracks.
  • Dogs are permitted off leash as long as they remain under control at all times.
  • Mountain biking is permitted only on designated trails when trail conditions are dry. Trails are closed to mountain biking March 1 to April 30, during muddy season.
  • Water craft may not be launched from the property. Landing only
  • Authorized bow hunting, only with written permission, is allowed on this reservation for a limited number of hunters, according to MasssWildlife regulations from mid October through December each year, from ½ hour before sunrise all day until ½ hour after sunset, Monday through Saturday. Hunting is not allowed on Sundays. Signage is posted at the property listing safety precautions, requirements, and rules for the benefit of all visitors. Learn more about hunting on Trustees properties
  • The Trustees reserves the right to photograph or video visitors and program participants for promotional use, and usage of our properties implies consent. Find the full policy here.
Before Setting Out
More to Explore
Upcoming Events

Gates of the Charles - our first reservation

Within 30 years of the Pilgrim landing at Plymouth, settlers had migrated inland along the Charles River Valley. By the 1650s, settlers were clearing land for farms, and the river played a central role in the growth of the community to be named Sherborn. Indeed, what we know as Rocky Narrows was called the “Gates of the Charles” in the Colonial era. Both the Wampanoag people and Puritan colonists considered the granite-walled river passage strategically important.

Learn More
The View From Here
See What People Say

Absolutely gorgeous trails. Almost 7 miles when all the trails are traversed. Great lookout “King Phillip lookout”. Beautiful Charles River to enjoy.

ypboston , TripAdvisor

Discover More Places

Join the Trustees

Enjoy 120 sites featuring inspired trails, historic homes, beautiful gardens, farms, summer camps and more.
Become a Member

Lend a Hand

Join a community passionate about a sustainable future and engaged in diverse projects across the state.
Volunteer

Support Our Work

We rely on your generous support to protect the irreplaceable landscapes and landmarks of Massachusetts.
Donate