Stavros Reservation


74 acres

Views of the salt marsh

Enjoy an easy ascent to a coastal hilltop that rewards you with panoramic views of Crane Beach and the Essex River estuary.


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


While most of Stavros Reservation protects more than 50 acres of salt marsh, its most popular feature is Whites Hill, a coastal drumlin offering unobstructed views of Crane Beach, the Crane Wildlife Refuge, and Halibut Point. The reservation’s iconic feature is a three-level tower built by Lamont G. Burnham in the 1880s; the story goes that the structure was used as a pumping tower to supply water to the Burnham farm. It’s also rumored that a sentinel stationed in the tower would look for coal barges belonging to Mr. Burnham rounding Halibut Point. When the signal came, Mr. Burnham would ride a fast horse to Newburyport to put a price on the cargo.

Ideas for Your Visit

Follow a three-quarter-mile loop trail along a field and up the hillside to a broad, open meadow, where you’ll come upon the fieldstone base of the 50-foot, three-level tower. Venture back down the hill and you’ll trek through a thicket of Devil’s walking stick (Aralia spinosa), broken only by a small hillside clearing that offers views over the salt marshes to Castle Hill.

Admission & Hours

When to Visit
Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of ½ hour.

FREE to all.

Directions & Contact Info

Island Road
Essex, MA 01929
Telephone: 978.526.8687

Get directions on Google Maps.

From Rt. 128 Exit 15, take School St. north (becomes Southern Ave.) for 3.1 mi. until it ends at Rt. 133. Turn left and follow for 2 mi. through Essex Center. Immediately after the Cape Ann Golf Course, turn right onto Island Rd. Entrance and roadside parking on right.


Property Map

Download a trail map before setting out.

Regulations & Advisories

  • Tick Warning: Be sure to check for ticks (which can transmit Lyme Disease) after visiting the reservation. Long-sleeve shirts and long pants recommended.
  • Mountain biking is not allowed.
  • Authorized seasonal bow hunting is allowed on this reservation with written permission for a limited number of hunters through a deer management program administered by The Trustees. Per MassWildlife regulations, hunting is permitted from the first Monday in 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 and requirements. Learn more about hunting on Trustees properties. Any questions may be directed to The Trustees at
  • PHOTOGRAPHY: We ask that photographers or their clients become Contributing Level Members before conducting portrait sessions at this property.  Click here for more information, and to request permission for any portrait sessions. The Trustees of Reservations reserves the right, and may give permission to its designated photographers and videographers, or to outside media, to photograph or video visitors and program participants at all its facilities and properties.
Before Setting Out
More to Explore
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Property Acquisition History

Original acreage a gift of Mary F. Stavros in 1982. Additional land purchased in 1985.

The View From Here
See What People Say

This is a relatively short, not-too-steep, and well-maintained trail, with rewarding perspectives of the Essex River Estuary and the Atlantic beyond. Birds of many types were abundant throughout; you will feel that you have traveled far back in time here. A brief drive afterward to the end of Island Rd. is highly recommended; you look back at Whites Hill, getting the full sense of this unique land and seascape.

William McC, TripAdvisor

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