The Monoliths


146 acres

Ascend to where a massive granite monolith juts into the sky, then pass a swamp where another huge boulder has sat as a silent witness for millennia.


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


The Big and Little Rocks are dramatic examples of giant boulders plucked from bedrock and carried far away by the last glacier. As the glaciers scoured this landscape, the mass of bedrock forming the hill proved more resistant than the surrounding soil, forcing the bottom of the glacier up and over the hill. The north side was smoothed and the south side left steep and rugged as the glacier broke off chunks of rock as it passed.

Ideas for Your Visit

Make your acquaintance with these geologic marvels by ascending the property’s 1.5-mile loop trail up Beaverdam Hill. The moderate hike leads to an inimitable sight: Little Rock, a giant granite monolith silhouetted against the clouds. A short distance away, in a small shrub swamp past the other boulders, perched on the edge of this glaciated upland, rests 30-foot-tall Big Rock. Nobody knows how far below the ground it is buried.

After long periods of rain, take extra caution: when the water table is high, the area surrounding Big Rock can be flooded.

Admission & Hours

When to Visit
Open year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 1 hour.

FREE to all.


Directions & Contact Info

School Street
Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA 01944
Telephone: 978.526.8687

Get directions on Google Maps.

From Rt. 128 (exit 15), take School St. north for 0.5 mi. Entrance and roadside parking (10 cars) on right.

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

  • 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.
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The Monoliths History

In 1874, the Essex Institute originally named the site to honor Louis Agassiz (1807–1873), the professor of natural history at Harvard University who first theorized that the rocks that dot New England’s landscape were shaped and deposited by glaciers, and not Noah’s Ark (as believed at the time). Despite this important scientific contribution, The Trustees renamed the property “The Monoliths” in 2022 because of Agassiz’s racist teachings involving polygenism–the belief that non-white races were inherently inferior and less intelligent.

Property Acquisition History
Original acreage a gift, with endowment, of Arthur W. Stevens in 1957 and 1958. Additional land purchased in 1960, 1961, and 1963. Additional land given by Doris E. Peabody and Mrs. John B. Warner in memory of William A. Stone and Charles H. Stone in 1964; Barbara Babin, Edwin F., Rowland E., and Dorothea Butler in 1965 in memory of Nelson A. Butler; Samuel Knight & Sons Co. in 1966; the heirs of Eva Rand in 1967; and Douglas DeAngelis in 2001.

The View From Here
See What People Say

Beautiful easy hike for those who are ready to get out of their car or away from being a tourist in Boston.

KarenHawkinson, Trip Advisor Review

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