CORONAVIRUS update from The Trustees. Learn More
South of Boston

Whitney and Thayer Woods

Hingham and Cohasset

824 acres

Photo: Peter Moratta

Step back in time to woodlands dotted with glacial erratics and vernal pools, featuring bridges over streams, carefully sited benched, a hermit's shelter, and secluded holly grove.

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Plan Your Visit
  • Overview
  • Ideas for Your Visit
  • Admission & Hours
  • Directions
  • What You'll Find
  • Facilities
  • Property Map
  • Regulations & Advisories

Overview

Around 1904, American industrialist Henry M. Whitney began purchasing parcels of abandoned farmland to create a private estate. The Whitney Woods Association later acquired much of the estate and donated more than 600 acres to The Trustees in 1933, followed by Thayer Woods a decade later.

Glacial erratics dot the landscape, including a grouping called Ode’s Den, named after Theodore “Ode” Pritchard, a hermit who lived under one of the boulders after losing his home in 1830. Bigelow Boulder honors the author of the first volume of The Narrative History of Cohasset. The American holly grove is a delightful spot and, in spring, the Milliken Memorial Path—a “wild garden” planted in the 1920s in memory of Mabel Minott Milliken—blooms beautifully with rhododendrons and azaleas.

The adjacent, 62-acre Turkey Hill is co-managed with the Towns of Cohasset and Hingham, and has a 187-foot summit with a spectacular view of Cohasset Harbor  A cinder block building is all that remains of an anti-missile radar control station sited here during the Cold War to thwart a potential nuclear attack by the Soviet Union.

Ideas for Your Visit

Amble along 10 miles of carriage roads through resurgent hardwood forests and into open fields, catching spectacular vistas of the South Shore and Boston skyline along the way.

Cross the street to family-friendly Weir River Farm and get up close with horses, sheep, and chickens.

 

Admission & Hours

FREE to all.

On-site donation welcome from nonmembers.

Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 2 hours, 3 hours if also visiting Weir River Farm.

Directions

Route 3A
Cohasset and Hingham, MA 02043
Telephone: 781.740.7233
Email: greaterboston@thetrustees.org

Get directions on Google Maps.

Whitney and Thayer Woods Main Parking Area
From Rt. 3 (exit 14), take Rt. 228 North for 6.5 mi. through Hingham. Turn right onto Rt. 3A east and follow for .5 mi. to parking (8 cars) on right for bottom of Turkey Hill or 2 mi. to entrance and parking (20 cars) on right.

Turkey Hill Parking Areas
Top of Turkey Hill: Turn onto Leavitt St. off Rt. 228 next to the Hingham Town Library. Follow for 0.6 mi., bear left onto Turkey Hill Ln., and follow to dead end. Entrance and parking (5 cars) on left.

What You'll Find

Trails
10 miles of trails including the Milliken Memorial path, a “wild garden” that was created in the late 1920s, by Mabel Minott Milliken. Moderate hiking.

Facilities

During operating hours, restrooms are available at 140 Turkey Hill Lane, Hingham.

Property Map

Printed trail maps are distributed free from the bulletin board in the parking areas. Please understand that supplies periodically run out.

We recommend that you download a trail map before you visit.

Regulations & Advisories

  • Dogs must be under voice control or kept on a leash at all times. Voice control means that your dog will not approach other visitors without their explicit permission.
  • Due to the size of the reservation and its complex system of trails, please consult a trail map before setting out.
  • 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. Please review our full video and photo policy.
Before Setting Out
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Common Lands of the Hingham Planters

The thick mix of hardwoods and pines that dominate Whitney and Thayer Woods is typical of the history of the region’s terrain since Colonial times: fields and pasturage once plowed by farmers is now re-populated with trees.

When known as the “Common Lands of the Hingham Planters” in the mid-17th century, the land was divided into long strips, set off by stone walls and cleared by settlers for wood fuel, logging, and farming.

Learn More
The View From Here
See What People Say

These woods are the perfect place for a easy walk in the wood. The main trails are roads from past centuries, the geological formations that adorn their side are leftovers from the glaciers that preceded our history.

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