Places to Explore in Central Massachusetts

Not sure where to start exploring? Try visiting one of our wildlife sanctuaries in Central Massachusetts. At two sanctuaries with nature centers, friendly and incredibly knowledgeable staff members and volunteers will be happy to help you make the most of your visit!

Nature Centers & Trails

Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary

Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary

Location: Worcester
Trails: 5 miles

At this large urban wildlife sanctuary and conservation center, interpretive signs will guide you along well-marked trails through woods, fields, streams, and marsh. Details >

Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary

Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary

Location: Princeton
Trails: 13 miles (universally accessible: 800 feet)

Wander in woodlands, wetlands, and meadows; watch the resident sheep graze; rent a canoe at the pond; or climb Brown Hill for a spectacular view. Details >

Just Trails

Burncoat Pond Wildlife Sanctuary

Burncoat Pond © Richard Johnson
Burncoat Pond © Richard Johnson

Burncoat Pond Wildlife Sanctuary

Location: Spencer
Trails: 2 miles

Moderate-to-rugged trails offer an opportunity for a peaceful walk through fields and hardwood-white pine forest, skirting wetlands, passing over streams, and ending at the pond. Details >

Cook's Canyon Wildlife Sanctuary

Cook's Canyon Wildlife Sanctuary

Location: Barre
Trails: 1 mile

Named for the small ravine in which Galloway Brook flows, Cook’s Canyon features a waterfall that descends in a series of cascades over rocky ledges. Details >

Eagle Lake Wildlife Sanctuary

Eagle Lake Wildlife Sanctuary

Location: Holden
Trails: 2 miles

While the canopy of mature forest provides nesting sites for scarlet tanagers, great crested flycatchers, and rose-breasted grosbeaks, the pond attracts numerous waterfowl. Details >

Flat Rock Wildlife Sanctuary

Flat Rock Wildlife Sanctuary

Location: Fitchburg
Trails: 6 miles

Leave behind the city to explore various habitats such as bedrock "balds," hemlock forest, and mixed hardwoods, each home to a variety of wildlife including songbirds and large mammals. Details >

Lake Wampanoag Wildlife Sanctuary

Lake Wampanoag Wildlife Sanctuary

Location: Gardner
Trails: 1 mile

One of the lesser visited wildlife sanctuaries, it’s easy to be alone here. That is, of course, if you don’t count the fascinating wildlife that inhabit this sanctuary including moose, bears, deer, bobcats, and coyotes. Details >

Lincoln Woods Wildlife Sanctuary

Lincoln Woods Wildlife Sanctuary

Location: Leominster
Trails: 1 mile

Find a small dose of nature in the heart of Leominster. The trail system, which ranges from level to short slopes with surfaces that are smooth to uneven, traverses the mature woodlands. Details >

Nashoba Brook Wildlife Sanctuary

Nashoba Brook Wildlife Sanctuary

Location: Westford
Trails: 3.6 miles

Migrating songbirds rest and feed in the fields and woodlands of Nashoba Brook, which consists of various sanctuary parcels, and the Town of Westford’s Richard Emmet Conservation Land. Details >

Pierpont Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary

Pierpont Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary

Location: Dudley
Trails: 0.75 miles

Here, stone walls stand amidst pine groves and along the edge of meadows and valuable shrubland provides nesting habitat for brown thrasher and eastern towhee. A small cottage is available for rent. Details >

Poor Farm Hill Wildlife Sanctuary

Poor Farm Hill exposed ledge © Lenherr
© Lenherr

Poor Farm Hill Wildlife Sanctuary

Location: New Salem
Trails: 0.94 miles

Part of a large mosaic of conservation land, the expansive area provides forest habitat for warblers, ground nesting birds, and large mammals including bobcat, black bear, and moose. Details >

Rocky Hill Wildlife Sanctuary

Rocky Hill Wildlife Sanctuary

Location: Groton
Trails: 3 miles

Located within a state-designated Area of Critical Environmental Concern, Rocky Hill is a land of impressive ledges, boulders, beaver ponds, vernal pools, and uninterrupted woodlands. Details >

Rutland Brook Wildlife Sanctuary

 
 

Rutland Brook Wildlife Sanctuary

Location: Petersham
Trails: 4 miles

Moderate-to-strenuous interlinking trails wind though cathedral-like stands of hemlocks and white pine and along boulder-strewn Rutland Brook. Details >