About Sesachacha Heathlands

Viola Pedata at Sesachacha Heathlands (by Robert Buchsbaum/Mass Audubon)
Bird's Foot Violet (Viola pedata)

Explore two of the rarest habitats in Massachusetts—coastal heathland and sandplain grassland—at Sesachacha Heathlands Wildlife Sanctuary on the eastern side of Nantucket.

Sesachacha Pond, the largest body of brackish water on the island and located within the sanctuary, is magnet for 300 recorded bird species, including Northern Harriers and Eastern Towhees.



Trail Mileage

5 miles

Sanctuary Highlights

  • The huckleberry, which turns these Nantucket moorlands into a blaze of scarlet in October
  • Unpaved and usually unmarked sandy cart paths that take you through a prairie-like landscape with Little Bluestem grass, Bayberry, Bearberry, and Lowbush Blueberry.
  • An actively managed landscape that makes use of prescribed fire and mechanical brush cutting to maintain grassland and heathland.


Barnard Valley Road, Nantucket, MA 
Get directions or contact us >


Trails: Open daily, dawn to dusk


Free, donations appreciated

Property Regulations

All of the land at our wildlife sanctuaries is protected. By conserving these open spaces, Mass Audubon, along with our members and partners, is able to fulfill its mission of protecting the nature of Massachusetts.  

  • No dog walking or horseback riding; please leave all animals and pets at home (service animals welcome) 
  • No walking off trail  
  • No collecting or picking natural items.  
  • No bike riding or operating motorized vehicles; day passes are available for powered mobility devices   
  • No running, swimming, or camping 
  • No operating drones or other remote-controlled vehicles   
  • No fishing, hunting*, trapping, or releasing of animals   
  • No feeding wildlife   
  • No Smoking 

Trail Safety

Please stay on the trails for your safety, and the safety of wildlife. Poison ivy and ticks are common in Massachusetts, so be sure to wear proper footwear, learn how to identify each, and be on the lookout. Also bring plenty of water, especially during the summer.

Photography Guidelines

Mass Audubon welcomes visitors to capture the beauty and wonder of our statewide network of wildlife sanctuaries through photography. If you would like to use a wildlife sanctuary for commercial photography purposes, please review the complete guidelines and learn how to schedule a time. 

* As part of our habitat management efforts, hunting for White-tailed Deer is permitted at Sesechacha Heathlands during the state-approved season (early October through December). State law prohibits hunting on Sundays. Learn more >