Hiking the Bay Circuit Trail in Hanson MA: Exploring Burrage Pond Wildlife Management Area

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Are you looking for a scenic hiking trail in Hanson, MA? Look no further than the Bay Circuit Trail in the Burrage Pond Wildlife Management Area. This hidden gem offers stunning views of cranberry bogs, forests, and open pond systems. In this article, we will take you on a virtual tour of this beautiful trail, highlighting its unique features and what you can expect on your visit.

Exploring the Cranberry Bogs

As you start your hike, you will come across a working cranberry bog system. Depending on the time of year, you may witness the vibrant burgundy color of the cranberries as they ripen for harvest. This picturesque sight provides a beautiful contrast against the foliage of the surrounding trees, which are often at peak foliage during autumn. Keep an eye out for tracks of animals in the sandy areas, as they tend to show up exceptionally well here.

Discovering the Ghost Remnants of Pre-Colombian Settlements

The Bay Circuit Trail in the Burrage Pond Wildlife Management Area is known for its rich history and remnants of pre-Colombian settlements. As you make your way through the forested parts of the trail, you may come across old Algonquian access roads and Indian trails. These ghost remnants offer a fascinating insight into the area’s prehistoric past. Take a moment to appreciate the historical significance of these ancient pathways as you venture deeper into the wilderness.

Wildlife Encounters in the Wildlife Management Area

The Burrage Pond Wildlife Management Area is home to a diverse range of native wildlife. Originally set aside as a game preserve, this area has experienced a resurgence of wildlife populations due to the decline in hunting. As you explore the trail, keep an eye out for moose and other wildlife that have become less wary of human presence. This is a fantastic opportunity to witness new generations of wildlife thriving in their natural habitat.

Scenic Views of Stump Pond

One of the highlights of the Bay Circuit Trail is the breathtaking views of Stump Pond. This open pond system provides a tranquil setting, surrounded by forests and wetlands. Follow the trail along the edge of the pond, and you’ll be serenaded by the songs of lingering summer birds. Enjoy the sights and sounds of nature as you take in the beauty of this impressive water body.

Exploring the Bog Canals

Throughout the trail, you’ll come across old bog canals, remnants of the recycled cranberry operations that once thrived in the area. These canals provide a glimpse into the region’s history and the engineering efforts involved in cranberry farming. Take a moment to appreciate the flow of water as you encounter these picturesque canals, and marvel at the old digging piles, evidence of the labor required to shape the landscape.

The End of the Trail

As you reach the eastern side of the Burrage Pond Wildlife Management Area, you’ll find that the Bay Circuit Trail temporarily terminates here. Enjoy the panoramic view from a small tuft of land, offering a glimpse of the pond in the distance. This is a perfect spot to reflect on your hike and take in the natural beauty of the surrounding environment.


Hiking the Bay Circuit Trail in the Burrage Pond Wildlife Management Area is a rewarding experience for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. From the stunning cranberry bogs to the remains of pre-Colombian settlements, this trail offers a unique blend of natural and historical wonders. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the picturesque landscapes and wildlife encounters along the way. Embark on this adventure and immerse yourself in the beauty of Hanson, MA’s wilderness.

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