West Trail, Iron Mine Valley Preserve

Access to the West Trail begins from Sand Hill Road, off Westford Road (Route 89). 

Walkability: Fairly easy. This is a loop trail which descends from the road to traverse a fairly flat section, then descends again to the level of the brook. Any loop that goes down must come up. The return is mostly uphill, with the last section being the steepest. The trail is well marked with yellow blazes on trees except for one spot. If you turn right where the loop begins (0.3 miles from the start), there is some confusion at the bottom where the loop turns to the left and an extension continues straight. The left turn is not marked. The extension goes 300 feet to a stream and 550 feet to the end where it's possible to cross the stream on rocks (at low water) to meet the East Side Trail. The extension can be quite soggy.

Total distance: 1.35 miles round trip for the loop trail; an additional 600-1,100 feet for the extension round trip.

Time: 38 minutes; add about 10 minutes for the extension to the brook and back. 

Elevation change: 184 feet (up + down) from the parking lot, downhill to start, uphill on return.

Environment: Nice woods with open forest floor descending to Boston Hollow Road Brook (a tributary of the Mount Hope River). On the extension section, it is possible to rock-hop across the brook to pick up the East Trail which will take you to Iron Mine Lane. There are a couple of large tree trunks across the trail, but they are easy to step over.  There is an impressively tall stand of the highly invasive Japanese knotweed in the first section of the  trail, as well as Rosa multiflora, barberry, burning bush, and bittersweet.  Concerned citizens are working with Joshua's Trust to remove these threats to native species.

Directions: Go about 0.3 miles down Sand Hill Road to a gate-like structure. There is a sign that says "Private Property," but this is the access to the trail. The Iron Mine Valley Preserve begins immediately after the gate, on the left. Park on the left side of the road. The trail begins as a mowed grass path and enters the woods in about 100 feet. 

Iron Mine Valley Preserve page at Joshua's Trust website.

October 2023

Map from Joshua's Trust. Joshua's Trust webpage for this property: https://joshuastrust.org/iron-mine-valley-3/