Halfway Pond Conservation Area - Plymouth
Just as Henry David Thoreau referred to Walden Pond as the “eye of the world,” Halfway Pond shines as the eye of Plymouth County. The pond provides habitat for the federally endangered northern redbelly cooter (formerly known as the Plymouth redbelly turtle), and its shores provide one of the region’s better sites for spotting bald eagles. Its exceptional water quality supports six mussel species, including two state-listed rare species.
Walk for a brief time or several hours on an extensive network of interconnecting, well-marked trails. Enjoy the scent of swamp azalea, swamp rose, and sweet pepperbush as you canoe Halfway Pond on a July evening. Explore woodland swamps and pond shores during crisp fall days when the vegetation glows with brilliant color. Snowshoe through open woodlands in winter or search the pine barrens in spring for unusual wildflowers.
From Gramp’s Loop, follow Gallows Pond Trail across Mast Road, into the oak-pine forest along the shores of Gallows Pond. This preserve is characterized by wooded hillsides, dry kettle holes, views of the pond, a three-acre wetland, and some large glacial erratics. At the top of a rise above Mast Road, Whippoorwill Trail branches off, making its way through quiet woods and leading to an extensive woodland swamp. After the swamp, look for beech trees and white pines in the higher elevations. The trees here are older and larger than most in the conservation area. Whippoorwill Trail also connects with a trail on Conant-Storrow Preserve, where the forest of oak and pitch pine support plants in the heath family.
Less common is the forest of beech trees you’ll pass through on Big Point Trail above the shores of Halfway Pond. On top of a large bluff at the tip of Big Point, a panoramic view takes in most of the pond, its island and the forest beyond; a spectacular place to sit and watch the sun go down. Blackmer Hill Trail and Joe Brown Trail both offer easy, pleasant walking through old woods and create connections and loops with the other trails.