Hike of Cedar Hill & Crane Swamp Conservation Area

Northborough & Westborough, MA

November 17th, 2013

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We were four pioneers boldly hiking where no Outing Club trip had gone before! The Cedar Hill, Crane Swamp and Sawink Farm Conservation Area encompass more than 2200 acres and are less than a half hour away, and we'd never explored them before. So it was time!
Cedar Hill summit
Natalie, Marlaina, Nicole and Greg The boardwalk led us through our first wetland crossing (which wasn't actually wet this time of year) as we headed up the Cedar Hill Trail. Following a short climb we found ourselves in a wide open meadow on the Cedar Hill summit, with nice views of the surrounding hills. It was the perfect setting for our group photo.

We hike through the Cedar Hill meadow headed down toward Crane Swamp, while enjoying the view of Fay Mountain (which is really just a hill). If you click on the Fay Mountain photo, you can see the two white church steeples in the center of Westborough.

Cedar Hill trail Fay Mountain view
Creepy old building Along the Crane Swamp Trail we discover a creepy old building.
Creepy old building Hmmm... should we go in?
A mess! The place needs a little tidying up.

Below, Natalie and Marlaina admire the mess.

At right, Nicole is at the controls! I wonder what this lever does?
Natalie & Marlaina
Nicole and Natalie
Back out in the swamp, Nicole and Natalie check out a little pond next to the trail.

We were intrigued by the red maple swamp and the streams passing through it, and imagined how much different the scenery would look in the middle of summer with everything in bloom.
Connector trail scenery Heading toward Sawink Farm reservation, the connector trail by the water treatment plant had some really compelling landscapes which we stopped to admire. We then looped through Sawink Farm and back for the final leg of our 4-5 mile hike. The farm's forested landscape, seen here in the background, stood in marked contrast to the open swamp we had just crossed.
Frog If you're a frog, then a swamp is the place to be! We found a bunch of 'em in a stream right at the end of our hike. Being mid November it was a surprise. They were timid and a bit camera shy, but we crept in close enough for this picture.

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