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Cedar Hill
June 19, 2004

Route: Crane Swamp Trail, Cedar Hill Trail
Map: map.jpg (61976 bytes)
 

Elevation:

441 ft

Vertical Climb:

161 ft

Distance:

1.8 miles

Who Went:

Paul, Muffin

Cedar Hill is not a very big mountain. In fact, at 441 ft, it's not even a very big hill. Its main advantage for me is that it's close to home. There's also a nice view to the south. I climb there often, usually going up and down several times as part of my exercise routine. Actually, there's more than one trail to the summit, so I usually go up one way, then down the other. On this trip, I simply went up and back the same way.

The main trailhead on the south is the Crane Swamp Trail. It begins at a parking lot at the end of a short dirt road just off Lyman St on the Westboro/Northboro MA town line. This trail is also used as an access road to the aqueduct that connects the Wachusett Reservoir to the Boston water supply, so the beginning of the road is gated, although I haven't seen the gate open nor any car on the road for several years.

As its name suggests, the trail skirts the border of Crane Swamp on the south, with gently rising woods on the north side. There's also a small meadow and hayfield near the parking lot, so there's quite a variety of wildflowers. For example, the swamp side of the trail is full of skunk cabbage and cattails, while daisies and asters grow along the wooded side. 

About a half-mile from the parking lot, the trail passes an old abandoned and decaying pump house, which I think used to supply well water to nearby Westboro State Hospital. Just beyond, the Cedar Hill Trail diverges left into the woods, and soon begins to climb gently through the mixed hardwood and white pine woodland.

At the top of this first rise, in a col between Cedar Hill and a smaller adjacent hill, the Cedar Hill Trail turns sharply right, and enters an old overgrown apple orchard.

Trailhead. The Crane Swamp Trail begins at a parking lot at the end of a short dirt road just off Lyman St near the Westboro/Northboro town line.

trailhead.jpg (122596 bytes)

Gate at the start of the Crane Swamp Trail. This trail is also used as an access road to the aqueduct that connects the Wachusett Reservoir to Boston.

barrier.jpg (141586 bytes)

Oxeye daisies. There are many flowers growing along the sides of these trail. These oxeye daisies are common in June.

oxeye daisies.jpg (125524 bytes)

Fleabane daisies. These are another common June flower around here.

fleabane.jpg (101720 bytes)

This old broken-down pump house used to supply well water to Westboro State Hospital.

pump house.jpg (129795 bytes)

Muffin on the Cedar Hill Trail. This trail diverges from the Crane Swamp Trail just beyond the old pump house. The first section climbs through a hardwood and pine forest.

muffin on trail.jpg (112450 bytes)

Trail sign. At the top of this first rise, the Cedar Hill Trail turns right and enters an old overgrown apple orchard.

trail sign 2.jpg (82344 bytes)

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