The trails at Noanet Woodlands are incredibly well-marked, well-maintained, and, until the short climb up Noanet Peak, have very easy footing. I saw walkers of all ages and skill levels enjoying these Woodlands.
Time To Complete
At a moderate pace, you can explore Noanet's 4 trails in about 3.0 hours. To hike just the Noanet Peak Trail, allow 1 hour.
Hikers can expect relatively easy footing year round. Few areas on the trail are at risk of flooding, and even with snow cover the trails are wide enough and slopes gentle enough to hike comfortably without tech gear.
Dogs are allowed off leash in the Noanet Woodlands on all trails except near Lower Mill Pond so long as they are within sight and will not approach other visitors. Otherwise, the reservation will ask you to leash your pet. There is a limit of 2 dogs per person.
Hiking does not require a fee or permit -- nor does parking in the main lot by the Ranger Station -- but mountain bikers will have to obtain a permit prior to visiting Noanet's trails.
Maintained and protected by The Trustees of Reservations, Dover’s Noanet Woodlands is the home to 17 miles of trails with sights that include an old mill and a city skyline view of Boston atop its highest point, Noanet Peak. In its near 600 acres, visitors to Noanet Woodlands can hike visit ponds, city skylines, rolling hills, and the site of a historic mill. In fact, the land is rich with history, having been named after a Native American chief that lived in the area hundreds of years ago. For hikers that wish to extend the length of their hike, the trails inside the Noanet Woodlands link to those within the nearby Hale Reservation, a similarly historic property open to the public for hiking and adventure sports.
What Makes It Great
A metric often overlooked and undervalued, the quality of signage can make or break a hiking experience. Fortunately, the trails in Noanet Woodlands are incredibly well marked, with colored blazes along the trail, numbered markers at small trail junctions, and images of the trail map positioned at several major intersections. Without the stress of losing your way, these trails become ideal for families with young children and those new to hiking.
Noanet’s four, color-coded trails range from 1.5 to 2.6 miles in length. It’s worth taking note that each of Noanet’s trails is or can easily be made into a loop, allowing hikers to explore more area than they could with a standard out-and-back. This, combined with its easy footing, makes Noanet Woodlands accessible for nature enthusiasts of all sorts.
The fact that each of Noanet Woodlands’ trails is a loop means that hiking here can be as quick a workout as you need it to be. At a brisk pace, almost every loop can be completed in under an hour. Noanet Peak Trail will provide hikers with the most strenuous inclines, but trail runners will enjoy the easy footing on the shaded Peabody Loop Trail.
Lastly, it cannot be ignored that Noanet Woodlands is only 25 miles outside of Boston. Unlike Blue Hills or Middlesex Fells Reservation, Noanet offers a quiet undisturbed by the white noise of cars rushing by a nearby interstate.
Who is Going to Love It
FFamilies and beginner hikers are apt to enjoy Noanet’s trails. Trails have easy footing, clear signage, short durations, and loop hike structures.
Noanet Woodlands is a particularly popular destination for dog owners, too. Dogs are permitted to be unleashed along most trails, and the trail slope and terrain is gentle enough for even the less-athletic pooch.
City-dwellers who need their hikes to culminate in an impressive vista won't be disappointed by Noanet Woodlands, either. Once hikers have summited Noanet Peak, they’re treated to verdant hills and a partially obstructed view of Boston’s skyline. The summit’s exposed rock mimics the landscape of more alpine summits in Massachusetts, and serves as an excellent stop to break for lunch.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Official parking for Noanet Woodlands is located on Powissett St. in Dover, MA. There are roughly 30 spots available, so for popular hiking days it's advisable to get an early start.
To reach Noanet from downtown Boston, take I-93 S to MA-109 W, where you'll take exit 16B. Continue along MA-109 W until you reach Dover Rd. Take a right onto Dover and the Powisset St. lot will be on your right.
Noanet Woodlands are not easily accessible via public transit, but public transit will get you 4.4 miles from the trailhead should you want to take an Uber from there. The closest public transit option to Noanet is to take the Franklin Commuter Rail Line from South Station to Islington, then board the 34E bus from Washing St at Dean St to 317 Washington St at Fulton St.