Sterling’s Open Space and Implementation Committee (OSIC) has prepared a new set of guided hikes in and around Sterling. The hikes are generally scheduled for the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month. The distance covered range from 2.5 to 4 miles, and the hikes give you a chance to see the variety of flora and fauna, natural and cultural landscapes found in our region.While the hikes are for all ages, you must be able to walk at a normal pace on uneven terrain for one to two hours, with breaks. Be sure to wear good walking shoes, always bring water, insect repellant, and maybe a windbreaker or raincoat in case there is an unexpected change in the weather. Pets are not allowed.
Below are the dates and descriptions for the six planned hikes for summer 2019:
Wednesday July 10, 2019, 8:30 AM: Mount Wachusett – We’ll hike from the trailhead at Echo Lake Road, taking the High Meadows Trail and the Jack Frost Trail to the summit. We’ll descend using the Jack Frost Trail, Administration Road and Echo Lake Road back to the trailhead. The distance is approximately 2.5 miles. Hiking will involve some steep and damp sections so hiking boots are encouraged. The hike is rated moderate to difficult. Leader is Jeff Keay. We will meet at the trailhead located off of Mountain Road. From Princeton Center take Mountain Road past Westminster Road to the parking area about ¾ mile beyond on the left (just before the Superintendent’s House, now under reconstruction).
Saturday July 27, 2019, 8:30 AM: Hike the Paradise Pond Trail, distance is 3.8 miles. The trail offers great views out over the pond. There are a few hills, but mostly gentle terrain and comfortable wide paths. The hike is rated moderately easy. Leader: Chuck Plaisted. To get to the trailhead and parking area, follow Rt. 140 north through East Princeton. Continue on Rt. 140 for perhaps another two miles to the junction where you turn onto Rt. 31 North. Proceed for approx. one mile on Rt. 31 and then make a gentle right turn onto a small gravel road, which will bring you to the parking area. There is no sign on Rt. 31 indicating the location of this gravel road, so an easier way to find it is to watch for the public asphalt Rocky Pond Road to your left. Your turn-off is almost directly across from this side road.
Saturday August 10, 2019, 8:30 AM: Hike the Stillwater Basin Trail, distance is 3.5 miles. The trail has a couple of steeper hills and is rated moderate. Leader: Jeff Keay. We will meet at the trailhead located on Griffin Road, which can be reached from Muddy Pond Road. More specifically, we will meet at the overflow parking area opposite the ball fields. The trail offers a lovely view to the Stillwater River and the opportunity to walk along the shoreline of a secluded arm of the Wachusett Reservoir. A section of the trail follows a hill crest, while other parts meander through younger forest along hilly trails and through majestic mature forest on a wide, level path.
Saturday August 24, 2019, 8:30 AM: Hike the Rocky Pond Trail, starting at the Parmenter Road parking area in Leominster State Forest. The distance is about 3.7 miles. There are not many hills and mostly easy trails, but one segment of the trail is rocky and uneven, and good sturdy footwear is recommended. The hike is rated moderate. Leader: Peder C Pedersen. The trailhead is located on Elm St. in Leominster. Directions from the center of Sterling: Drive West on Meetinghouse Road, which becomes Rowley Hill Road and then turns into Justice Hill Road. Where Justice Hill Cut-off goes off to the left, stay right on Justice Hill Road for about ½ mile, and then turn right onto Hastings Road. Make note of your odometer reading at this point. Follow Hastings Road, which becomes Elm Street at the junction with Wachusett Street. At 2.2 mile from the start point on Hastings Road, the entrance to the Parmenter Road parking area is on the left side of Elm Street.
Saturday September 07, 2019, 8:30 AM: Hike the Quinapoxet River Trail, distance is 3.5 miles. The trail offers great views over and hiking along the Quinapoxet River. Part of the hike will be on Central Mass Rail Trail. We will encounter a few hills, and the trail along the river is narrow. The hike is rated moderately easy. Leader: Peder C Pedersen. We will meet at the parking lot for Central Mass Rail Trail, located on Manning Street, not to be confused with the much larger parking lot for Trout Brook Recreational Area. From the center of Sterling, go south on Rt. 12, turn onto Greenland Rd, which becomes Muddy Pond Rd. Continue across Rt. 140 (traffic light) until the road comes to a Tee-junction with Manning Street. Turn right onto Manning Street and continue past the Trout Brook parking to WG parking, also on the right.
Saturday September 21, 2019, 8:30 AM: Hike the Lynde Basins Trail, distance is 2.7 miles. The trail has a few steeper hills and crossing of wet areas and is rated moderately easy. Leader: Jeff Keay. The hiking route gives us a chance to see the former Clinton Water Works, which provided gravity fed water to the town of Clinton in late 19th and early 20th centuries. Given the limited parking, we will meet in front of the Butterick Building in the center of Sterling and car pool to the trailhead on Heywood Rd.