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Environmental Justice > Meadow Road / Ponkapoag Trail access
Access to the Blue Hills from the Donovan School
North Randolph has a beautiful state park that is mostly unknown -- in 2022 we decided to put up two "Welcome" signs to show the people of Randolph where they can go to enjoy the Blue Hills right in Randolph.
A Blue Hills trail called "Meadow Road" starts at the Donovan School -- the "Welcome" sign is at the back of the parking lot and there are several entrances to walk in, including directly from Reed Street.
Another Blue Hills trail called "Pasture Road" connects the Meadow Road trail east to High Street. This "Meadow Road" trail photo essay shows west to Ponkapoag Pond from the Donovan School
The photos below show the path in between a new "Welcome" sign at the Donovan School, plus the route to cross the "Horse Bridge" over Rt 24 which connects to Ponkapoag Pond via a trail called "Ponkapoag Path." The orange letters on each photo correspond to the map at the upper right -- click on any photos, or the map, to show a larger-scale version.
School Committee Presentation
Point M: Donovan School parking lot
The Donovan Elementary School is a great place to park to enter the Blue Hills Reservation, IF school isn't in session! Please don't park here on shcool days -- it's a very busy parking lot!
This entrance is at the back of the Donovan parking lot, up a little hill. This is where the "Welcome" sign will get posted, near the bicycle. The pair of boulders marks the entrance (and the edge of the Blue Hills Reservation).
Point N: Reed Street entrance
Trail marker 5420 marks the entrance to the Blue Hills Reservation from Reed Street. This is a DCR vehicle entrance, but you can walk or bicycle in here.
The Donovan School parking lot entrance is seen past the woods, with traffic cones.
To return to the High Street entrance by road, go east on Reed Street, then right on High Street, then down the hill.
Point L: Rear of Harmony Hill
This is the back entrance to Harmony Hill Horse Farm; the bicycle points the way to continue on Meadow Road to the Donovan School.
Harmony Hill isn't in the Blue Hills Reservation; it's private property so please respect that.
Their horses sometimes come out here; the rule is that hikers, riders, and bicyclists should all yield to each other -- but sometimes horses are scared of bicycles (or dogs) so please respect that too.
Point K: Pasture Road meets Meadow Road
Trail Marker 5414 is at the intersection of Pasture Road and Meadow Road.
To the left of the bicycle is Pasture Road to point H (trail marker 5423).
Behind the bicycle is the Horse Bridge (point J and trail marker 5413).
In front of the bicycle is Meadow Road to the Donovan School.
Point J: East side of Horse Bridge
Trail marker 5413 (on the tree with the "J") is at the intersection of the Pipe Line and Meadow Road.
To the right of the bicycle is the Horse Bridge over Rt. 24 (the trail is roughly paved here for a hundred yards).
Straight in front of the bicycle the Pipe Line continues straight to Rt. 24 (the pipeline crosses underground, but you can't!)
To the left of the bicycle is Meadow Road to the Donovan School.
Point O: West side of Horse Bridge
The Horse Birdge is actually officially named "The Charles L. Bowley Memorial Bridge." Some people call it "the Fire Bridge" too.
The trail is paved (with very old and crumbling pavement) until near trail marker 5401, which indicates the start of the Ponkapoag Path.
Point P: Hemlock Road trail
At trail marker 5401 west of the Horse Bridge is a trail called "Hemlock Road" which connects to the dead end of Turne Road in the Deer park neighborhood.
Point Q: east end of Ponkapoag Trail
Trail marker 5362 marks the east end of the Ponkapoag Trail. A network of trails in this stretch means if you connect to a different trail, you'll still end up at the main Acton Path if you head generally westward.
Behing the bicycle can be seen a "runoff ditch" maintained by the Friends of the Blue Hills.
Point R: west end of Ponkapoag Trail
Trail marker 5361 marks the weast end of the Ponkapoag Trail. This view is on the Acton Path facing east toward the Horse Bridge.
To the west of this point is the AMC Ponkapoag Camp, where you can rent a cabin for overnight camping.
Swimming and lake-viewing is open to the publix at point S, where the AMC maintains a dock on Ponkapoag Pond.
Point T: Acton Path
Trail marker 5355 marks a shortcut east to Hemlock Road. The bicycle points along the main Acton Path trail.
The Acton Path is an easy but long hiking trail which circumnavigates Ponkapoag Pond, including the YMCA camp, bog boardwalk, and golf course in Canton.
Point U: AMC auto entrance
When you rent cabins at the AMC Ponkapoag Camp, you can drive your car on the Acton Path from Randolph Street (shown here) to your cabin's parking spot.
This entrance point is marked by two US flags and can be used by foot or bicycle anytime (you need to get the lock code from the AMC for your car when you rent a cabin).
Randolph Street (in Canton) becomes Canton Street (in Randolph) at the town border -- you can return to Reed Street and the Donovan School frmo Canton Street.
Across Randolph Street is the Canton Equestrian Center, where you can rent horses (and also cross through this entrance) and ride on the Acton Path.
Point V: Fisherman's Beach
DCR maintains a vehcicle entrance on Randolph Street just west of the Randolph-Canton border (just east of Temple Beth David).
You can park there, and unload a kayak or canoe also -- there's a beach to get into the pond just down the hill.
The Fisherman's Beach entrance is poorly marked -- many people miss it and enter the Temple Beth David parking lot which is just to the left of this photo.
The DCR is conducting an improvement project which includes adding welcoming signage at this point too -- see details of walking to the beach from Randolph's Prynne Hills apartment complex!