Rocky Gutter Wildlife Management Area’s 3,000 acres of woods and freshwater swamps are an outstanding place for active outdoor explorers to discover. This is an excellent destination for hikers, mountain bikers, trail runners, and photographers who enjoy nature’s quiet solitude.
Wildlife management areas are open to all types of outdoor exploration, but they’re protected primarily for wildlife habitat. During hunting season, Rocky Gutter draws hunters looking for white-tailed deer, eastern coyote, wild turkey, and other native species. If you’re visiting Rocky Gutter during hunting season, make sure you (and your dog) wear blaze orange.
Fifteen miles of old logging trails wind through most of Rocky Gutter Wildlife Management Area. These roads create flat, easy paths through the mature pine forest. Because this is a large wildlife management area that is mostly maintained as wildlife habitat, it’s best for active outdoor explorers who feel comfortable using a compass. (Download trail map)
Starting at the parking area at France Street, head south to see active cranberry bogs at the end of the trail. If you hike north from the parking area, you’ll find yourself on a meandering network of woodland roads. These trails will take you all the way to Rocky Meadow Brook and cranberry bogs along Purchase Street. The landscape here can be wet and swampy, so we recommend you wear boots.
Habitats & Wildlife
Rocky Gutter’s vast upland forest habitat includes white pine, black gum, oak, and holly trees. Blueberry and greenbrier are also common, and serve as tasty snacks for the deer that live in this area. Dozens more woodland species can be found here too, including turkeys, coyotes, foxes, and raccoons.
Several small streams flow through Rocky Gutter, from Rocky Meadow Brook in the northeast to Double Brook in the southeast. Freshwater wetlands surround these streams, creating red maple and cedar swamps where frogs, turtles, birds, and water-loving mammals thrive. The Atlantic white cedar swamp at Rocky Gutter is home to the water-willow borer moth, a globally rare species that’s found only in Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife is responsible for the conservation – including restoration, protection, and management – of fish and wildlife resources for the benefit and enjoyment of the public.