5 scenic cranberry bog walks in the Buzzards Bay region

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Nothing says fall in the Buzzards Bay region quite like the annual cranberry harvest. As the leaves change colors each autumn, local cranberry bogs glow red with ripe berries that float on the surface of flooded bogs, ready to be harvested.

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a woman walking on a trail in Wareham

Nestled in the woods at Westgate Conservation Area in Wareham sit four retired cranberry bogs, with wide, flat paths in between and along the edges.

The cranberry industry is an integral part of the Buzzards Bay region’s economy and culture. About 20 percent of the nation’s cranberry crop is grown here – concentrated mostly around the head of the Bay, including Carver, Plymouth, Rochester, and Wareham.

Most cranberry bogs are privately owned, and are best viewed as you drive down local roads. But there are a few public spots where you can get a close-up view of a cranberry bog. We’ve highlighted five local places you can visit to take a walk by a cranberry bog. Check out one of these spots this weekend and enjoy the view!

1. The Bogs (Mattapoisett)

At the heart of the Mattapoisett River Reserve lies The Bogs, a natural oasis located just minutes from Interstate 195 in Mattapoisett. The Bogs, which is owned by the Coalition, is a gateway to more than four miles of trails through the woods, along a scenic freshwater swamp, and around 50 acres of cranberry bogs.

The cranberry bogs at The Bogs were created in the 1930s and operated until the fall of 2011. Although these bogs are now retired from commercial production, native cranberries continue to grow wild here. With wide, flat trails criss-crossing the bogs and leading into the forest, The Bogs is a fantastic destination to take a walk and enjoy the outdoors.

2. White Eagle and Cerkovitz Woods (Marion)

Hidden away in the forests between I-195 and Route 6 in Marion, the Sippican Lands Trust’s White Eagle and Cerkovitz Woods property offers plenty to explore. This 248-acre property is the largest protected area near Aucoot Cove, and its centerpiece is a retired cranberry bog. Flat paths around the bog cells provide wide-open views of the bogs and surrounding forests and wetlands.

Like The Bogs and Westgate Conservation Area, the cranberry bogs at White Eagle and Cerkovitz Woods are no longer harvested. Instead, they provide habitat for rare species like spotted turtles, eastern box turtles, and a species of moth called the water-willow stem borer.

3. Westgate Conservation Area (Wareham)

Westgate Conservation Area is a relatively new place to visit for a walk in the woods. But it might be one of Wareham’s prettiest spots. With 49 acres of woods along a scenic stretch of the Weweantic River, Westgate is the perfect place to take a quiet weekend walk.

Nestled in the woods sit four cranberry bogs, with wide, flat paths in between and along the edges. These cranberry bogs are abandoned, so they’re no longer harvested. But birds, turtles, and other wildlife flock here, making the bogs a beautiful place to enjoy nature.

4. Myles Standish State Forest (Carver/Plymouth)

two people walking next to a cranberry bog

You can catch a glimpse of cranberry bogs along one of Myles Standish State Forest’s extensive bridle trails.

The largest publicly owned recreation area in southeastern Massachusetts — Myles Standish State Forest — is also located smack-dab in the middle of cranberry country. Sprawling across the southern sections of Carver and Plymouth, Myles Standish offers 13 miles of hiking trails through the forest.

Cranberry bogs welcome visitors at the west entrance to Myles Standish, located on the aptly named Cranberry Road. You can also catch a glimpse of bogs along one of the forest’s extensive bridle trails. In summer, Myles Standish offers interpretive programs that allow families to explore cranberry bogs.

5. Shining Sea Bikeway (Falmouth)

Falmouth’s Shining Sea Bikeway is home to scenic views of marshes, ponds, harbors, and coastal beaches. And if you’re looking for a cranberry bog, you can find one of those along this easily accessible 11-mile Cape Cod trail, too.

About two miles south of the bikeway’s northern entrance, the path cuts through a privately owned cranberry bog. Cranberries have been harvested here each fall for over 100 years. If you time your trip right — around mid-October — you may be lucky enough to see an up-close view of the harvest. Around dusk, the bog is a great place for wildlife watching; foxes, rabbits, bats, and even deer are spotted here.

Categories: Featured Adventures, On the Land

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