Frank Knowles/Little River Reserve

Nestled between the Slocums River and the Little River in South Dartmouth, Frank Knowles/Little River Reserve is a must-see for outdoor explorers in southeastern Massachusetts. This Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust property offers a hike through the woods ending in a boardwalk that immerses you within rich woods and wetlands.

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a man and his dog on the trails at Frank Knowles Little River Reserve in Dartmouth

Friendly dogs are welcome at Frank Knowles/Little River Reserve.

Frank Knowles/Little River Reserve was formerly home to a suspended bridge over a red maple swamp, which was recently replaced with a boardwalk that immerses you in this rare habitat. This 244-foot boardwalk offers a great location to watch for birds and wildlife. For hikers of all ages, it’s a fabulous destination that we highly recommend you discover!

But that’s not all to see at Frank Knowles/Little River Reserve. Search for historic homesteads hidden in the woods – a sign of life from long ago. Additionally, the scenic salt marsh along the edge of the property forms the headwaters of Little River, which flows to Buzzards Bay.


Frank Knowles/Little River Reserve boasts nearly nine miles of trails through the forest, over wetland boardwalks, and along a salt marsh. The entire network of trails is ripe for a full morning or afternoon of exploration with friends, family, and faithful four-legged companions. (Download trail map)

To reach the suspended boardwalk, follow the main trail (the Red Trail) from the parking area for just over a mile. You’ll hike along a winding, rocky path past a historic farmstead and the foundation of an old barn. Turn right after the foundation, and you’ll soon see the boardwalk ready to take you through the salt marsh.

Once you cross the boardwalk, keep walking to continue toward the salt marshes and fields of Cornell Farm, or turn around to explore more trails at Frank Knowles/Little River Reserve. The Red Trail intersects with several other trails through the property, including the Orange Trail (a one-mile loop), the Blue Trail (a 2.5-mile loop), and the Yellow Trail (a one-mile loop).

Habitats & Wildlife

Within its nearly 200 acres, Frank Knowles/Little River Reserve hosts a diverse range of habitats where wildlife thrive. From salt marshes along the river to red maple swamps in the forest, this property is a delight to explore. Wildlife thrive in these woods, including bird species like barred owls and thrushes.

Frank Knowles/Little River Reserve is part of a 500-acre block of protected land, including nearby Cornell Farm, Smith Farm, McBratney Reserve, and the Lloyd Center for the Environment. Together, these properties protect important habitats for wildlife and give us special places to discover.

Property Owned By

Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust (DNRT) is a nonprofit, accredited land trust. Since 1971, DNRT has helped protect more than 5,000 acres of land and maintain more than 35 miles of hiking trails in Dartmouth.

Size: 194 acres
Hours: Dawn to dusk
Parking: Small crushed-shell parking area; additional roadside parking
Cost: Free
Trail Difficulty: Intermediate
Dogs: Yes (under voice control)
Facilities: None
ADA Accessible: No

Please follow all posted rules and regulations at this property.

Address & Contact Information
637 Potomska Rd.
Dartmouth, MA 02748
41.552333, -70.985617

Please follow all posted rules and regulations at this property.

Frank Knowles/Little River Reserve
Dartmouth, MA
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