Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary

With fragrant pine forests and beautiful salt marshes overlooking the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal, Mass Audubon’s Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary is a peaceful place for visitors to explore nature. Follow a looping network of paths through the woods to discover birds, turtles, and interesting remnants of Buzzards Bay’s glacial past.

Discover Buzzards Bay Sponsored By primary sponsor logo
Discover Buzzards Bay Sponsored By


Mass Audubon’s Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary protects coastal forests and salt marshes that provide important habitat for a variety of wildlife. The sanctuary is located on the west side of the canal, but it’s so close to Cape Cod that nature-lovers from either side of the canal can enjoy an outing to Great Neck.

This land was protected in 2010 through a partnership that included Mass Audubon, the Wareham Land Trust, the Coalition, the town of Wareham, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River. Today, the sanctuary is managed by Mass Audubon’s Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary.


a family looking at a trail map sign at Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary

Families will enjoy exploring Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary’s easy, scenic looping trails through the woods.

Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary has four miles of easy, looping trails for you to explore. From the parking area on Stockton Short Cut, you’ll find two trailheads: the Huckleberry Loop and the Heron Point Loop. These old carriage roads and deer paths criss-cross a network of protected forests. (Download trail map)

At 2.2 miles, the Huckleberry Loop and adjoining Old Pasture Loop offers the longest walk at Great Neck. Keep right on the Huckleberry Loop from the parking area, and you’ll soon find a large glacial erratic among the pines — a massive boulder left behind by retreating glaciers during the last Ice Age. The Old Pasture Loop circles through private land that has been protected forever by a conservation restriction.

Across the road from the Huckleberry Loop lies the trailhead to the Heron Point Loop. Follow this mile-long trail through the forest to find Great Neck’s most scenic spot: the Osprey Overlook, which provides an excellent view of salt marshes along protected Bass Cove.

Habitats & Wildlife

Great Neck’s mix of pine forest and salt marshes are listed as priority habitats for rare species like Eastern box turtles. As you wander through the woods, look out for signs of woodland birds, small mammals, and sensitive amphibians hiding among the forest’s understory. If you move quietly, this forest is known for being a great place to spot grazing deer. You may even encounter a roosting great horned owl! You’re most likely to see wildlife from the sanctuary’s salt marsh overlook: in summer, nesting ospreys soar over the cove while herons and egrets wade in the shallows searching for prey.

Property Owned By

Mass Audubon works to protect the nature of Massachusetts for people and for wildlife.

Size: 219 acres
Hours: Dawn to dusk
Parking: Small unpaved parking area
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Dogs: No
Facilities: None
ADA Accessible: No

Please follow all posted rules and regulations at this property.

Address & Contact Information
Stockton Short Cut
Wareham, MA 02571
41.726895, -70.663822
Mass Audubon: (508) 636-2437 (manged by Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary)

Please follow all posted rules and regulations at this property.

Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary
Wareham, MA
View larger map

Related Stories

13 great places to explore while social distancing

You need more than six feet of space between people to follow today’s social distancing guidelines from public health authorities. Lucky for us, we’ve got acres of fresh air, peaceful wooded trails, spirit-restoring beaches, and bracing breezes in abundance here around Buzzards Bay.

Full Story ›
41 places to enjoy fall foliage in southeastern Massachusetts

Pull on a sweater and get outside to enjoy the best of fall's colors at the these 41 beautiful places around your Bay.

Full Story ›
52 new places to explore around Buzzards Bay in the new year

Set a resolution to discover one of these 52 places each week in the new year. We bet there's many spots on this list you've never explored!

Full Story ›

Upcoming Events Near Here

Falmouth Road Race
Sun, August 18
Woods Hole to Falmouth Heights,
Buzzards Bay Watershed Ride
Sun, October 06
Sakonnnet Point to Woods Hole,
Buzzards Bay Coalition Golf Tournament
Fri, October 18
12:30PM - 7:00PM
The Bay Club,

Nearby Places To Go

Great Neck Conservation Area

From hilly glacial remnants to lush salt marshes, Great Neck Conservation Area in Wareham has something for everyone.

William Minot Forest

Take an adventure through hilly pine and oak woods at William Minot Forest in Wareham.

Lyman Reserve

This diverse paradise of woods, wetlands, and salt marshes in Plymouth shelters rare sea-run brook trout in Red Brook.

Current Issues

Land Conservation

Conserving land is one of the most important ways to protect clean water in Buzzards Bay. Since 1998, the Coalition has forever preserved more than 7,000 acres of land across our region.

Read More ›