The trails and beautiful water views at New Bedford Waterworks welcome explorers of all ages. You can walk, bike, horseback ride, ski, or snowshoe the property’s meandering fire roads and wooded paths. A small, pebble-covered beach sits at the end of the trail, where you can stop and enjoy the scenery or throw out a fishing line.
New Bedford Waterworks is located amidst thousands of acres of protected land in the Assawompset Pond Complex. These ponds supply public drinking water for nearly a quarter-million people in southeastern Massachusetts, including New Bedford and Acushnet. (Because this land protects clean drinking water, there is no swimming, wading, or paddling allowed at New Bedford Waterworks.)
We recommend starting on the New Bedford Waterworks trails from gate R10, conveniently located next to free parking at the North Rochester Congregational Church. You can also access the trails from the fire lanes (gates R1-18) on North Avenue, Neck Road, and Braley Hill Road (Route 105) that are not marked “no admittance,” where there is limited roadside parking. (Download trail map)
Walk along the narrow trail from the back of the church parking lot, running parallel to North Avenue, until you reach the R10 gate. This is the start of the 0.7-mile Tinkogkukquas Trail: a wide, sandy path that climbs a series of turns through the forest. The trail eventually narrows as you near Great Quittacas Pond. To reach the shore, turn right on the 0.3-mile Atuk Trail and then left onto Namas Way.
For a longer walk through the forest, stay on the Tinkogkukquas Trail and then make a right turn onto 0.5-mile Nipi Way. This path skirts the pond’s edge before circling back to the Tinkogkukquas Trail via the Mishoon Trail.
(These trail names are labeled on a map at the trail entrance, but are not marked on the trails themselves. Make sure to bring a printed or digital version of the trail map with you to navigate. A full print Assawompset Pond Complex map is available for purchase at the Lakeville Town Clerk’s office for $2.)
Habitats & Wildlife
New Bedford Waterworks is part of the Assawompset Pond Complex, a 4,000-acre area of land in Lakeville, Middleborough, Rochester, and Freetown. This land acts as a protective buffer for the ponds, which connect the Acushnet River and the Mattapoisett River, which ultimately flow through historic herring ditches to Buzzards Bay.
With so much preserved land in this area, the Assawompset Pond Complex provides important habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. As you walk through the beech tree forest at New Bedford Waterworks, listen for birds like mourning doves, blue jays, and woodpeckers. Fallen logs along the trails provide habitat for decomposers, including fungi, pill bugs, and a plethora of insects. Keep your eyes on the sky when you reach Great Quittacas Pond – nearby Assawompset Pond is one of the few places in southeastern Massachusetts where bald eagles nest!