With trails, scenic overlooks, and a canoe launch on the gorgeous Slocums River, the Slocum’s River Reserve is a local treasure for outdoor explorers. The property is set among the coastal farmland of South Dartmouth, and provides a protected place to walk, paddle, and enjoy life by the river.
Every three years, the Slocum’s River Reserve is transformed into an outdoor art museum by the year-long The River Project exhibit. As you walk along the trails, take time to appreciate these sculptures celebrating art and nature.
For paddlers, the Slocum’s River Reserve provides a place to launch on a river exploration. It’s about a three-quarter mile carry from the parking area to the canoe launch. But once you reach the river, the paddling is some of the best Buzzards Bay has to offer. Explore marshy islands and shorelines close to the reserve, or head downstream to visit spots like the Lloyd Center for the Environment or Demarest Lloyd State Park.
The Slocum’s River Reserve is home to a network of two miles of trails. They’re mostly flat and easy – perfect for all types of explorers. We recommend you allow at least an hour to enjoy the trails and the views. (Download trail map)
From the parking area on Horseneck Road, follow the marked trail east toward the river. This is a trail easement across private farmland, so please respect private property by staying on the trail.
Once you reach the woods, you can head in several directions. Turn left to explore the Sam Francis Trail, which loops through fields and offers great opportunities for birdwatching. Or turn left to walk south, where the best river views await. From Angelica’s Overlook, you can see across the sparkling Slocums River to Buzzards Bay and the Elizabeth Islands on a clear day.
For those seeking a more rigorous hike, head across Horseneck Road to the adjacent Dartmoor Farm Wildlife Management Area. This state-owned property is primarily managed for hunting, but it includes a 3.6-mile trail across farmland and through the woods.
Habitats & Wildlife
The Slocum’s River Reserve preserves more than 3,000 feet of salt marsh shoreline along the river’s edge. Here, you can watch for great blue herons wading in the shallows or ospreys flying high above the river in search of their next meal. Striped bass also school in the river in spring, so pack a fishing rod along with your kayak!
Up in the fields and oak forest, the Slocum’s River Reserve hosts a multitude of birds and woodland animals. Swallows perform aerobatic displays above the wildflowers, while small mammals hide among the tall grasses.
The Trustees preserve, for public use and enjoyment, properties of exceptional scenic, historic, and ecological value in Massachusetts. The 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.