This place is one of our favorites. It’s an easily accessible, beautiful spot to have a picnic, see some animals, climb big rocks, visit the community gardens, sled (behind the old foundation), make forts out of sticks, and visit the “dragon” cave. It’s jam packed with things to do, but it’s a manageable size and is easy to navigate. This would be one of our top spots for introducing toddlers and younger children to hiking.
In late spring/early summer 2021, Girl Scout Reilly Clark from Troop 65049 designed Sheep Pasture scavenger hunts as her Gold Award project. There are four levels, from easy to difficult. The hunts can be downloaded here. However, to help you on your quest, you can also get Adventure Packs at the Ames Public Library in Easton. Each bag has laminated copies of the scavenger hunt, magnifying glasses, a compass, a field guide, tweezers, and a flashlight. We had a great time hunting! Great job, Reilly! Watch a video of our scavenger hunt experience here or read about it in our blog here.
HOW TO GET THERE
Natural Resources Trust Sheep Pasture
307 Main St.
North Easton, MA 02356
You can enter in two places. We usually take the entrance that is just past the brown Tudor-style house. Be careful–it’s very easy to miss! We park by the old stone foundation. If there is no parking there, you can continue further in and look for parking by the red buildings.
TRAIL DESCRIPTION & MAP:
There are so many possibilities here! NRT, for our families, is less a place to hike and more a place to play. We start by climbing the stone wall (it looks a bit like a foundation) near the parking lot. The kids like to play hide and seek and climb the walls. Do be careful, however, as there is a pretty sheer drop off one side of the wall! There is a pine tree nearby that is great for climbing. Sap alert! 😉
After playing on the wall, we head down the Ames Parker Loop, towards the fields with the pavilion on our right. We keep going straight on the Ames Parker Loop until we get to a path that heads to the right. Here we take a quick detour to look for the old root cellar that is where Toothless the dragon from How to Train Your Dragon lives…at least that’s what our kids thought when they were little! (Dragon hunting was a good way to keep them walking…) We usually continue on that trail just a bit further until we see the bridge over a stream. We stop here to look for fish, frogs, turtles, etc., Then we double back and head right to get back on the Ames Parker Loop. When you get to the community gardens, turn left onto the Rhododendron Trail and follow the it into the woods. After the NRT shed, there are some great boulders ahead! A bit further down, on the left, is a sign for Whale Rock. We turn left here and hike just a short distance to see the rock that looks like a whale. Then we backtrack and play in the forts made out of sticks. After we’re done playing we continue down the trail back to the parking lot. From there, you can go see the chickens or you can head right down the road to the animal pens. They have cows, goats, and sheep. This sounds like a lot, but it’s a very short loop–probably about 3/4 of a mile. It just happens to be packed with things to do and see!
Rated on a scale of 1 (difficult/not good) to 5 (easy/awesome!)
P – Parking & Access – 4 (there are two places to park, and, although it can get busy here, we’ve always found a spot)
I – Interest Level – 4 (fun stick forts, a “dragon” den, beautiful rhododendrons, community gardens, stone wall, and boulders to climb)
N – Navigation – 4 (well-marked trails)
T – Terrain – 4 (fairly flat; gravel; The Ames Parker Loop could be accessed with a stroller or wheelchair)
The P.I.N.T. Score represents our opinions on this trail. It reflects our experience, perception, and physical health. Therefore, the scores are not intended to be expert advice, nor will they be accurate for everyone: we cannot judge what may or may not be appropriate for each individual’s different abilities. Consult a physician or medical expert before attempting any new physical activity. Hiking contains inherent hazards, so hike at your own risk. You should always make your own decisions about what level of physical activity is appropriate for you and your family. Weather and other factors may affect trail conditions. Remember, trail conditions may change suddenly and drastically at any time.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- Our kids love, love, love the old stone wall at the parking lot. There is also a big open field perfect for running around, playing frisbee, or whatever.
2. The dragon’s den is a fun place to hunt for the elusive species!
3. The community gardens can be a fun educational experience as you see what is grown there. I once had a man offer me wildflowers from his garden as he was harvesting!
4. The stick forts here are epic–probably the most developed ones we’ve seen in the area. My kids have hours of fun here!
5. Whale rock is fun to climb
6. We love the animals!
7. The wood carvings…we’ve found two in the Sheep Pasture. We aren’t sure if there are more. But see if you can find these:
8. There is a “secret” spot near the parking lot. Look for the sign in the little clearing across from the stone walls. There is a little trail by the sign that leads up a small hill. From up there, you have a view of the road into the Sheep Pasture. It’s just a fun little spot that most people don’t notice.
Here are some other pictures from our morning at the Sheep Pasture!