With an extensive network of trails totaling over 10 miles, Ravenswood Park in Gloucester, Massachusetts, offers a variety of of dog friendly hiking options. Trails range from wide carriage paths that are perfect for a leisurely stroll, to more moderate hikes along the boulder strewn and wetlands trails. On the day we visited, we hiked the 2 mile Ledge Hill Trail (orange blaze markers) with side trip on the Boulder Field Trail (red blazes) to explore the ginormous boulders left behind by the glaciers. We then returned to the parking area by way of an easy walk along Old Salem Road (a carriage path), with a brief stop to view the historic marker for "hermit" Mason Walton, who wrote about these woods in the 1880s. On this 600 acres property you can also find remnants of Colonial cellar holes and Native American burial mounds. Other points of interest include a scenic overlook with obstructed views of Gloucester Harbor and a boardwalk through through the Great Magnolia Swamp, to see native Sweetbay Magnolias.
Dogs are allowed off-leash at Ravenswood Park with some restrictions. The rules require that they be leashed in the parking lot and for the first 100 yards when entering the park. The Trustees also request that dogs be leashed when passing others on the trail. Please note that in the Vernal Pond areas dogs are required to be on-leash to protect the Spotted Salamander eggs. The trails are clearly marked and easy to follow, and there are signs alerting hikers where dogs must be leashed to protect the wildlife. At the main entrance you'll also find a hose perfect for washing off muddy paws after their adventure.
Parking is very limited for this popular dog walking area. There is a small parking lot at the trailhead, and on-street parking is allowed. However, we found a much larger parking lot nearby at Magnolia Woods Recreational Area, with a trailhead for Ravenswood Park across the street. If parking at Magnolia Woods, please be respectful of the people attending soccer games.