This trailhead serves as the western-most access point to Head of the Plains. Head of the Plains is a vast corridor of conservation land, jointly owned by the Land Bank and the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, totaling more than 1,000 acres. It contains sandplain grasslands and heathlands, shrub thickets, wetlands, and woodland habitats. Visitors can enjoy miles of hiking trails, beautiful views across Clark’s Cove, and spectacular sunsets along the shoreline.
This area was part of the “common land” set aside by Nantucket’s original shareholders for farming and grazing sheep and cows. Once these agrarian practices ceased in the early 1900s, grasses, sedges, wildflowers, and low shrubs adapted to growing in formerly disturbed soils and, consequently, became dominant. Some of the best examples of sandplain grassland on Nantucket are now found in Head of the Plains, due in part to its historic agricultural use. This unique habitat provides nesting and hunting habitat for northern harriers, an endangered bird of prey. The area is also home to rare plant species such as New England blazing star, sandplain blue-eyed grass, and bushy rockrose. Today, this ecosystem is maintained through a combination of habitat management strategies including routine mowing and prescribed burns.
Parking is available at the trailhead, located just southeast of Massasoit Bridge on Massasoit Bridge Road, as well as a short walk away at 48 South Cambridge Street. From Town, drive west on Madaket Road. After passing the intersection of Madaket and Eel Point Roads, drive 2.8 miles and turn left onto South Cambridge Street. Drive 0.3 miles and turn left into the dirt parking lot at 48 South Cambridge Street. Alternatively, continue straight across Massasoit Bridge and take an immediate left o
Land Bank trails are marked by the post shown here. Most Land Bank trails are created as loops and if you follow the arrows—the trail should return you to where you began.