Every year, thousands of people come to Lynn Woods to enjoy nature among its trees, trails, historic structures, and scenic reservoirs. Its forest features a rocky ledge, evergreen and deciduous trees, streams, and wetlands.
It is the second largest municipal park in greater Boston and one of the oldest in the country. It is home to well over 100 species of birds, including hawks and owls, which live in or seasonally frequent its forests. Red-tail foxes and deer are commonly seen.
“These 2,100 acres are getting more use than it's ever had in its history,” said Dan Small, Lynn Woods Park Ranger. “We have 40 miles of trails and it used to be in the winter, nobody came here. Now there are always cars in the parking lot.”
In 2023, the City of Lynn, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and Greenbelt completed a decades-long effort to ensure all of Lynn Woods is permanently protected from development through a conservation restriction that will be held by DCR and Greenbelt.
“What a wonderful place Lynn Woods is - a huge, green treasure for the residents of Lynn and all of us in the region!” said Kate Bowditch, Greenbelt president.
The history of the area spans thousands of years. Indigenous people’s sites and trails have been documented. English settlers used it as a community woodlot.
Now, its forest features spectacular trails for nature walks, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, horseback riding, running, and hiking.
“(It) is popular among the mountain-biking community, and the bouldering community, a type of rock climbing,” according to the Friends of Lynn Woods. “Over the years, Lynn Woods has established itself as one of the go-to places for the sport (of bouldering) in New England. The area is widely considered as one of the best places in the United States to do freeride mountain biking.”
The Stone Tower at Burrill Hill is the dominant architectural landmark. It is 45-feet tall and Lynn Woods’ highest point.
Many visitors like to explore Dungeon Rock. It features a cave explored by a man who claimed to be directed by ghosts to search for a pirate treasure.
The story starts in the mid-1600s, when a pirate named Thomas Veale supposedly hid in a cave with his loot.
In 1852, Hiram Marble bought the surrounding land.
“Marble was a spiritual man, and he always believed that he was receiving instructions (to search for the treasure) from the ghost of Thomas Veale himself,” according to the World of Caves. “He held séances to get the digging directions.”
Marble and his son Edwin dug until their deaths but never found the treasure. Today, curious visitors still wonder if it is there.