The Beach Times

Where the Locals Go: Upper Mill Pond in Brewster
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Friday, January 15, 2021

photo of Mill Pond

Cape Cod is full of great places to spend your days, including the beaches, parks, trails, restaurants, and golf courses. You'll never run out of things to do on your vacation to the Cape.

However, if you're looking to spend a day living like a local, you might want to explore one of the region's off-the-beaten-path sections.

The area around Upper Mill Pond in Brewster provides such an experience, as it features about 875 acres of conservation land that's popular with hikers. The pond is also an excellent kayaking or fishing location, and there's plenty of parking to go around, too.

After dealing with crowds at some of Cape Cod's most famous destinations, take a day to yourself to unwind at this hidden gem between Old King's Highway and the Mid-Cape Highway in a secluded residential area in Brewster, Massachusetts.

Getting to the Pond

Upper Mill Pond is a large water body in a relatively secluded location. Getting there involves taking either Route 6 or Route 6A to the Brewster area.

Arriving from the south on Route 6, you'll get onto North Westgate Road in Harwich. This road will take you to the main parking area on the southern shores of Upper Mill Pond.

When coming from Route 6A in the north, you can turn onto Stony Brook Road on the west end of downtown Brewster and then onto Run Hill Road. This road will take you to the conservation area's parking lot.

As you arrive in the parking area, you'll see a gravel lot in a forested area. Parking here gives you direct access to some trails through the woods.

There's another nearby parking lot that's closer to the pond. However, this lot is far smaller, and you'll need a Brewster town beach sticker to use it.

This southern section of the pond is where most of the recreational activities take place, so it's where you'll want to begin your day.

Do Some Hiking

The trails in this area run through a region called the Punkhorn Parklands. Some paths are relatively secluded, so you'll have to know where you're going to reach them.

However, the Eagle Point Trails, which sit just west of the main gravel parking lot, are easily accessible and a relatively short walk.

These two paths cover about a mile of distance and end up at the bluff overlooking the pond. You'll pass a cranberry bog, too, and pass oak, pine, and huckleberry bushes along the way.

A series of trails begin at the far end of the main parking lot. Three of them, Calf Field Red, Calf Field Orange, and Calf Field Blue, head north to Calf Field Pond.

Other trails that begin in the same area include Quaking Bog Trail, Seymour Pond Trail, and the Boot Swap Trails. All of these trails head south into the woods, and you'll cross streams, pass ponds, and have all kinds of wildlife watching opportunities on your trek.

The paths through the woods are well-maintained, but you'll want to keep your bearings because you're heading into dense forests, and some of the trails aren't adequately marked.

There's a map before you enter the trails, and it's a good idea to take a picture, so you know where you are at all times.

Once you get out there, you can spend an entire day wandering the woods of Cape Cod and genuinely getting to know the area.

Head to the Pond

If you aren't into hiking through the woods, there's still reason to visit Upper Mill Pond. That's because you can swim, kayak, or fish there.

To swim, you can drive directly to the shore. Remember, parking here requires a beach sticker, but you can leave your car at the main lot and walk down, too. Parking is also extremely limited by the water.

Once you get to the water, you'll see a small beach. There isn't a lifeguard on duty, so be careful if you're swimming with young children. There are some docks in the water, but they're private, so you can't use them.

It's possible to fish from the shore at this location. Yellow perch are the dominant species in the pond, but there are also largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bullhead, and banded killifish. River herring also make seasonal appearances in the pond.

When looking to head out into the pond, kayaks are available for rent through the town of Brewster. There are kayaks right on the shore, but you'll have to call the number on the stand for access. Alternatively, Rail Trail Bike & Kayak will deliver kayaks and paddleboards to the pond for a fee.

Your Day Away From the Crowds

Cape Cod can be overwhelming in the summer because it seems as though everyone is trying to visit the same locations. Many beaches get incredibly busy, and you might find yourself looking for a less-crowded activity for a day or two.

Upper Mill Pond isn't the type of place that will attract hundreds of visitors on a given day. However, the surrounding conservation area provides a relaxing escape from the Cape's bustle and provides a quiet day for you and your family.

Brewster Upper Mill Pond

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