The Burlington Conservation Commission is responsible for the management and protection of over 250 acres of permanently protected areas of natural open space known as Conservation Areas. While the primary purpose of these Conservation Areas is for the protection of natural resources, many of these areas are also accessible to the public for passive recreational activities.
Conservation Areas are monitored and maintained, in part, through the hard work of the Burlington Conservation Stewards, a group of dedicated volunteers.
Please note: Conservation staff shall approve and oversee any tree pruning and/or removal for the creation or maintenance of trails in Conservation areas.
Guidelines for Use of Burlington Conservation Areas
Please enjoy Burlington Conservation Areas through passive recreational activities such as hiking, bird watching, and picnicking.
Horseback riding, large-group outings, and camping are subject to Conservation Commission approval. Please contact the Conservation Department if you wish to pursue any of these activities in Conservation Areas.
Prohibited Items & Activities
There shall be no:
- Cutting of firewood
- Hunting or trapping
- Motorized vehicles of any kind
- Off-leash dogs
- Radios without headphones
- Removal of:
- Other material
Conservation Areas for Passive Recreation
- Little Brook Conservation Area (PDF) - 36 acres
Little Brook Conservation Area is the second largest conservation property in Burlington. Much of the area is steep, with low-lying wetlands in the western portion. Many marked and unmarked trails weave through the property and allow visitors to explore the extensive wetlands complex and the surrounding woods. Parking is easiest at Overlook Park, at the end of Edgemere Avenue, though access to the property from Overlook is down a fairly steep trail. Visitors can also access the park through a gate on Mountain Road, the parking lot at the end of McNamara Way (2 dedicated parking spaces but no trailhead), or the end of Glen Avenue.
- Marion Road Conservation Area (PDF) - 15 acres
This Conservation Area features a wonderfully diverse array of plant species, including the shagbark hickory. This species of hickory, Carya ovata, is not common in Burlington but these trees appear throughout this beautiful property. With wetlands and woodlands throughout, the trails here explore a variety of landscapes. Visitors to the Marion Road Conservation Area are encouraged to park in the dirt parking area on Bedford Street next to the Pine Haven Cemetery.
Follow the path alongside the gas line equipment and the cemetery to the heart of the property beyond. Access is also possible at the end of Marion Road or at the end of Evergreen Avenue.
Read a newspaper article by Mary Leach about this conservation area (PDF).
- Mill Pond Conservation Area (PDF) - 140 acres
The Mill Pond Conservation Area is our largest and most visited property. The 140-acre property surrounds the Mill Pond Reservoir and offers beautiful views of the landscape. The property contains numerous trails that wander through dry woodlands and near healthy wetlands and vernal pools. Visitors can park at the Water Treatment Plant on Winter Street or at the access point off of Town Line Road. There is also access at the end of Makechnie Road, the end of Hansen Avenue, and the end of Wellesley Avenue, though parking at those locations is difficult or prohibited. See bird sightings around Mill Pond.
- Pine Glen Conservation Area - 6 acres
This small, but diverse Conservation Area features a well-maintained trail with several stream crossings. This property has a little bit of everything and a short loop trail brings you through the expanse of woodlands, over the streams, and along the wetlands on site. Often used by the Pine Glen Elementary School classes for environmental education, this property is best visited outside of normal school hours. Visitors can park at the Pine Glen Elementary School and access the Conservation Area at the left-rear of the playing field.
- Sawmill Brook Conservation Area (PDF) - 27 acres
The Sawmill Brook Conservation Area features a patchwork of wetlands, dry woodlands, and meadow surrounding Sawmill Brook. There are several trails throughout the property that afford visitors the opportunity to experience these different habitat types. The historic Clapp's Mill Dam can be seen at this Conservation Area. Visitors can access this property on foot by walking down Sawmill Road or the trails located along the gas line easement from Erin Lane, from the gate on Mill Street, or from the Fox Hill School property.
Parking is available at the end of Sawmill Road, but the road is unimproved and may not be passable by most vehicles. Parking is also available at the Fox Hill School and there is one parking spot located outside the Mill Street gate.
The Sawmill Brook Conservation Area abuts open space at the Fox Hill School property. See the Trail Map of Fox Hill and Sawmill Area (PDF) of both areas, courtesy of Nick Latsis (2018 Eagle Scout project) and Aydin Khalifa (2022 Eagle Scout project).
Other Areas for Passive Recreation
- The Landlocked Forest - 250 acres
The Landlocked Forest is so named because of its location between Routes 62, 3, and 128 in Burlington, and conservation land in Bedford and Lexington. Burlington residents and others may access it from the parking lot on Turning Mill Road in Lexington. The property currently offers 13 miles of maintained trails. Check out the Friends of the Landlocked Forest. View Landlocked Forest bird sightings.
- Mary Cummings Park - 200 acres
Mary Cummings Park is one of the great public parks of Greater Boston. This over two hundred acre public park on the Burlington-Woburn border was created when the Boston City Council accepted Mary P.C. Cummings land in 1930 to be kept forever open as a public pleasure ground. For years the Friends of Mary Cummings Park fought to preserveit as a public park. Now the Trustees (formerly Trustees of Reservations) has begun the manage and restore the park: https://thetrustees.org/place/mary-cummings-park/
View recent bird sightings at Mary Cummings Park.
Conservation Areas Without Mapped Trails
- Chadwick Conservation Area - 4 acres
- Fairfax Conservation Area - less than 1 acre
- Forest Field Conservation Area - 11 acres
- Ipswich Conservation Area - 3 acres
- Longmeadow Brook Conservation Area - 2 acres
- Lubbers Brook Conservation Area - 5 acres
- Muller Road Conservation Area - 3 acres
- Rock Pond Brook Conservation Area - 3 acres
- Sandy Brook Conservation Area - 5 acres
- Vine Brook Conservation Area - 22 acres