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Spencer Trails, Parks & Recreational Resources

Spencer, Massachusetts, is located twelve miles west of Worcester on Route 9. Once a thriving farming and industrial community, Spencer retains its identity as a vibrant and prosperous small town. The downtown area boasts antique and other specialty shops, the historic district contains houses dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, and the town’s trails, parks, waterways, and woodlands offer plentiful opportunities for outdoor recreation.  Spencer is well known for its annual agricultural fair during Labor Day weekend. It is also rich in natural resources and manmade facilities that make for an enjoyable outdoors experience year round. Residents and visitors are encouraged to explore Spencer’s recreational treasures and experience for themselves the beautiful outdoors in Spencer, Massachusetts.


2016 10 17 Spencer Depot Trail Ph. 1 Finish Photos 053_220.gif
DEPOT RAIL TRAIL is a 2 mile walking trail along an abandoned railroad bed that once provided rail service to downtown Spencer. It runs from South Spencer Road to Chestnut Street. There is a trail designated parking area is at the southwest trailhead (65 S. Spencer Rd) just before the railroad bridge and Lyford Road. Also, public parking in the Elm Street downtown parking lot is within 2 blocks northeast of the Chestnut Street trailhead.  Click here for a Spencer Trails and Recreational Map

2016 10 17 Spencer Depot Trail Ph. 1 Finish Photos 024_220.gifDepot Rail Trail Phase 1 Completion Notice: We are pleased to announce that the Phase 1 Depot Rail Trail Restoration and Improvement project has been completed and the trail is OPEN to the public.  It is beautiful !!!  (Link to: Scenic Photos 2016 Rail Trail Phase 1 Improvements).  Please check it out and enjoy a wonderful day out there.  We would very much like to thank the DCR Recreational Trails Program (RTP) for the Phase 1 Grant and thank you very much to a host of workers and local volunteer organizations and individuals including the Spencer Trailways, the Snowbirds, the Spencer Conservation Commission, our contractor E.M. Thibault Excavation, Inc. and the Spencer Highway Department for all their hard work and exceptional efforts.  The Phase 1 work included major drainage improvements, vegetative clearing/cleanup, new trail head gates, regrading and shaping of the entire trail, the installation, grading and compacting of several hundred tons of millings and much more.  The improvements are overwhelming. Future goals and objectives are to continue the restoration and begin Phase 2 accessibility enhancements in 2017. At our May 2015 Town Meeting the citizens of Spencer voted to set aside $25,000.00 into a Capital Account dedicated for use on the trail with the goal of obtaining additional DCR Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grant funds to complete Phase 2.  In August 2016 we received notice that we were awarded the Phase 2 grant by DCR and the RTP in the amount of $50,000. Again, special thanks to the DCR RTP and the many volunteers and Town staff that have assisted with these efforts and especially the recently completed portions of the Phase 1 project. (Left Photo - Depot Rail Trail Bicyclist - October 2016, photo by Steven J. Tyler)

1162016_124346_0.pngMIDSTATE TRAIL is a scenic footpath extending 92 miles across central Massachusetts, from the New Hampshire border on Mt. Watatic to the Rhode Island border in Douglas State Park. Marked with yellow triangles, the trail enters Spencer from Oakham above the western shore of Browning Pond, just past a wellknown landmark known as Sampson’s Pebble. The trail exits into Charlton through the Four Chimneys Recreation Area on Borkum Road.

1162016_124914_3.pngSIBLEY AND WARNER FARMS in Spencer. The 350 acre Sibley and Warner Farms in Spencer is located between Greenville Street and Main Street (Route 9) and is permanently protected by a conservation partnership that includes the Mass Audubon, Greater Worcester Land Trust, Common Ground Land Trust, Town of Spencer, and several agencies of the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. The property offers great conservation value: fields, upland forests, and a variety of wetlands with diverse, high-quality wildlife habitat; acres of rolling hayfields on prime agricultural soils; many opportunities for recreation; and scenic views from Route 9 and many of the interior trails. The Mid-State Trail passes through the property on its way from Rhode Island to New Hampshire, and woods roads and trails offer great opportunities for hiking, nature study, and other pursuits. The end result is that Mass Audubon owns the southern 25 acres of the property referred to as Sibley Farm Meadow, where parking and an orientation area is located, which will also become the new main entrance to Mass Audubon’s adjacent Burncoat Pond Wildlife Sanctuary.  The remainder is owned and managed by the Greater Worcester Land Trust, a fine regional trust that will manage the property for a variety of uses including agriculture, forestry, and compatible recreation.  All of the property is subject to permanent restrictions held by our partners that ensure that the land will never be developed and will always be open to the public to enjoy. The Sibley acquisition is a key piece in an exciting, emerging open space mosaic.  With its acquisition, a 600-acre natural area is now protected east of Greenville Street that includes our existing Mass Audubon sanctuary and Town of Leicester conservation land.  The state grant that provided major funding for the Sibley property also provides funding so that the Department of Conservation and Recreation, with Mass Audubon’s help, could acquire 225 acres that links the Sibley property to the nearby Spencer State Forest.  


[Link]Sibley Farms Trail Map

SPENCER SNOWBIRDS SNOWMOBILE CLUB, a private organization, maintains a network of snowmobile trails throughout the town, crossing both public and private property.  For more information contact the Spencer Snowbirds Snowmobile Club. Snowbirds Home Page


BEMIS MEMORIAL PARK, located on a knoll on the north side of Route 9 just west of the Seven Mile River, commemorates Samuel Bemis, the first permanent European settler of Spencer, and Captain Edmund Bemis, who served in the French and Indian War. Designated a state roadside rest area, the small park contains monuments and two Parrott guns (cannons) used in the Civil War. Google Directions and Map

BUCK HILL DAM & CONSERVATION CENTER consists of 128 acres of the Camp Marshall 4-H Center. Located in north Spencer on McCormick Road, Buck Hill features nature trails and a 10 acre fish pond. Google Directions and Map
1162016_125212_0.pngBURNCOAT POND WILDLIFE SANCTUARY, a 64 acre parcel purchased by the Massachusetts Audubon Society in 2006, includes woods, a small pond, and trails. It is accessible from Greenville Street and also from the Midstate Trail near the Spencer-Leicester town line.Google Directions and Map


CAMP MARSHALL WORCESTER COUNTY 4-H CENTER, located at 92 McCormick Road, encompasses approximately three hundred acres of pastures, woods, and ponds. Established on the site of the former Civilian Conservation Corps and National Youth Administration camp in 1945, Camp Marshall is a traditional camp featuring swimming, fishing, horseback riding, and barnyard and nature programs. Google Directions and Map

FOUR CHIMNEYS RECREATION AREA is a 200 acre wildlife management area managed by the Commonwealth Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Located on Borkum Road, a designated scenic road, Four Chimneys is traversed by a section of the Midstate Trail. Google Directions and Map

SPENCER STATE FOREST / HOWE STATE PARK, is a scenic 965 acre recreational area offering hiking, canoeing, fishing, and picnicking, as well as cross country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter. It contains a fieldstone monument marking the birthplace of Eilas Howe (inventor of the sewing machine) and the original stone doorsteps of the house. The park is located on Howe Pond Road, off Route 31 south of Route 9. Google Directions and Map

ISAAC PROUTY PARK, located on Main Street near the old David Prouty High School, was a gift to the town from Isaac Lothrop Prouty, a nephew of Isaac Prouty, a prominent boot manufacturer. The park was presented to the town in 1905 and laid out with walkways, trees, and shrubs. On Patriot’s Day in 1911, the town honored the 319 Spencer men who had served in the Civil War by erecting a Soldiers Monument in the park.  Google Directions and Map

LUTHER HILL PARK, which borders Lake Whittemore in the center of town, is a 14 acre recreational area with a pine grove, picnic tables, play ground, skateboard park, and disc golf course (donated and installed by the Spencer Lions Club). Named for judge, businessman, and civic leader Luther Hill, who donated the land to the town in 1888, the park is located at the end of Park Street off of Route 9. Swimming is not allowed. Google Directions and Map

MOOSE HILL WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA, managed by the Commonwealth Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, is a 560 acre property that straddles the towns of Paxton, Leicester, and Spencer. There is a levy (crossed by the Midstate Trail) and a small reservoir created in the 1960s for flood control. Spencer access is on Moose Hill Road. From Route 9, follow Donnelly Road to Donnelly Cross Road. Google Directions and Map

O’GARA PARK originated in 1886, when the Spencer Baseball Association leased approximately eight acres at the end of Water Street for a baseball park. Eight years later, businessman and civic leader John O’Gara purchased the property for use as baseball and circus grounds. The town purchased the property in 1934, and many baseball, softball, and youth football teams play there today. The park’s historic wooden grandstand, constructed in 1931, is one of only three in the nation.  Google Map and Directions

POWDER MILL PARK, on the southwest corner of Meadow Street (Route 31) and Smithville Road, takes its name from mills that made gunpowder along the nearby Seven Mile River. It contains playgrounds, picnic tables, and cookout facilities. Google Directions and Map

RALPH WARREN PARK is a small nature preserve featuring woodland trails. Located on Wire Village Road, across from the Seven Mile River and historic mill sites, the park was named for former Conservation Commissioner Ralph Warren. It was dedicated in 1978 by the U.S. Young Adult Conservation Corps. Google Directions and Map

VIETNAM MEMORIAL PARK, located on South Spencer Road beside the South Spencer School, was the first of its kind in the nation. Dedicated on April 27, 1975, it pays tribute to the three Spencer men who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.  Google Map and Directions


TURKEY HILL BROOK flows from Paxton into Spencer in the northeast corner of town. Dams were erected along the brook to power the wire mills that dotted this area, but the only remaining dam is the one that forms Thompson Pond. The brook joins the Seven Mile River northeast of Pine Grove Cemetery. Google Directions and Map

THE SEVEN MILE RIVER originates in Rutland and was dammed to form Browning Pond. It merges with Turkey Hill Brook and connects to the Quaboag River in East Brookfield. Seven miles from Brookfield, the river served as a landmark when Brookfield was the only settlement between Worcester and the Connecticut Valley. Google Directions and Map

CRANBERRY RIVER flows from Charlton and was dammed to form Cranberry Meadow Pond in the southeast corner of town and dammed again to form Howe Pond at Howe State Park. It joins the Seven Mile River near Route 9. Google Directions and Map


BROOKS POND, located primarily in North Brookfield, was created by damming the Five Mile River. A favorite with canoeists and kayakers, the pond has a small beach that is open to the public but not staffed by lifeguards. It is located on Brooks Pond Road, which forks off Northwest Road off Route 31.  Google Directions and Map


BROWNING POND, created to power a nearby sawmill, is located on Browning Pond Road off Route 31. It offers boating and fishing. Google Directions and Map

CRANBERRY MEADOW POND, created to power a nearby shoe peg factory and gristmill, is located on Cranberry Meadow Road. There is limited fishing from the shore. Google Directions and Map

HOWE POND in Howe State Park was created to provide water power for the mills of the Howe family. In recent years it has become unsuitable for swimming, but fishing is still allowed. It is located on Howe Park Road off Route 31.  Google Directions and Map


STILES RESERVOIR was created to provide water power for the mills at Rochdale and North Oxford. Located on Chickering Road, there is limited fishing from the shore.Google Directions and Map


SUGDEN RESERVOIR, located off of Paxton Road, was created to provide a “reserve” water supply for the wire mills of Richard Sugden, a Spencer industrialist and philanthropist. While most of the shoreline is privately owned, shore access is available near the dam. Small boats can be launched from a gravel ramp off Donnelly Cross Road at the northeast corner of the lake. From Route 9, follow Donnelly Road to Donnelly Cross Road. Google Directions and Map


THOMPSON POND was originally created to run a sawmill and later expanded by Richard Sugden for his wire mills in Upper and Lower Wire Village. It is located on Thompson Pond Road and offers limited fishing from the shore. Directions and Map


LAKE WHITTEMORE, Spencer’s only natural lake, borders the north end of Luther Hill Park. The Town Beach is accessed through Luther Hill Park. There is no public boat access, but fishing is permitted from along the shore.  Google Directions and Map



Town of Spencer, 157 Main Street, Spencer, MA 01562 (508) 885-7500
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