Located south of the Ballardvale Village and along the northern banks of the Shawsheen River, the Pole Hill Reservation is a 34 acre reservation with an interesting history.
Known historically as “The Grove”, Pole Hill was once home to a hilltop dance hall, a running track, a picnic area, a boat launch, camps along the river, and a refreshment stand. “The Grove” was also a boating destination – reached by the Shawsheen River from Ballardvale – and reachable by rail from the Boston and Maine Railroad, which had a station to access the area as well. Today, this active history of “The Grove” has been largely enveloped by nature, and it is hard to believe that the area has been anything but forest.
A series of color-coded walking paths – marked by trail markers and signs – traverse Pole Hill. The heavily forested hillsides are covered with mature trees, with white pine and red oak dominating the canopy. The vistas through the tall white pines along the Wood Trail are particularly striking. Several scenic viewpoints are present along the Shawsheen River as well, as are a couple of riverfront picnic tables that are perfect for a mid-hike snack.
The Pole Hill Reservation has two primary access points. The access point with the most parking lies at the end of the cul-de-sac of Pole Hill Drive off of Tewksbury Street. Access is between the two residences at #16 and #17 Pole Hill Drive – please respect private property – and is clearly marked with signs. The second access is via the trailhead (clearly marked with Conservation signs at a gate) at the intersection of Pole Hill Drive and Tewksbury Street.