Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

Just twenty miles west of Boston lies an oasis for wildlife – Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). Roughly 85 percent of the refuge’s 3,850 acres is comprised of valuable freshwater wetlands stretching along 12 miles of the Concord and Sudbury Rivers. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service protects and manages Great Meadows as nesting, resting, and feeding habitat for wildlife, with special emphasis on migratory birds. The diversity of plant and animal life visible from refuge trails provides visitors with excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing and nature study. A great diversity of birds has been recorded at Great Meadows NWR; an annotated list of over 220 species is available in a separate brochure.

In 1944, Samuel Hoar, a hunter donated the first 250 acres of land that now makes up the refuge. The refuge now consists of two units of land in seven historically significant towns – Billerica, Bedford, Carlisle, Concord, Lincoln, Sudbury, and Wayland.

Contact Information

Monsen Road Concord, MA 01742

Phone: 978-443-4661


Debbi Slavin   March 26, 2024
This is a great easy hike/walk with nice views of water , wildlife and birds.
Suresh Reginald   November 14, 2023
Underrated four-season gem in the Western burbs of Boston. Parking can be challenging sometimes, but the walks and views are always worth it.
Alejandra Lambarri   October 15, 2023
The colours of fall star to show, and the crear skys mede the walk relaxing and amazing
Jeff M   August 23, 2023
Wildlife refuge in Concord. Tiny parking area requires a small fee. Walking trail just short of 2 miles goes around a large pond. The best part of the trail goes across a dike over the center of the pond. The patient and quiet observer will see an extraordinary variety of animals. I have personally seen swans, herons, muskrats, ducks, geese, catfish, hawks, frogs, redwing blackbirds, butterflies.
Ravi Kumar   August 8, 2023
Nice place for a hike. If walking on a humid day don't forget your bug spray. Could easily spend couple of hours bird watching and walking along the trails. Recently they have added restrooms so it is good.
Katherine O'Malley   August 6, 2023
Beautiful walk/hike. Very easy, well maintained trails. The observation tower is nice but the trail is even better. Beautiful wildflowers everywhere in the summer!
Clara Breen   August 5, 2023
Absolutely spectacular field of thousands of yellow lotus flowers!!! What a gem of a place. In bloom late July.
Vittorio Bucchieri   July 9, 2023
Very beautiful, great variety of bird songs and native plants.
Roy Shilkrot   May 28, 2023
They're called "Great" for a reason! We always have a great time there. If it wasn't for the airplanes from nearby Hanscom field, this would be the perfect park for wildlife viewing in the Boston area. We see a lot of very cool animals like birds of prey, water fowl, snakes and beavers. The walk path is very easy. Plenty of places to stop. Bring your binoculars! And telephoto lens too. Look out for the animals in the bush near the trail. The water will have swans and great herons, and turtles basking in the sun on a log. Look up and see osprey and maybe a bald eagle!
Leslie Mercier   March 29, 2023
Lovely casual walk through a mix of open and wooded areas (depending on your route). The parking lot is small and was very busy during my visit but worth the wait. The tower offers a wonderful viewing angle of the water.
Mark Alston-Follansbee   February 24, 2023
Except for the fact the photographers got a ban on dogs this is a great walk with birds and big sky
Derek Rodenbeck   January 16, 2023
I love coming here! Few things you should know before coming below: 1. No dogs allowed, sorry! 2. There is a automated fee station. Seems to be 4 dollars per car, there were other fee options for seniors, people with passes, and military. 3. The entry is a little hard to find given it is nested between two houses. You will drive down a single lane road. Be prepared for oncoming cars coming out. 4. Parking is limited. Something about this place is such a stress reliever. A perfect place to come on a solo walk or run, or bring the family. There is a small tower you can climb to overlook the water. Well worth the visits. Highly recommend on a sunrise or sunset.
Daniel S.   December 27, 2022
The walk was crisp and clear. I think it was too crisp for my younger son. I thought the starkness was beautiful. I need to come back with binoculars
Charles I   November 29, 2022
Beautiful late afternoon walk around the marsh. Parking was a challenge, but only required a few minutes of waiting. Portable restroom available.
lav kumar   August 14, 2022
Nice view from the tower. Ample parking. bike trail exist. Be mindful of nature around and cleanliness
Kenny Zebrow   July 26, 2022
Fantastic throughout the year, but especially in the fall. There is nothing like nature to keep me grounded and in perspective. Everywhere you see is a photograph-worthy scene.
guy massa   June 16, 2022
This is a great spot when there's not a bunch of people there. So.much nature and beauty
suzanne lalumiere   May 21, 2022
Love the expanse of water there and the wildlife. Go there to escape my stress and always nice people there , interested in animals and nature
Patrick Atwood   May 1, 2022
Lots of people but it was a beautiful day. Saw Great Blue Herons, swans, Canada Geese, palm warblers, and lots of Redwing blackbirds. There were quite a few turtles in the water.
Katharina Becker   November 12, 2021
We love the Great Meadows. The family has been going here for over 40 years. We have had a great time learning about and observing nature here with the various generations of the family. I am torn though, as more and more visitors are coming there and that should be a good thing. However it is getting crowded. The Hanscom Field Airport seems to have more and noisier traffic. Also as the neighborhood around the refuge is changing and getting closer to the refuge, the more stressed the wildlife is getting. I don't know how much longer I can bear to come here. To remain a 'refuge' the buffers to this wonderful resource should be re-evauated, likewise the visitor numbers.
Health Enthusiast   November 10, 2021
Really torn about sharing by best kept secret: it's a big lake with a path in the middle and around one half, adjacent to a river. It takes about 1h to do the loop at a leisurely pace and there's an observation tower 3 story high with a coin-operated telescope.
Doug D   November 9, 2021
Fantastic all year round but particularly in the fall. Nothing like nature to ground to me and keep things in perspective. Everywhere you look is a frameable picture shot.
Emily Coombs   November 8, 2021
Not only is this area beautiful well maintained (with a tower, boardwalks and trails), but it also has other connected hiking areas if you are interested in a longer walk.
Joe Sestrich   September 17, 2021
A fun spot to walk and watch the wildlife. We watched a heron fishing from 10 feet away. He was nonchalant about our presence.
vicky landry   September 7, 2021
One of my very favorite places to take a peaceful walk in nature. Top of the line views, tons of gorgeous wild life. You truly cannot go wrong here! Everyone I've taken with me has loved it.
Syed Rizvi   August 24, 2021
We've been living in Lexington for nearly 2 decades and about 5-6 years ago, me and my wife were told about the Great Meadows. Now we all as a family often visit the Great Meadows for long walks and to enjoy the outdoors.
Hong Pua   August 22, 2021
Miles of easy trails even for my elderly mom. Had a monarch butterfly that was leading us into the forest, lovely animals...
Lee Minardi   August 13, 2021
A fairly secluded spot in a suburban area. Good for an easy walk or bike ride through via the Bay Circuit Trail.
George Souza   August 4, 2021
Do photography here. Always some interesting birds and mammals to photograph
Syed Rizvi   July 5, 2021
We've been living in Living for nearly 2 decades and about 5-6 years ago, me and my wife were told about the Great Meadows. Now we all as a family often visit the Great Meadows for long walks and to enjoy the outdoors.
Te Liu   June 25, 2021
2021-06-25 drizzling, a pleasant walk. From the parking lot, going over the water only right side (clockwise) of Dike Trail is a loop. The other direction leads to private properties.
Rahul Joshi   May 15, 2021
Super cool meadow and wildlife (read:birds) refuge so near the city. Well maintained trails around the wetlands. Many birds, especially red wing blackbirds are plenty, so are musk rats. Parking is very limited (about 12 cars) and a small spill over lot for another 5. Single lane road for car, and same for entry and exit. I was worried how to manage if another car comes in in opposite direction but didn't have to actually face that. It says 4$ fee so we dropped cash in the box but couldn't find mechanism to link that payment to our car, so assumed it was an honor system.
Michelle   May 11, 2021
There is ALWAYS something to see here, whether it's flowers, birds, turtles, various critters or a nice walk around the water you can find it here.
Chris T   May 10, 2021
Pretty nice place with a lot of birds and other wildlife. 4 dollar fee which you place in an envelope and deposit yourself. Nicely kept walking trails that had holes patched recently with gravel.
J Geise   May 1, 2021
8 a.m. in a canoe with a light rainfall. Seeing whitetail deer and ducks. Serene.
Christophe Leroy   April 26, 2021
Delightful. We met many red winged black birds (a mew favorite), musk rats, and even a big turtle
Kai Chase   April 11, 2021
great beautiful place with so much wildlife! very fun to see all the red winged blackbirds!!
PEI YU CHEN   March 21, 2021
We can hear the birds singing wherever we go! Amazing experience : )
Rodolfo Archbold   February 20, 2021
Went cross country skiing. We had a great time. Also nice place for walking, snow showing
Arthur Johnson   January 31, 2021
We love this place! There's so many types of wildlife. Last time there we even saw a juvenile bald eagle.
Gaurav Khanna   January 10, 2021
Nice walking path with lots to explore and observe. Plenty of muskrats and birds to see as well as small planes landing and taking off nearby. The path can be muddy at times so waterproof shoes are good to have.
Rong Li   November 7, 2020
always beautiful and full of surprises. my local favorite during this pandemic.
Bryn Dews   October 24, 2020
A hidden gem. Beautiful little nature preserve smack in the middle of a suburban neighborhood. Gets very crowded on weekends... Go early! They need to fix the sign by the Concord River... It's incorrectly labeled as the Assabet!!
Eva Schicker   September 26, 2020
This National Wildlife Refuge Park is a beautiful and hidden gem in Concord. Trails, easily walkable, lead around gorgeous smaller and larger ponds, where one can observe water wildlife in abundance. There is a parking lot by the entrance of the park with limited (about 20?) parking spaces. The entrance to the parking space is very difficult to spot off the neighborhood road, and poorly marked. Look for it on a good map.
Bryn Dews   September 20, 2020
A hidden gem. Beautiful little nature preserve snack in the middle of a suburban neighborhood. Gets very crowded on weekends... Go early! They need to fix the sign by the Concord River... It's incorrectly labeled as the Assabet!!
Junu Hada   September 13, 2020
Very easy and short hike, suitable for kids.
Rajiv Kanaujia   August 29, 2020
Visit to see yellow lotus in late July thru mid August
Susan LaBaire   August 18, 2020
You always see something different everytime you go, whether you drive or paddle up the river.
Kamesh Chidambaram   August 16, 2020
Great place for a walk with a few different trek options. The watchtower gives a nice view of the wetlands. The highlight is definitely the view of thousands of lotus flowers in the summer! Parking is limited so pick a quieter day or time.
Derrick Duplessy   July 13, 2020
Beautiful wetlands. Nice alternative to Walden Pond for a walk.
김은성   July 12, 2020
Kids love this place. We saw many birds, dragonflies, water snake, frog and mink? Or weesles? We enjoyed all the nature and animals.
Liane J.   August 3, 2019
This incredible meadow was beyond belief. It stretched the length of four football fields. The flowers were all a creamy white. The length of flowers stay...
Newt J.   June 23, 2019
I've been coming to Concord since I was a kid, enjoying the town and having regular visits with the Walden area. Today I branched out into Great Meadows. It...
Atul Nautiyal   June 22, 2019
A very calm and quite place for hiking. Beautiful scenery, vegetation and wildlife. Trails are easy with benches for taking rest and enjoy the nature.
Don P.   August 10, 2016
Beautiful natural wildlife preserve located 5 mins from the Minute Man National Historic Park. Great Meadows is 3800 acres of protected freshwater wetlands...
Elizabeth P.   April 26, 2012
This is a wonderful place to go if you're looking to get out of the city for awhile with lots of wildlife, flat trails around the lake (including one that...