Directions to top-rope climbing areas

  1. Directions to top-rope climbing areas
    1. Black and White Rocks
    2. Castle Rocks
    3. Chelmsford Lyme Quarry
    4. College Rock
    5. Den Rock
    6. Lantern Rock
    7. Hammond Pond
    8. Hardy Mountain/Red Rocks
    9. Nahant Sea Cliffs
    10. Route 1 Quarry
    11. Mt. Spickett, Burrill Hill Tower, and Johnson Crag and Boulders
    12. Stage Fort Park
    13. Waitts Mountain Park
    14. General Notes

Black and White Rocks

East Border Road, Malden. From Boston, I93 north, take exit 33 (Rte. 28 north). Right on Elm to rotary. Right on Highland Ave. after 1/4 mile. Left on East Border Rd. Cross Fellsway East at light, park on Woodland Rd.

Left through gate on rough dirt road opposite Woodland. Up hill past microwave tower visible on right. Past hill before road branches right on faint path to the base of north facing crag. (BBD)

From Rte. 128, I93 south, take exit 33, around rotary, over I93, and as above.

Castle Rocks

Farm St, Saugus. From Rte. 1 north, left (northwest) on Main St., Saugus. Cross Lynn Fells Parkway, 1 mile to Farm St., Wakefield, at high voltage transmission line crossing, park along road.

Walk right along right side of transmission lines. Past swampy area on right, right on faint path to cliffs on left. (BBD)

From Rte. 128, south on Montrose Ave., left (west) on Water St., right on Farm St., and as above.

Chelmsford Lyme Quarry

Rte. 110, 1 mile west of Chelmsford Center. From Rte. 495 south, take the Rte. 110 exit (1 mile south of Rte. 3) and head west; from Rte. 495 north, take Rte. 4 and go south. Both will take you to Chelmsford Center in short order, where routes 129, 4, 27, and 110 intersect. Pick up Rte. 110 West, which is called Littleton Road. 1 mile past Chelmsford Center is a dirt loop parking area on the right, marked by a large granite "Welcome to the Chelmsford Lyme Quarry Reservation" sign. The front quarry is 150' from the parking lot.

College Rock

College Rd, Hopkinton. From Boston, take the Mass Pike to I495, south on I495 to the first exit east, toward Hopkinton. Right on Rte. 85 to College Rd. Left on College Rd. (utility pole in intersection), right into College Rock Park (sign, small parking lot, or park before entrance on the right).

Walk south a short distance along a path to cliffs on left. (BBD)

Den Rock

Route 114 (Winthrop Ave), North Andover. From Boston I93 north, take exit for Rte. 125, northeast toward Andover. Left on Rte. 114, passing Merrimack College on left, cross Rte. 133, Boston Chicken on left followed by shopping center on right. Left into Den Rock parking.

Through gate, walk up dirt road, bear left through intersection. Shortly thereafter, multiple trails on right lead to rocks.

From I495 north, take exit for Rte. 114 south, Middleton. After barely a quarter mile, right into Den Rock parking, and as above. (BBD)

Lantern Rock

Penny Brook Rd., Lynn Woods, Lynn. From Boston, take Rte. 1 north to Saugus, left (east) on Walnut St. Follow Walnut St. past Birch Pond Reservoir on left to traffic light at Penny Brook Rd. on left and O'Callahan Way on right. Left on Penny Brook Rd. to end and City of Lynn Parks Department garage. Old basketball courts on right. Park here.

Walk to right (ENE) around left of brush piles to dirt road to an old picnic area. Right, follow path around right side of rock outcroppings, up short hill to water. Lantern Rock is on the shore of the pond to the left. (BBD)

Hammond Pond

Hammond Pond Parkway, Newton. From Boston, Rte. 9 west, north on Hammond Pond Parkway.

Toward Boston, Rte. 9 east past new Chestnut Hill Mall on left, north on Hammond Pond Parkway

Pond Area:
Immediately right, park in left (northwest) corner of parking lot. Walk along pond path to cliffs on left. (BBD)

Pusherman Wall:
north on Hammond Pond Parkway, past Mall entrance to temple parking area on left. Park in north end of temple parking lot. Follow path (blue dots) from behind the temple, a few hundred feet to Pusherman Wall.

Temple Overhangs
Before reaching Pusherman Wall, right on path back toward parkway and overhangs. (BBD)

Pinnacle Area:
Park as for temple area, walk 1/3 mile north along Parkway until 200 ft. from its intersection with Beacon St. Follow trail on left into woods. First path on right to cliff. (BBD)

Hardy Mountain/Red Rocks

Route 133 at Route 128, Gloucester. Rte. 128 north to exit for Rte. 133. Left (north) on 133, under 128, park immediately on left.

A well-marked trail runs south parallel to 128 for about 1/3 mile to a trail/gully leading right into the woods. (It is also possible to walk along 128 next to the guard rail; leave the roadway and rejoin the trail at the "no parking" signs.)

There are several sets of rocks -- the trail bends to avoid the first, a short cliff visible through the trees -- but the most popular is a 5 minute walk up the shallow gully to cliffs on left. (BBD!!!)

Nahant Sea Cliffs

Fort Ruckman on Big Nahant Island, Nahant. From Rte. 1 and 128 north, Rte. 129 toward Lynn and Swampscott. After 6-7 miles on 129, cross Rte. 1A in Lynn at a traffic light (ocean straight ahead). Toward ocean, right (south) on Lynn Shore Drive, to rotary.

From Boston, over Tobin bridge (I95) or through Callahan tunnel (Rte. 1) to Rte. 107 north. Cross marshlands, enter Lynn, pass General Electric on right. 1/2 mile to large 5-way intersection. Right on Common St., around Common, right on Commercial St. Left on Lynnway, follow signs to Nahant and the rotary, and as above.

From rotary, cross causeway to Nahant. Owing to parking restrictions in Nahant, park in beach parking area at end of causeway near the Tides restaurant, shuttle to cliff, last one takes his bicycle. If you arrive late and are willing to risk a ticket, directions to the cliff follow:

From Little Nahant Island, keep going for 0.3 to 0.4 mile, and turn right onto Castle Road. Within about 0.5 mile, there will be two schools on the left with parking. Continue on Castle Road to where it goes off at a sharp right; make a left onto Gardiner, and then a sharp right onto Trimountain. Follow Trimountain to the bottom of the hill, and take a left into the parking lot (by permit only).

Hike to cliffs along paths. Watch out for poison ivy! Major rockfalls in 1991 have significantly reduced climbing opportunities here.

Route 1 Quarry

Route 1, Lynnfield. From Boston, Rte. 1 north, pass Walnut St., park on right at Bowling alley before Rte. 129.

From 128, take exit for Rte 1 south to Walnut St. Reverse direction at cloverleaf then as above.

Walk around left side of buildings, past piles of rubbish until in back of buildings. Pass through fence, follow road into forest, hillside on left, wetland on right. 1/10 mi to first climbing area up hill on the left (hard to see). Contour right, from first crag to Second crag. Right uphill past old VW Bug fender, over hill and descend toward Third area on left in an abandoned quarry. The most interesting climb here (Pizza and Beer) is finger crack in the vertical wall in left side of quarry. This area is particularly confusing for first timers so don't be shy about asking someone to show you around.

Although the foregoing seems the easiest access, an alternative approach exists:

North on Rte 1 (1/4 mile south of 128), right (east) on 129, pass Ledge Rd, second on right. At rotary, take 129 east toward Lynn Swampscott Hospital. First right just past sign "Goodwins's Clam Shopppe". Park in commuter parking lot opp. Goodluck Farms and Clam Shoppe. Walk back (west) 1/2 mile along sidewalk on left side of Rte. 129 to Ledge Rd. To end of Ledge Rd. (1/4 mile), road branches slightly left. Follow dirt road for 1/4 mile to reach Third crag on right. Continuing on dirt road, take faint trail right down talus slope past old VW Bug fender. First and Second crags are up hill to the right.

Mt. Spickett, Burrill Hill Tower, and Johnson Crag and Boulders

Great Woods Rd., Lynn Woods, Lynn. North on Rte. 128 (I95) or north on Rte. 1, take exit for Rte. 129 east, Lynn (do not mistake for Rte. 129, Wakefield). From rotary, 1 mile to Atlantic Medical Center on right, another 0.6 mile to Great Woods Rd. on right; Lynnfield St. Baptist Church is on the corner. Right on Great Woods Rd. to the end, past stone pillars, park at end by ball field.
Burrill Hill Tower:
Note: Climbing is no longer permitted on this decaying structure. Follow dirt road past gate on left side of reservoir for 1/3 mile, left at junction, uphill to tower. Avoid side roads or trails.

Mt. Spickett:
Follow dirt road along right side of reservoir for 1/4 mile. Cliffs on ridge to right. (BBD)

Johnson Crag:
Follow dirt road as for Tower. At 5 minutes, just before road junction, go left (southeast) on well-worn trail (Cornel Path) winding through woods. At 6 minutes, do not take trail on right. At 7 to 8 minutes, trail turns passing near golf course on left, then small ledges on right near edge of Breeds Pond Reservoir. At 15 minutes, pass two large boulders in reservoir near shore. (BBD)

(Ed note: This area has been renamed in memory of Bob Johnson, who explored and put up all the original routes here.)

Forest Castle
Look right for and follow faint trail marked by cairns. At 18 minutes, reach the base of the south-facing cliff.

Small Cliff
Continue to follow hiking trail west from the 15-minute mark. At 17 minutes, head up right to small cliff that faces north.

Johnson Boulders
Go to right end of Small Cliff. Follow stone wall southwest for 2-3 minutes to first boulder. Gain top of boulder on west side. Other boulders are northwest of this. If at other boulders or lost, shortest time back to parking area is to go straight up hill until reaching Boulder Path. Go right onto trail and follow it uphill until reaching tower at top of Burrill Hill. Continue straight ahead down dirt road back to parking area. (BBD, LPR)

Stage Fort Park

Gloucester. Rte. 128 north, take exit for Rte. 133 south. Right (east) on 133 into Gloucester, right on Rte. 127, and immediately left into park. Park on right at top of rise. The rock (with plaque) is across the road on the left.

Waitts Mountain Park

Leonard St, Malden. Rte. 60 east through Malden Center (one-way loop). At Ferry St. go left (north) on Main St. Pass about 10 streets on right to Leonard St. Right on Leonard up steep hill, park at top of hill. Walk right into park between stone walls. Stay to right, cliff on left. Beware of glass and other disgusting rubbish. Bring a trash bag.

General Notes

  1. We usually begin to gather between 5 and 6 PM.
  2. There has occasionally been some problem with vandalism at some of the parking areas. It is suggested that you leave nothing of value visible in your car.
  3. Setting up adequate top rope anchors at some of these areas may require some ingenuity. Bring plenty of sling material, or extra rope. Lead gear (i.e. cams and nuts) is often useful.
  4. "BBD" means "Bring bug dope."
  5. "LPR" means "Long pants recommended."

The permanent address for this page is

Bill Atkinson
Bob Rogers <>