Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary logo
87 Perkins Row
Topsfield, MA 01983

Ipswich River, one of Mass Audubon’s largest sanctuaries, offers more than 12 miles of interconnecting trails that invite you to explore the forests, meadows, and wetlands. Get your binoculars and field guides ready because this site offers a great variety of wildlife. The forest is home to owls, wild turkeys, woodpeckers, hummingbirds and warblers. Watch for river otters, painted turtles, and great blue herons at various times throughout the year. On your canoe ride to Perkins Island notice that aquatic and migratory birds are especially abundant. As you walk along the gorgeous boardwalk that weaves through the lily-pad-laden wetlands, the sound of bull frogs and gently rushing water will soothe your senses. On a hot summer’s, day the Rockery is a great place to rest in between hiking as the temperature cools drastically. Climb the drumlin and esker, landscape features created by a glacier 15,000 years ago. Huge rocks and exotic trees and shrubs that were part of a former arboretum provide an adventurous walk along the Rockery Trail. Members can camp on Perkins Island or rent Mass Audubon's rustic cabin.


Visitor Center: May 1 - October 31: Tuesday through Friday, 9 am - 4 pm; weekends and Monday holidays, 9 am - 5 pm; November 1 - April 30: Tuesday through Sunday and Monday holidays, 9 am - 4 pm. Trails: Open dawn to dusk, Tuesday-Sunday and Monday holidays.


$4 for non-member adults; $3 for non-member children (3-12) and seniors.

Driving Directions: 

From Boston and points south. Take Interstate 95 north to exit 50 and follow Route 1 north. At the junction of Route 1 and Route 97, turn right onto Route 97 south (toward Beverly and Danvers). Follow Route 97 south and take the third left onto Perkins Row. Follow Perkins Row for 1 mile, and the Sanctuary is on the right. From the NorthTake Interstate 95 south to exit 53A and follow Route 97 south. At the junction of Route 1 and Route 97 in Topsfield, stay on Route 97 south and take the third left onto Perkins Row. Follow Perkins Row for 1 mile, and the Sanctuary is on the right.

Site Notes & Advisories: 

Be sure to look carefully into the water below the Rockery. It is home to several large snapping turtles that frequently poke out for air and to see who is watching. Visitors can enjoy more than 10 miles of trails and 8 miles of the Ipswich River that traverse the sanctuary’s 2,200 acres. Canoes available for rental to members. Hiking, walking, cross-country skiing and canoeing.


  • Family Friendly
  • Parking
  • Restroom


  • Birding
  • Camping
  • Swimming & Boating
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Winter Sports
  • Great Marsh
  • Natural Resources
  • Parks
  • Scenic Vistas

Property Owner/Organization: 

Mass Audubon
Essex Coastal Scenic Byway
Rail Trail
Rail Trail Trailhead