Meadows Sudbury Unit includes tranquil trails around wetlands including the Sudbury River and up through woodlands and fields. The Eastern MA Complex headquarters located here is adjacent to the river at the base of Weir Hill. This hill – a 12,000-year-old glacial deposit – was used by Indigenous peoples who trapped fish in the river by creating fish weirs; hence the name of “Weir Hill”. Visitors can explore via canoe or kayak in the Sudbury River to get a remarkable wildlife watching experience on this unit of the refuge.
Great Meadows Concord Unit is unique piece of property, with several trails available for wildlife observation. This land was donated by a local hunter, Samuel Hoar in 1944. Mr. Hoar was an avid outdoorsman, he tried to conserve the wetlands by creating dams and dikes to keep the wetlands flooded for waterfowl. He donated his land to U.S. Fish and Wildlife to help conserve the wetlands for the future. Visitors can travel through open grasslands, mature forest, around wet marshes, and alongside the Concord River. The observational tower and pier allow for great wildlife watching, especially birding. Noted ornithologists consider the Concord Unit to be one of the best inland birding areas in the state.
Please note: there is an entrance fee the Concord unit.
Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge provides visitors with many wildlife-oriented recreational opportunities. The refuge has long been a favorite stop for bird watchers. Visitors can hike the nature trails and observe, photograph, and study wildlife and plants. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on the trails in the winter can provide wonderful wildlife viewing opportunities. Other enjoyable recreation includes hunting various species and fishing on the Concord and Sudbury Rivers. The Sudbury Unit allows boating on the Sudbury River and has a canoe and kayak launch area. Refuge staff and a volunteer group love to host programs for the public to learn more about the importance of wetlands, migratory birds, and conservation.
Great Meadows Sudbury Unit: The refuge trails, boardwalks, observational lookouts, and kiosks provide family-friendly wildlife viewing areas on both refuge units. There are two wonderful trails to explore at Great Meadows Sudbury Unit. This unit has two observational advantage points, one on each trail, an ADA accessible boardwalk and a canoe/kayak launch. There is an incline including wooden stairs on the Weir Hill Trail.
Great Meadows Concord Unit: This unit has a large observational tower easily accessible from the parking lot and an observational pier off Dike Trail in the middle overlooking the lower pool. There are four trails making up 2.7 outstanding miles. The refuge has few hills, so all trails have very little elevation-gain, offering easy walks surrounded by nature.
Visitors are required to stay on designated paths and trails. Need help navigating? Print your own trail map or scan a QR code in one of the parking
Other Facilities in the Complex
Situated along the Atlantic Flyway in Massachusetts, the Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge Complex is comprised of eight ecologically diverse refuges. The eight individual refuges include inland and coastal wetlands, forests, grasslands, and barrier beaches that provide important habitat for migratory birds, mammals, plants, reptiles and amphibians.
Complex headquarters is located at Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, 73 Weir Hill Road, Sudbury, Massachusetts, 01776. Phone: (978) 443-4661, Fax: (978) 443-2898.
Rules and Policies
When visiting the refuge you are entering wildlife’s home. So, keep in mind and obey all rules and regulations at the refuge to respect wildlife and their habitats, such as visiting during posted hours, leaving no trace behind, not bringing pets, not swimming or fishing in refuge ponds.
Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge Sudbury Unit:
To reach the refuge parking lot and Complex Headquarters at Weir Hill, follow Route 27 (1.7 miles) from Wayland and turn right onto Water Row Road. Follow Water Row Road (1.2 Miles) until it ends and turn right onto Lincoln Road. Travel one half mile turn left onto Weir Hill Road. The driveway is on the right near the end of the dead-end street.
To reach the refuge parking lot and Complex Headquarters at Weir Hill, follow Route 27 from Hudson and turn left onto Water Row Road. Follow Water Row Road (1.2 Miles) until it ends and turn right onto Lincoln Road. Travel one half mile turn left onto Weir Hill Road. The driveway is on the right near the end of the dead-end street.
Great Meadows Concord Unit:
Travel to this area by following Route 62 east from Concord Center toward Bedford. After about one mile, turn left onto Monsen Road. Continue on Monsen Road until you see the refuge entrance on your left.
Travel to this area by following Route 62 west from Bedford Center toward Concord. Turn right onto Monsen Road. Continue on Monsen Road until you see the refuge entrance on your left.