Desert Natural Area/Memorial Forest Reservation

Welcome to "The Desert"

This 615-acre area has been known historically as The Desert due to well-drained sandy soil in parts of the land and several old sand pits. The poor soils support a pitch pine forest, uncommon in this region.  Like much of New England, the landscape here records the passage of glaciers. The glacial history of the area has played an important role in determining what lives here. Well-drained sandy soils support a pitch pine forest and scrub forest - this might look harsh and dry to us but acorns and pine cones provide abundant food for wildlife. This area has had little impact from humans until relatively recently. Due to its remoteness from town centers and its poor soils, only three or four colonial homesteads have been documented.

This land has much to offer you. There is abundant wildlife to witness, the trees are full of birds to listen to and watch and the beavers on the property have made a dam that has blocked the area between trail B and trail C and flooded trail K on the Sudbury side (see map). If you have never seen what a beaver dam can do to a property, this is the place to see it. Many other mammals live in this area also. On the Desert's brochure, there is even more information on this parcel. Brochures are available at the Marlborough Conservation Office and there is a copy hung up in the kiosk at the Desert's entrance. Enjoy this piece of conservation land! There are plenty trails to keep you walking for hours.

Trail Map: The Desert Trail Map & Brochure

Recreational Opportunities: Hiking, walking trail, cross-country skiing, picnicking, and hunting in designated areas only (see map).

Hours: Dawn to dusk.

Prohibited Activities: Motorized vehicles, fires, littering, cutting or removing of trees or plants, camping, and swimming.

Directions: From Rt. 20 in Marlborough, turn onto Concord Road, which runs in between Firefly's restaurant and Kindles Firewood Pizza, stay on this road for a few miles, you will pass the Marlborough Country Club (on both sides of the road), Ghiloni Park on your right, mostly residential neighborhoods the rest of the way, when you pass an old graveyard on your right you are almost there. Finally there is a fork in the road and right across the Meadow Brook Children Garden is the parking area for The Desert is just before it on the right.

Projects: Prescribed FireInvasive Plan Removal