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When the temperature drops, go take a hike!


Photography by Dan Cutrona

Shawkemo Hill Trail, Nantucket

Located off of Polpis Road, Shawkemo Hill Trail serves as a gateway to several walking paths that offer breathtaking views of unspoiled wilderness—as well as Nantucket Harbor. Overseen by the Nantucket Island Land Bank (NLB), the property offers a system of three trails accessible from an access point on Polpis Road. Traveling in the direction of Wauwinet, look for the NLB marker and parking lot just after North Pasture Lane.

Eric Savetsky, the land bank’s executive director, says the trails represent the influence of the last ice age on Nantucket’s topography. “The southern trail climbs to 94 feet and offers stunning views of the Middle Moors and Nantucket Harbor,” he says. “These hills are one example of the sediment deposits left behind after the Laurentide glacier receded approximately 18,000 years ago.”

According to, the Shawkemo Hill Trail offers a variety of topographies and scenic views and leads to additional trails and roadways in the magical Middle Moors. Notably, more than 6,000 years ago the area served as hunting grounds for the island’s native population, and a number of walkers in recent years have found arrowheads along the trails.

A resident of Boston, Hannah Pasman is a nature lover who grew up on Nantucket and is particularly nostalgic of the many hours she spent hiking throughout this wilderness area. “It’s a very special place,” she says of the Shawkemo Hill Trail. “Especially during the off season, when you might not find anyone else on the trails. It makes you appreciate nature even more.”

A native of Cummaquid, Taylor Lange is a freelancer writer and an avid recreational fisherman.

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