Lawton Forest


Map Legend

Skyfields Arboretum
Townsend Road Entrance

Icons on the map can be clicked to get directions on Google Maps (works best for Parking Icons).

Get the Map

This property is in NQTA Map #5. You can purchase NQTA Map Sets in our Shop.


Either the Townsend Rd entrance or taking in the Skyfields Arboretum located next to the Mount Grace Land Trust Headquarters, 1461 Old Keene Rd, Athol, MA 01331.


Lawton Forest: The 365-acre Lawton Tree Farm was the first Mount Grace project. Mount Grace protected the forest, which abuts the trust’s Skyfields Arboretum in 1986 in collaboration with Peter Gerry and the landowner Robert Lawton.

This 5 mile total loop trail (Ridge Section 2 Miles, Forestry Section 3 Miles) through the scenic Lawton State Forest is accessible by either the Townsend Rd entrance or from the Skyfields Arboretum located next to the Mount Grace Land Trust Headquarters, 1461 Old Keene Rd, Athol, MA 01331.

Skyfields Arboretum Trail & Willis Loop Trail: Trails: The open fields of Skyfields Arboretum are laced with loop trails connecting to trails in the Lawton State Forest. The Arboretum Trail allows visitors to walk through the various habitat types and learn about the identified tree, and shrub species growing there. The Forest Trail spurs off of the Arboretum Trail for a taste of the forested area that connects to Lawton State Forest. The Willis Woods Trail provides a wandering path through the hillside forested landscape of mixed hardwoods.

The 10-acre arboretum is surrounded by stone walls. The selection of plants focuses on those native species that produce edible, high value fruits, nectar, and nuts, and provide nesting sites, such as dense evergreens or thorny shrubs.

Many wildflowers such as the bluet, common blue violet, mayflower, wood anemone, jack in the pulpit, eastern star flower, and lady slipper can be seen in blossom in springtime around the Arboretum.

Wildlife abounds on the property as well. Some common wildlife seen in Skyfields Arboretum are fox, fisher, hawks, and owls.

Longest Walk: 5 miles

Photo Gallery


Bird Watching, Hiking, Nature Viewing

Additional Information

North Quabbin Trails Association would like to thank the following groups for their continued support: Town of Athol Conservation Commission, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust. NQTA would also like to thank all volunteers who helped make this new trail system a reality.

Trail Etiquette

Please use common sense and show common courtesy on all trails. See the Trail Etiquette Guide for tips for hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders.