Barrier Beach Trail and Laird-Norton Trail Loop, Wells
Located at Wells Reserve, a center for education, conservation, and research.
This 1.8 mile loop includes mixed woodland, long length of boardwalk and a scenic marsh overlook leading to a gorgeous beach. A beach that is never crowded because you can only access it via this trail...unless you own one of the private homes located here and have a driveway in which to park your car. Me, I have a nice pair of sneakers made for walking. It's the most adventurous and scenic journey to this beach anyway.
The Wells Reserve, located at 342 Laudholm Farm Road in Wells, is a National Estuarine Research Reserve. It offers 7 miles of trails in total and is open year-round from 7:00am to sunset. There is a museum offering education exhibits here as well as some educational posts along the way. Activities include hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. Dogs are not allowed here.
This reserve has a large parking lot and small admission fee. There are bathrooms available just up the hill from the ticket booth if you need to make a pit stop before the one mile walk to the beach.
Upon arrival, you will see the old farm house and other historic buildings, which are now used for educational purposes. To check out their listing of guided nature walks, research demonstrations, and workshops, here is the website: https://www.wellsreserve.org/ You will also find some interesting history on this site.
From the parking lot, head up the hill toward the fields and bear left on the dirt/gravel road. Soon you will come to a sign for the Laird-Norton Trail on left. Side note, mosquitoes can be aggressive here. If you forget anything on this trip, do not let it be your bug spray. If you are highly adverse to insects, you may opt to visit in late August or September when the bug season has settled down a bit. My campers actually told me that this was the "worst field trip ever Jill!", because they were pretty much eaten alive. That said, we went several weeks ago, so hopefully the bug situation is a bit more tolerable now. And you can bet I will bring them back in the fall to redeem myself and give them the true experience of this incredible place.
After taking a left onto the Laird-Norton Trail, you will walk down a path that connects with a very long boardwalk, entrance on the right.
Follow this boardwalk until you reach the Barrier Beach Overlook, a short spur to a deck that looks over the Little River mouth and salt marsh. Check behind the educational sign located on this deck to find our Seek'em.
Carry on until this trail re-connects with the Barrier Beach Trail. Here you will take a left to head down towards the beach. Enjoy a quiet beach, tide pools to explore, and waves to jump. For a shorter return trip, take the Barrier Beach Trail which is a straight shot back to the farm. Enjoy!