The Nahant Heritage Trail is a coastal walk where you can take a break from the loud traffic and bright lights and enjoy panoramic seascape views.
The 1.4-mile trail brings walkers deep into Nahant and allows them to see local historic spots.
Jenna DeLisi walks it almost every day.
“I have walked the trail countless times,” she said. “My favorite time of the day is when the sun is setting and when you get to the top you can see the ocean and beautiful views.”
The trail begins at the north end of Short Beach, which is one beach inland from the Nahant Public Beach.
Starting at the Little Nahant Playground on the north end of South Beach, walkers trek the entirety of South Beach before approaching the Life Saving Station.
Built in 1898, the station was used to transfer the United States Coast Guard in 1915. In 2001, the station was deeded back to Nahant where it was brought back to life and restored by the Nahant Preservation Trust and is used as a venue.
Trail walkers cross Nahant Road and end up in the Lowlands, the town park doing multiple duties as a spot for baseball and basketball games, town events, and a host of other activities.
From 1905 to 1930, the Nahant and Lynn Street Railway ran on a wooden bridge through what is now the parking lot for Lowlands.
Lowlands is also a great spot to sight birds and other wildlife, with its unique wooded wetlands.
From the Lowlands, the trail crosses Flash Road Playground. Follow the trail markers behind the fire station to the sporting fields and directly to the Johnson School.
This area was part of Fort Ruckman, a U.S. Coast Artillery fort back in 1904 to 1907. It saw duty in both world wars. After World War II, the fort was decommissioned and sold back to the town.
The playground was the wartime site of the fort dining area, an infirmary, and movie theater. The Nahant Fire Station also used to also be a military fire house.
The trail’s Johnson School portion includes the community gardens, brimming in summer with flowers, fruits, and vegetables.
A brief walk through a small birch grove leads up wooden steps, climbing a slope where World War II wooden plankways led to Goddard Drive and the base of the Fort Ruckman bunkers.
Climbing the slope is worth the effort: The view that awaits walkers is enhanced by following trail markers and proceeding down the switchback trail to Bailey’s Hill Park. The switchback trail still has the remains of Gun No. 2 of the underground fort, Fort Ruckman bunkers. The flat green area used to house soldiers and was also a rifle range.
Bailey’s Hill was used for surveillance and weaponry sites in both World War I and World War II. It was also used in 1955 as a Nike missile site.
Now, in peacetime, it is a park and the site of the Sears Pavilion Gazebo.
At the top of Bailey’s Hill, the trail ends with plenty of sights packed into a 1.4-mile-long hike, including some of the most beautiful sites in Nahant. What goes up must come down: On your 1.4-mile stroll down back to Short Beach look for wildlife such as flowers and birds.