Just a short drive uphill from the commercial edge where Orleans and Brewster meet lies one of the Lower Cape’s prime freshwater resources, ringed by conservation land shared by both towns. At over 90 acres—28 in Orleans and over 60 in Brewster—and up to 60 feet deep, Baker’s Pond easily surpasses the state’s definition of a “great pond” (minimum 10 acres). And to walkers who use its trails, it’s great in scenic and recreational values as well.
Held by: Town of Orleans, Town of Brewster, Brewster Conservation Trust
Location: 80 Baker’s Pond Road, Orleans
Trail length: 2+ miles
Year acquired: 1988 and subsequent
From the shopping center at Skaket Corners (Shaw’s), follow Rt. 6A west toward Brewster for 1.0 miles. Take a left onto Baker’s Pond Road and follow for .6 miles. Town parking will be on your right.
In 1988, the Town of Orleans acquired parcels of land north of Baker’s Pond totaling 15 acres—once part of the Corrigan property—for conservation, open space, and recreation. One key purpose of the acquisition was to protect drinking water in the Gould Pond Well and the groundwater basins of Little Namskaket Marsh and Town Cove. Today, the Baker’s Pond Conservation Area comprises more than 50 acres spanning both Orleans and Brewster. It is part of a contiguous natural area from Nickerson State Park in Brewster across Route 6 to the watershed in Orleans.
The Baker’s Pond CA boasts 1,250 feet of pond shoreline. The trail around the pond starts on Orleans town conservation land, then winds through a patchwork of land owned by the town of Brewster and Brewster Conservation Trust—which now totals more than 100 acres. The main trail was first proposed in 2010 by Mark Robinson of the Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts; then BCT raised $150,000 over several years to acquire the connecting land in the west. The present three-mile trail system emerged from years of cooperation among the two towns, the two private land trusts (OCT and BCT), and several private landowners.
Baker’s Pond is a classic coastal plain kettle pond with a wide sandy shoreline, which is inundated seasonally when the water table is high. This wide beach supports a substantial and unique plant community including the rare spatulate-leaved sundew and Plymouth gentian.
“First there’s the secluded valley walk on the north side, leading to the vernal pool that is the lowest point, just 20 feet above sea level. It’s so peaceful there. Second, the zigzag climb up Huckleberry, especially the isolated beech grove near the top. Third, the range of great views from different heights on either side of the pond— they change so much depending on weather, season, and time of day. Sometimes we see coyotes or turkeys or deer.”
– John Lamb of Brewster Conservation Trust, on his favorite Baker’s Pond walks