Location: Crystal Street (west side, between Liberty Street and North Broadway)
Area: 65.5 acres, 1.83 miles of trailsParking: gravel lot behind trail sign on Crystal Street with additional parking on Crystal Street
Crystal Gorge is one of Haverhill’s more recent conservation areas. The park was created when the City of Haverhill purchased 46.5 acres from a private land owner in 2000 with help from the state. The acres purchased were combined with an existing 19 acre lot to form the entire 65.5 acres. Here you will find many of New England's iconic stone walls, indicating that the land was previously used as pastures.
The area is composed of both hardwoods like Black Oak, White Oak, White Ash, Red Maple, Black Birch, and Shagbark Hickory, as well as softwoods like White Pines and Hemlock. This area is also a good place to observe wetlands and vernal pools; both of which provide habitat to many unique species of plants and wildlife. Vernal pools, which dry up during summer months, provide excellent habitat for species like the Spotted Salamander and the Wood Frog which rely on these vernal pools to lay their eggs in masses around early spring when the pools are filled. The wetlands themselves are habitat to some species of turtles. Should you chose to stay in the uplands you might be able to catch a glimpse of porcupines, which use the rocky outcroppings as homes. If you want to see what a wetland or vernal pool is for yourself, Crystal Gorge is one of the more accessible ways to do so as most of the trails go through the swamp like terrain without the risk of your shoes getting stuck in mud.