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Tippling Rock Hiking Page and Map

Tippling Rock Panorama (October 2008). Also larger, much larger, and view on GigaPan site. Also, 2008 Nobscot Panorama <> Updated 1928 Panorama Page

Tippling Rock sticks out above the trees in Sudbury, Massachusetts. It affords a great view of the western suburbs as well as a view of Boston. Actually, all you could see of Boston was the tops of the Hancock and Pru, for about 40 years. In 2019, 1 Dalton St joined the Millenialium as the new towers. In addition, the First Parish of Sudbury, Unitarian Universalist, FP Concord on horizon, Our Lady of Fatima, Goodmans's Hill, Prospect Hill, the Radio Towers and Great Blue Hill. Most of the green foreground (pine trees) is on the Sudbury's Tippling Rock Trail, aka Weissblatt conservation land.

Sudbury Valley Trustees New Nobscot Map

2012 Sudbury Valley Trustees produced a new hiking map: Nobscot.pdf which covers Nobscot Scout Reservation, the Town of Sudbury's Weisblatt and Nobscot Conservation Lands along with the Mass DCR Callahan State Park. There are 2 pages of descriptions and the map is 11x17 - (right). So, I doubt I will be updating my 2001 map, but, I have some GPX and KML files at the bottom of the page *New And Improved* with Ford's Folly!

Note: Noscot was logged for decades and logging roads crisscross the whole reservation. This means there are many, many trails and many many chances to make wrong turns. You might think about having some GPS gizmo or App on your phone. I use Motion-X, but AllTrails or any other GPS hiking App would be fine. See the GPS files below.

Related links:

Tippling Rock is in the USGS Geographic Names Information System as a summit. Nobscot, too.

Sudbury Valley Trustees - - Preserving habitats in the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord river valleys. SVT is now the steward for Tippling Rock.

Tippling Rock is in the Boy Scouts Nobscot Reservation. If you are on Tippling Rock or on the paths between the two Sudbury conservation parcels, you are their guest. The reservation was formerly part of the Knox Trail Council. Nobscot Scout Reservation Hi-Res Map

Bay Circuit Trail - This is a trail that circles Boston. Check it out! They have a nice page on Tippling Rock and Nobscot as one of the "jewels" along the trail. I can attest to there claim that in the late summer, people are occasionally allowed up in the fire tower on Nobscot, although, it was quite a few years ago when I did it. See: 1930 Bay Circuit Map

The town of Sudbury Conservation Lands includes two parcels near Tippling Rock that provide parking and lots of land to get started. These are the Nobscot and Weisblatt (aka Tippling Rock Trail head) conservation parcels. The town website has maps that you can download.

The New England Orienteering Club (NEOC) has events in the Nobscot reservation a couple of times each year. They have great maps.

New Tippling Rock Conservation Land Map!
Sudbury Conservation Lands

image steps.jpg

Allan Jung's November 2008 article in the Daily News Trubune. Wide ranging article includes Ford's Folly, Nupsee Pond and Nobscot summit.

It has Great Pictures by Allan Jung!!! To the right is First Parish from Tippling Rock.

Scouting around MetroWest's Nobscot Reservation and Preserving Nobscot's history from the Town Crier.

There are two geocache spots on Nobscot.

Blue Hills Panorama

The Nobscot panorama 1928

Nobscot Panorama
The 2008 Nobscot Panorama

Why is it called Tippling Rock?

Tipple has two meanings: one is a device for unloading freight cars by tipping them and the other is to consume liquor. The favorite theory is that the boulder on top of the outcropping used to tipple, as in rock back and forth. One theory is that the native Americans would tipple it to send sound thru the rock for communication.

A Bartlett heard a blast on July 4th, 1942(?) and after that the stone was split. The farmer leasing the field is the likely blaster. Something about cows scratching and leaning into it. It was attempted to be destroyed in the 30's. The rock was clearly split apart. According to local legend, it was blasted in the 1920's out of concern that the young and strong might start it rolling down the hill. Since it is about 5 feet high and used to be perhaps 8 feet wide and sort of circular, this theory seems quite plausible. Another theory is that the rock was split to take a mill stone out of it. Here is the rock:

On Oct 17, 2006, Brian Ogilvie writes to correct my dynamite holes caption:
These hole are clearly for "feathers and wedges" which is a rock splitting technique still used today. Holes such as these are drilled in the rock and then three components, two feathers and one wedge are inserted into each hole. The wedges are tapped down in sequence from one end of the rock to the other and back and will eventually split a granite rock such as this. When a big rock splits, it makes loud "thunk" but not a bang like dynamite would make. Holes for dynamite or various powdered explosives would be larger in diameter and much deeper. Dynamite would also leave a more fractured surface without the clean split that you see.

So, was it blasted or split with feathers and wedges?

Our Dog Max stands close to 3 feet tall. Click on the lower two images for larger images.

The rocky outcropping is most likely a gray limestone, but the boulder is granite. How did it get plopped on top?

I'm looking for early accounts of Tippling Rock. The reference folks at Goodnow library helped me out by tracking down this reference from A Brief History of the Towne of Sudbury written by the Federal Writers Project of the WPA. Written in 1939:

    Eastward in the open meadow land lies the great rock called
  the "Indian Washbowl," whose center is hollowed out to suggest
  a big basin(*). Tradition ascribes some special though undetermined
  Indian significance to this particular stone. Another odd boulder 
  in this region is known as Tippling Rock.

Lee Swanson of the Sudbury Historical Society said George Barton knew he was dying in 1891 and sat down and typed out his story. He mentions Tippling Rock.

TODO: Check this out!!! The Tippling Rocks were used for communication - long distance. Curtis Hoffman.

Misspelled as Tipling Rock in this Sudbury Town Crier article A Roam with a View from 30-JUN-2005. (no longer online)

I believe this is talking about the area around Tippling Rock. It is Henry David Thoreau in Natural History of Massachusetts. In the spring there is a little waterfall beneath Tippliing Rock, almost due East. Waterfall Video

A stir is on the Wooster hills,
And Nobscot too the valley fills,
Where scarce you'd dip an acorn cup
In summer when the sun is up,
No more you'll find a cup at all,
But in its place a waterfall.

GPX/KMZ For Tippling Rock and Ford's Folly - GPS coordinates and tracks

Includes Waypoints for General John Nixon's Cellar, the Small Pox Burial Ground, the Indian Grinding Stone, Ford's Folly, parking lots and major trail junctions.

TipplingRockAndFordsFolly.kmz,   TipplingRockAndFordsFolly.gpx,   (Google Earth Image)
TipplingRockHiking20090627.kmz,   TipplingRockHiking20090627.GPX original smaller
Tippling Rock, Sudbury, MA.US: Single GPS coordinate with a Viewpoint.

Tantamount Lookout

Nobscot Hiking, View from Nobscot GPX files. They all include "Tantamount Lookout". This is a ledge that juts out near the summit of Nobscot. This is the best view, barring trespass to the fire tower. Tantamount Lookout is essentially on top of Tantamous's cave, which collapsed in the 1755 Earthquake. This is also known as Jethro's Table, but Tantamount Lookup is tantamount to the summit, and it has a great view of Boston.
TantamountLookout.kmz, TantamountLookout.gpx, NobscotWestLoop.kmz, NobscotWestLoop.gpx, AroundAndOverNobscot.kmz, AroundAndOverNobscot.gpx

View from Tantmount Lookout on 2022-04-20

Dave Perry's GPS/KMZ maps featuring the SVT Nobscot Map as a KMZ overlay. They can be found on (Nobscot). Scroll down to the Download label. OpenStreetMap also has the trails.

New On the Horizon From the Rock

The horizon between Bear Hill in Waltham and Boston in 2020. Background Picture GPS sight lines

You can now see One Dalton, the 2nd new buillding in 2 years!! One Dalton is another new skyscraper in Boston! In this image from 2018-10-16, you can make out the crane that is still on top! In 2016, the Millenium Tower was built. It has a sloped roof. It is a ways off to the left of the Hancock & Pru. (full image 2017-11-15) and (Skyline 2018-10-12)

You can also see the solar array on the hill next to the transfer station. Hmm... time to update the hand drawn panorama. Also, close inspection show they flattened the top of Bear Hill in Waltham to build a gated community.

Skyline as of 2018-10-12

Boston is fairly sharp, but the solar array is blurry. Sights, from left to right, solar panels, Great Meadows, Boston, Reeves hill, Great Blue Hills.

Snow Covered Rock!!!

In the winter of 2014-2015 Boston had Record Breaking Snow Storms. Tippling Rock was totally covered in snow. It is a huge with steep sides, but, it was all filled in. One the way up the snow was uniformly 4 feet of thick packed snow. The snowshoe track was packed down to be two feet think. A M A G I N G ! ! ! - More Snow covered Tippling Rock Pictures



The 2012 Sudbury Valley Trustees hiking map: Nobscot.pdf make redoing my old 2001 map MUCH lower priority. Raw: FordsFolly20120826.gpx

New Map To Be - 20090627

I am working on a new verion of the map and would love feedback. Especially, do you download things into a GPS and follow them? What is the good and bad of that experience? Load this TipplingRockHiking20090627.GPX into a GPS or GoogleEarth. This may not be easy because .GPX seems to be a new dialect of XML. It should like like the image on the right. Also, same tracks and waypoints in a KMZ file.

The map to the right is a Tippling Rock Inner Loop. Wider Rough map20090919.jpg

The map to the left is a tiny version of my 2001 map. Click on small image to get larger image.

The prototype is pasted together from an NEOC map, a USGS map, with information taken from the Sudbury Conservation Commission maps and last but not least, a reasonably thorough exploration. I was laid off after 9/11 for a couple of months.

To see the larger version (604KB) you can also click on the small map. For a few more bytes (1.6MB) here is TipplingRock.pdf.

Other Maps

I do not have copyright for the NEOC and Boy Scout Maps, so, I made small versions of them to let you know they exist, but, you need to get real copies from them. There are usually Scout maps available from White Lodge at the Boy Scouts parking lot. Also check out Historical Maps of Sudbury.
image WachCut.jpg
Town of Sudbury, Nobscot Conservation Land
image MonadCut.jpg
The New England Orienteering Club (NEOC)

Revised 2021
Nobscot Alumni - Boy Scouts
image steps.jpg
Weisblatt Conservation Land Map
1928 map of Nobscot Reservation
1928 Map of Nobscot Reservation

Bay Circuit Trail

Bay Circuit Map from 1930
Nobscot Hill and the Wayside Inn.
It also lists Nobscot Reservation as a
point of Ornithological Interest.

Lots of Great Work ! ! !

Ranger Adam cleared the panorama in November of 2008. The panorama above, I had to take in 4 different panoramas and merge them. Cuts to the West and North West were also made. And now this spring (2009), STEPS!!!
image steps.jpg
image WachCut.jpg
To the west stands Mt. Wachussett,
clear as a bell in it new cut!
image MonadCut.jpg
New cut to Mt. Monadnock


IT PASSED; It's protected!!

20080408 - Sudbury votes to join, SVT and Boy Scouts to preserve Nobscot!

They announced a joint campaign to permanently conserve 300 acres including Tippling Rock and the surrounding area!!! See the announcement on the Sudbury Town Website. SVT is about 2/3rds (9/10ths on 9/10/08) the way thru a fund raising campaign to raise $350,000 from individuals like you and me. and Town Crier 303 acres of Nobscot Scout Reservation preserved

At the left is a very cool map that is linked to from the Town announcement - at the bottom of the page. It is PDF, so, you can zoom way in. Tippling Rock is in Phase 1. I have cached this as SVTNobscotPhase1_2.pdf.

placemark kmz  <> YON - Jan C. Hardenbergh   2024-01-01 Add Nobscot hi-res