Dog Bar Lighthouse

Gloucester, MA

The Dog Bar Lighthouse and Breakwater is part of a  Massachusetts Audubon Society fifty-three-acre nature preserve. The lighthouse is located at the end of a 1/2 mile long granite breakwater that extends out into Gloucester Harbor. We began this hike at Niles Beach, but you can definitely drive to the lighthouse/breakwater parking lot for a quick tour. The lot is small, and the guard will let you know if there is room to park. 


4.7 Miles

Hike Time

1.5 Hours

Today’s 4.25-mile hike from Nile’s Beach to the Dog Bar Lighthouse started with heavy mist and overcast skies, and as our “luck” would have it, ended with the sun coming out just before we got back to the car. 

Be prepared for strong winds when you are out on the breakwater –  I managed to maintain my elegant “coif” by putting my hood up – which I am sure everyone, including those with small children, appreciated. You can traverse the breakwater but watch your footing because there are uneven spaces between the granite blocks.  I would also suggest not attempting it without a good pair of hiking shoes or sneakers. Several people were fishing, so beware of their poles and errant fishing lines. From the end of the jetty you will have a great view of the harbor and the boats going in and out. 

The road leading to the breakwater is very narrow, and you have to watch for incoming and outgoing traffic. 

The statue cutout below is standing outside Beauport, the Sleeper-McCann House, which is closed right now, but when it opens, I would suggest going – it’s a great tour.

The crew on the breakwater with Eastern Point Lighthouse behind us.

Wendy breaking off the trail.

A view of Gloucester Harbor.

Enjoying the view of the legendary”Mother Ann”. Just recently heard about her and did a little digging and found out that the rock formation you see in the background below as compared to the now-collapsed “Old Man in the Mountain”. 

The legend says that she was “Carved by God’s angels” according to Alex Tupper’s article in a 1923 issue of North Shore Breeze, Mother Ann looks seaward, searching for men who have yet to return to Gloucester’s safe harbor. The whistling buoy offshore at Eastern Point is known as “Mother Ann’s Cow.” (North Shore Community College presents: Poetry of Places in Essex County).

Massachusets residents, don’t forget to purchase your Cape Ann license plate – all proceeds help the nonprofit efforts of the Cape Community Foundation.

The long arm of Eastern Point creates Gloucester’s beautiful inner harbor. The granite breakwater helps to protect the harbor from major storm damage.

The ¼ mile-long breakwater was built between 1894 – 1905 by the Army Corps of Engineers and each of the granite slabs weighs between 12 – 13 tons. 

It is amazing to see some of the blocks that have been pushed out of position by giant waves created by storm surges. At the end of the breakwater stands the Dog Bar Lighthouse. Several people were fishing for mackerel and stripers off the rocks.

Nature did not disappoint along this trail. 

We saw Mullein, a plant where the oil extracted from the lower leaves is used as a natural cure for earaches and some skin diseases. I’ve never heard of this plant but I read that it is fairly common around here.

The beautiful orange and red flower below is Coral Honeysuckle – smells so good!

We also saw beautiful white lilies and even the common milkweed was in bloom. Is it just me or do those things look like little faces – creepy!

Niles pond was full of water lilies.