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Saugus, Massachusetts

Skull Cliff

The macabre graffiti spectacle in a quarry in a Massachusetts forest reservation. 

The Lynn Woods Reservation in Lynnfield, MA, is a 2,200-acre park in the suburbs of Boston. Among its 30 miles of trails are quite a few landmarks, including Skull Cliff, although it’s not officially recognized by the reservation as one.

Skull cliff is is a 30-foot-tall rock cliff face from an old quarry that is completely painted over in brightly colored bands of skulls and bones. According to the graffiti itself, it was painted in 2001 by an artist named Ichabod, who along with his signature and date, also included the explanation, “Take the knowledge that you will someday be these bones and enjoy now all that is precious.”

The unmarked trail head is behind the Kelly Chrysler dealership (formerly Bostonville Grille), located at 325 Broadway. At the beginning of the path, it parallels a section of swamp on the right and a large outcropping of rock on the right. Eventually the path and the swamp veer right, but follow the rock outcropping on the left. After clambering up a bit of a rise, you’ll find Skull Cliff.

A barely discernible forest path loops around and behind the cliff for easy access to the top. On clear days, you can see the city of Boston in the distance. At the top of the cliff, and separated from it by a steep incline, a tall fence, and a few dozen yards of brush, is the newly built apartment complex, Lynnfield Commons, at 375 Broadway.

Adapted with Permission from: The New England Grimpendium by J.W. Ocker

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