Appalachian Mountain Club Boston Chapter Local Walks/Hikes Committee
The following is a compilation of some of the larger areas for day hikes out of Boston plus information on obtaining trail maps. Most areas are large enough for all-day hikes, roughly 8 miles or more - depending on the terrain and the number of points of interest. A few are only large enough for half-day hikes, but could be combined with adjacent or nearby areas. Some would require many days to explore. All are scenic, some exquisitely so. All of them, plus many others, have been the sites of AMC Local Walks.
Areas Close to Boston
Information on hiking areas accessible by public transportation (generally inside of Rte. 128), including descriptions, directions, and T schedules, was previously available at the Boston Hiking Guide web site (http://geocities.com/hikeinfo) assembled by AMC Local Walks hike leader Mike Stadelmaier, but this is no longer available. We're working on reconstruction that information here. The areas described on that site included:
- Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain
- Blue Hills, Milton/Canton/Quincy
- Breakheart Reservation, Saugus
- Charles River (linear park), Boston
- Chestnut Hill Reservoir, Brighton
- Emerald Necklace, Boston
- Forest Hills Cemetery, Jamaica Plain
- Franklin Park, Roxbury
- Fresh Pond, Cambridge
- Hammond Pond Park, Newton
- Hemlock Gorge, Newton
- Horn Pond, Woburn
- Larz Anderson Park, Brookline
- Lincoln Conservation Land, Lincoln
- Lynn Woods, Lynn
- Middlesex Fells, Stoneham/Medford/Melrose
- Millennium Park, West Roxbury
- Moose Hill Sanctuary, Sharon
- Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge
- Pine Banks Park, Malden/Melrose
- Prospect Hill, Waltham
- Stony Brook Reservation, W. Roxbury
- Walden Pond, Concord
- Weymouth Great Esker, Weymouth
- Wompatuck State Park, Hingham
- World's End, Hingham
Massachusetts State Parks, Forests, and Reservations
Operated by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management (DEM), www.massparks.org, www.state.ma.us/dem/dem.htm. Trail maps are available at the park headquarters building or at the park visitor center, if there is one. They can also be obtained by mail (free) from the regional offices of the DEM. They are also available online at www.massparks.org, then click on Trail Maps.
Note that many state parks and forests allow hunting in season. There is no hunting in Massachusetts on Sundays. During the grouse and deer seasons, roughly mid-October to the end of December except Sundays, avoid the areas which allow hunting or wear hunter orange. See the Hunting Seasons page. The annual schedule of hunting seasons is available for free from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, 978-263-4347, and online at www.state.ma.us/dfwele/dfw/dfwrec.htm.
State parks and forests within 50 miles of Boston that have significant hiking trails include:
- Ames Nowell State Park, Linwood St., Abington, MA, 781-857-1336, 600 acres, 15 miles of trails and fire roads, large pond, no hunting.
- Ashland State Park, Rte. 135, Ashland, MA, 508-435-4303, 470 acres, 157-acre Ashland Reservoir, swimming, no hunting. Trail around the reservoir.
- Bald Hill Reservation, N. Andover/Boxford, Sharpner's Pond Rd., Boxford, MA, comprised of the Boxford State Forest and the adjacent Boxford Wildlife Sanctuary and Essex Greenbelt Association lands, 1700 acres, 4 ponds.
- Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park, 287 Oak St., Uxbridge, MA, 508-278-7604, 1000 acres, 6-mi. of the Blackstone River, trail along the river and the historic Blackstone Canal.
- Borderland State Park, Easton/Sharon, Massapoag Ave., North Easton, MA, 508-238-6566, 1800 acres, 15 miles of trails, 6 ponds, Ames mansion, visitor center, no hunting
- Boston Harbor Islands State Park, Hewitt's Cove, Lincoln St., Hingham, MA, 617-223-8666, www.state.ma.us/dem/parks/bhis.htm, www.bostonislands.org, www.state.ma.us/mdc/harbor.htm, www.nps.gov/boha/. The 17-island state park is part of the 34-island, 1465-acre Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area. 6 islands are staffed and reachable by public ferry daily during the summer and on spring and fall weekends, managed by DEM and MDC, no hunting.
- Boxford State Forest, N. Andover/Boxford, Sharpner's Pond Rd., Boxford, MA, 1000 acres plus adjacent Boxford Wildlife Sanctuary, 3 ponds.
- Bradley Palmer State Park, Asbury St., Topsfield, MA, (978)887-5931, 720-acre former estate, high grassy hills, Ipswich River, no hunting.
- Callahan State Park, Millwood St., Framingham, MA, (508)653-9641, 820 acres, no hunting, trail map available at Cochituate State Park headquarters, Wayland.
- Douglas State Forest, Wallum Lake Rd., Douglas, MA, (508)476-7872, 4640 acres, large lake, swimming, bog boardwalk.
- F. Gilbert Hills State Forest, Mill St., Foxboro, MA, (508)543-5850, 1030 acres, 23 miles of trails, 2 ponds.
- Georgetown-Rowley State Forest, Rte. 97, Georgetown, MA, (508)887-5931, 1200 acres. Trail map: the DEM map is available at the Bradley Palmer SP HQ and there is a map in the Boxford Bay Circuit guidebook.
- Great Brook Farm State Park, 984 Lowell Rd., Carlisle, MA 01741, (978) 369-6312, 1000 acres plus adjacent Carlisle and Chelmsford conservation lands, 20 miles of trails, 4 ponds, working dairy farm with ice cream stand, no hunting, X-C ski center: www.greatbrookski.com
- Halibut Point State Park, Gott Avenue, Rockport, MA 01966, (978)546-2997, 73 acres, quarries, rocky shoreline, no hunting.
- Harold Parker State Forest, Andover/N. Andover/N. Reading/Middleton, 1951 Turnpike St. (Rte. 114), N. Andover, MA, (978) 686-3391, 3000 acres, 35 miles of fire roads and trails, 11 scenic ponds, swimming.
- Harry Rich State Forest, Nod Rd., Groton, MA, on the Oxbow of the Nashua River. Trails along the river and through pine forest.
- Hopkinton State Park, 71 Cedar St. (Rte. 85), Hopkinton, (508)435-4303, 1450 acres, 1.2-mi. long Hopkinton Reservoir, swimming, quarries, no hunting. 5-mi. trail around the reservoir.
- Leominster State Forest, Westminster/Princeton/Leominster/Fitchburg/Sterling, 90 Fitchburg Road, Rte 31, Westminster, MA 01473, 978-874-2303, 4300 acres, 28 mi. of trails, views from Crow Hills (165 ft. high cliffs), Midstate Trail, ponds, swimming.
- Maudslay State Park, Curzon Mill Rd., Newburyport, MA, (978)465-7223, 480-acre former estate, 17 miles of trails, Merrimac River, bald eagle nesting area, blooming rhododendrons in May and early June and mountain laurel in mid-June, no hunting.
- Moore State Park, Mill St. (Rte. 31), Paxton, MA, (508)792-3969, 700-acre former estate, pond, waterfalls on Turkey Hill Brook, blooming rhododendrons and azelias in May and early June and mountain laurel in mid-June.
- Mount Watatic, Rte. 119, Ashburnham, MA. 3-mi. scenic loop trail to open summit with fine views, hawk watching in Sept., 600 ft. elev. gain. At the northern end of the Midstate Trail and the southern end of the Wapack Trail.
- Myles Standish State Forest, Cranberry Rd., S. Carver, MA, (508)866-2526, 14,700 acres, 13 miles of hiking trails, 50 miles of bike and bridle trails, 16 ponds.
- Pearl Hill State Park, New Fitchburg Rd., W. Townsend, MA, (508)597-8802, 1000 acres, swimming, no hunting. Adjacent to Willard Brook State Forest.
- Wachusett Mountain State Reservation, Mountain Rd., Princeton, MA, (978)464-2987, 2900 acres, 17 miles of trails, visitor center.
- Walden Pond State Reservation, 915 Walden St. (Rte. 126), Concord, MA, (978)369-3254, 333 acres surrounded by 2300-acre Walden Woods, 2 ponds, swimming, Thoreau house site, no hunting.
- Willard Brook State Forest, Rte. 119, Ashby & Townsend, MA, (978)597-8802, 2600 acres, ponds, waterfall, scenic trail along the brook, swimming.
- Willowdale State Forest, Linebrook Rd., Ipswich, MA, (978)887-5931, 2400 acres, 40 miles of trails. Trail map: DEM map and a map in the Bay Circuit Guide to Walks in Ipswich.
- Wompatuck State Park, Union St., Hingham, MA, (781)749-7160, 3500 acres, 6 ponds, visitor center.
Massachusetts Wildlife Management Areas
Operated by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW), www.state.ma.us/dfwele/dfw/dfw_toc.htm. Trail maps are available (free) by sending SASE to: Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Field Headquarters, Westborough, MA 01581. Hunting allowed in season, except Sundays. See the state parks section above for precautions. Wildlife Management Areas within 50 miles of Boston having significant hiking trails include:
- Delaney Wildlife Management Area, Stow/Harvard, access from Harvard Rd., Stow, MA, and Finn Rd., Harvard, MA, 545 acres, 3 ponds.
- Harold Parker Wildlife Management Area, Andover/N. Andover/N. Reading/Middleton, MA, 2900 acres, located in the Harold Parker State Forest, 1951 Turnpike St. (Rte. 114), N. Andover, (978) 686-3391.
New Hampshire State Parks
Operated by the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation, (603)271-3254, www.nhparks.state.nh.us. Those near Boston include:
- Bear Brook State Park, Allenstown/Deerfield/Hooksett/Candia, Rte. 28, Allenstown, NH, www.nhparks.state.nh.us/parkops/parks/beaverbrk.html. Contains 941 ft. Hall Mountain, 835 ft. Bear Hill, 721 ft. Catamount Hill, 9300 acres, 6 ponds, Suncook River, swimming.
- Miller State Park, Rte. 101, Peterborough, NH, 603-924-3672, www.nhparks.state.nh.us/parkops/parks/miller.html. Contains the summit of 2290 ft. Pack Monadnock, lookout tower, Wapack Trail. Trail map: available at the entrance and included in the Wapack Trail map. Adjacent to the Wapack National Wildlife Refuge on 2278 ft. North Pack Monadnock. $3 entrance fee.
- Monadnock State Park, Jaffrey Ctr., NH, (603) 532-8862 (NHDPR), www.nhparks.state.nh.us/parkops/parks/monadnock.html. Contains 3165 ft. Mt. Monadnock, 5000 acres, 40 miles of trails, 2 ponds. Trail map: at the main and Rte. 124 entrances, USGS Monadnock Mountain, NH. $3 entrance fee.
- Odiorne Point State Park, Rte. 1A, Rye, NH, 603-436-7406, www.nhparks.state.nh.us/parkops/parks/odiorne.html. Rocky Atlantic coastline, breakwater, salt marsh, fresh water marsh with many migrating birds, wooded trails, ruins of gun batteries, Visitor Center/Seacoast Science Center with aquarium and historical exhibits, 370 acres, 2 miles of shoreline, about 8 miles of trails. $3 entrance fee. There is a sandy beach a 1.5-mile walk down the coast at Wallis Sands State Park. No map - none really needed.
- Pawtuckaway State Park, Nottingham, NH. Contains 1011 ft. North, 800 ft. Middle, and 908 ft. South Mountains, lookout tower, Pawtuckaway Lake, 5535 acres, swimming.
National Parks and Wildlife Refuges
The national parks and seashores are operated by the National Park Service, www.nps.gov. The federal wildlife management areas are operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, (978) 443-4661, www.fws.gov.
- Cape Cod National Seashore, 99 Marconi Station Site Rd., Wellfleet, MA, (508)349-3785, www.nps.gov/caco/. Salt Pond Visitor Center: Rte. 6, Eastham, MA, (508) 255-3421. 43,604 acres, 40 mi. beach, dozens of kettle ponds, 11 nature trails, extensive trail system - trail guide at the Cape Cod Trails Conference website, www.cctrails.org
- Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Concord/Sudbury/Wayland. Headquarters: Weir Hill Rd., Sudbury, MA, 978-443-4661. Concord Unit: Monsen Rd., Concord, MA. 3486 acres in Concord and Sudbury, ponds, marshes, Concord and Sudbury Rivers. Also: Heard Pond, Wayland, (978) 443-4661. Trail map: maps of Concord and Sudbury units available at Sudbury HQ, also in "Country Walks Near Boston", USGS Maynard, MA.
- Minute Man National Historical Park, Concord/Lincoln/Lexington, MA, www.nps.gov/mima/. Minute Man Visitor Center: Rte. 2A/Battle Rd., Lexington, (781) 862-7753. North Bridge Visitor Center: 174 Liberty Street, Concord, MA, (978) 369-6993. 965 acres, about 8 miles of trails. Trail map available at the visitor centers, also in "Country Walks Near Boston"
- Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, 261 Northern Blvd., Plum Island, Newburyport, MA, 978-465-5753, http://northeast.fws.gov/ma/pkr.htm (USFWS). Friends of Parker River website: www.parkerriver.org. 6.5-mile beach (beach closed during piping plover nesting season), dunes, salt marsh, observation towers, 4662 acres, 2-mi. Hellcat Swamp nature trail.
US Army Corps of Engineers
- Tully Lake Project, Rte. 32, Royalston, MA, www.nae.usace.army.mil/recreati/tul/tulhome.htm. 1300 acres, about 15 mi. of trails, Tully Lake, Long Pond, Spirit Falls, Doane's Falls, scenic 4.3-mile trail around Tully Lake and past Doane's Falls. Trail map at www.nae.usace.army.mil/recreati/tul/tulhome.htm.
Metropolitan District Commission Reservations
Operated by the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC), 617-727-5215, www.state.ma.us/mdc/reserv.htm. Maps (not detailed) available online at www.state.ma.us/mdc/reserv.htm. Trail maps available for certain reservations - see below.
- Blue Hills Reservation, Milton/Canton/Randolph/Braintree/Quincy, 6700 acres including the adjacent Fowl Meadow Reservation, 150 miles of trails, 20 hills with elevations of 259 to 635 feet above sea level, several ponds, swimming, AMC camp. Headquarters: 695 Hillside St., Milton, MA, 617-698-1802, www.state.ma.us/mdc/blue.htm. Trail map ($1) available at the headquarters and at the Trailside Museum on Rte. 138, just north of Rte. 128. Strenuous hike routes on the Conditioning Hikes page.
- Breakheart Reservation, 177 Forest St., Saugus, MA, (781) 233-0834, 700 acres, 7 rocky hills w/views, 2 ponds, swimming, Saugus River. Additional entrance and parking at the Northeast Vocational High School, Farm St., Wakefield. Trail map in box at the Forest St. entrance and online at www.saugus.org/FOBR. Friends of Breakheart Reservation: www.saugus.org/FOBR.
- Cutler Park Reservation, Kendrick St., Needham, MA, 800 acres, pond, Charles River. Map: USGS Boston South
- Middlesex Fells Reservation, Stoneham/Winchester/Medford/Melrose, 2060 acres, 50 miles of trails and fire roads, hilly, rocky woodlands, 5 ponds, 5 reservoirs, 2 lookout towers, cascade waterfall. Headquarters: 4 Woodland Road. Stoneham, MA 02180, 781-662-5230. Excellent trail map available by mail by sending a SASE (with 2 first class stamps for each map) along with a personal check or money order made out the The Friends of Middlesex Fells Reservation (or FOF) for $5.00 per map to: Friends of the Fells, PO Box 560057, W. Medford, MA, 02156. Allow 2 to 3 weeks. 781-662-2340. Ordering information is also at the Friends of the Fells web site, www.fells.org, and at the MDC web site, www.state.ma.us/mdc/reserv.htm, follow the link to the Middlesex Fells. The map is also sold at the Bookends Bookstore in Winchester center and The Map Shack in Wakefield (addresses below). Strenuous hike routes on the Conditioning Hikes page.
- Quabbin Reservation, Belchertown, MA, (413) 323-7221, 40,000 acres of land open to the public plus a 25,000-acre reservoir and a 14,500-acre closed wildlife sanctuary. Trail map: at The Map Shack (below) and at the Petersham Country Store, Petersham Common. Gate 40, Rte. 32A, 4 mi. south of Petersham Common, Petersham, MA, provides access to the Dana townsite and the east-central shore of Quabbin. Many other access points.
- Stony Brook Reservation, Turtle Pond Pkwy, West Roxbury/Hyde Park, MA, 617-361-6161. 475 acres, 12 miles of trails and bike paths, pond.
- Wachusett Reservoir, Clinton/Boylston/W. Boylston, MA, (508) 365-3272, watershed and shoreline trails, large reservoir.
Town Parks and Conservation Lands
Operated by town conservation commissions. Trail maps are generally available at the town halls.
- Acton Conservation Lands, Acton Conservation Commission, Acton Town Hall, 472 Main St., Acton, MA, (508) 264-9631, excellent website with maps: www.eglobalreach.com/ActonLSCOM. Includes the Acton Arboretum, Acton Town Forest, Grassy Pond & Nagog Hill Conservation Areas, Great Hill Rec. Area, Nashoba Brook & Spring Hill Conservation Areas, and Stonymeade Conservation Area.
- Andover Conservation Lands, Andover Conservation Commission, Andover Village Improvement Society, Andover Trails Committee, www.town.andover.ma.us/commun/trails/maps.htm. Includes the Fish Brook/Rafton/Bald Hill/Wood Hill Reservations (664 contiguous acres), Deer Jump/Spaulding/Merrimack River Reservations (240 acres), Goldsmith Woodlands, Haggetts Pond Reservation, Shawsheen River Reservation, and Skug River Reservation. Trail maps in "The Bay Circuit and AVIS Guide to Walks in Andover", see the guidebooks below.
- Ashland Town Forest, Winter St., Ashland, MA, 524 acres, map available at Ashland Town Hall
- Athol Conservation Lands, Athol Conservation Commission, Memorial Building, Athol, MA 01331. Includes Bearsden Forest at end of Bearsden Rd., off Rte. 2A, 1000 acres, about 20 mi. of trails, several large hills with views, 2 small reservoirs, duck pond, brooks, bounded on north and west by the Millers River. Trail map at http://homepage.mac.com/efortmiller/files/xc/bearsden.html
- Bare Cove Park, Beal St., Hingham, MA, 600 acres, 10 miles of trails, Back River estuary, salt marsh, fresh water marsh, adjacent to Great Esker Park (Weymouth) and to Stodder's Neck Reservation (MDC).
- Bedford Conservation Lands, Bedford Conservation Commission, Town Offices, 10 Mudge Way, Bedford, MA, 781-275-6211, www.town.bedford.ma.us/conservation/cons_areas.html, has free guide and maps. Includes the Fawn Lake/Wilderness Park Conservation Areas (120 acres) and Hartwell Town Forest/Jordan Conservation Area (160 acres).
- Carlisle Conservation Lands, Carlisle Conservation Commission, Carlisle Town Hall, Westford Rd. (Rte 225), Carlisle, MA, 978-369-0336, www.carlisle.org/conservation.htm. Trail maps in "Trails in Carlisle" available for $5 at Carlisle Town Hall. Includes Cranberry Bogs Conservation Land on Curve St., 330 acres, 4 miles of trails, adjacent to Great Brook Farm State Park and to Carlisle Pines State Forest.
- Chelmsford Conservation Lands Includes the Cranberry Bog and the Thanksgiving Forest/Russell Millpond conservation lands, both on the Carlisle town line and both adjacent to the Great Brook Farm State Park.
- Dogtown Common, Cherry St., Gloucester, MA, 3000 acres, ponds, glacial erratic boulders, bog boardwalk, quarries. Map: USGS Rockport MA and Dogtown Common Trail Map available by sending SASE to: Environmental Planner, Planning Dept., Forbes Bldg., 41 Washington St., Gloucester MA 01930.
- Duxbury Beach, Duxbury, MA, 4.5-mi. barrier beach, Great Salt Marsh - a top East Coast stopover for migratory birds. Trail map in "Country Walks Near Boston".
- Duxbury Conservation Lands, Duxbury, MA. Includes North Hill Marsh (actually a large pond) and Island Creek Pond, both on Mayflower St., and Loring Cranberry Bogs on East St. Trail map in "Mountain Biking Near Boston".
- Easton Conservation Lands, Easton, MA. Includes Wheaton Farm on Bay Rd. (718 acres).
- Emerald Necklace, Boston Parks and Recreation Department, 617-635-4505. Includes the Back Bay Fens, Muddy River, Olmsted Park, Jamaica Pond, Arnold Arboretum, and Franklin Park. Emerald Necklace Conservancy website: www.emeraldnecklace.org.
- Great Esker Park, Elva Rd., Weymouth, MA, on west side of the Back River and its salt marsh. Highest esker in North America (90 ft.), reversing falls, 237 acres, 6 miles of trails, adjacent to Bare Cove Park.
- Groton Town Forest, Groton, MA. Nashua & Squannacook Rivers. Map in "Mountain Biking Near Boston".
- Horn Pond and Horn Pond Mountain, Lake Ave. at Arlington St., Woburn, MA. Woburn Conservation Office, (781) 932-4403. Map: USGS Boston North. 2-mi. walk around the pond and views from the summit of Horn Pond Mountain (220 ft. elev. gain).
- Lincoln Conservation Lands 2000 acres, 70 miles of trails, trail map at the Lincoln Town Hall, Lincoln Rd., Lincoln, MA 01773, 781-259-8850, and at The Shop at Walden Pond. Also map in "Country Walks Near Boston". See below for guidebook.
- Lynn Woods, 106 Penny Brook Rd., Lynn, MA, 781-477-7123, Lynn Park Department, 2000 acres, hilly, rocky, 3 very large ponds, stone tower. Entrances and parking at the end of Penny Brook Rd. (off Walnut St.) and at the end of Great Woods Rd. (off Lynnfield St.). Trail map in box at the entrances and online at www.flw.org. Also map in "Country Walks Near Boston". Friends of Lynn Woods: www.flw.org.
- Mine Falls Park, Nashua, NH. 325 acres. Trails along the Nashua River and a 3-mi. historic canal. From Rte. 95/128 exit 32 in Burlington, take Rte. 3 N to Everett Tpk., Nashua exit 5A, left on Simon St., left on Whipple St. to parking lot at end.
- Needham Conservation Lands Includes Needham Town Forest; Ridge Hill Reservation, 463 Charles River Rd., 350 acres.
- Newton Parks and Conservation Lands Includes Auburndale Park, Cold Spring Park, Webster Conservation Area.
- Nobscot Hill, Framingham/Sudbury, MA, 600 ft. hill w/firetower open late summer and fall, adjacent to Sudbury conservation land and Boy Scouts reservation, 800 acres total.
- Northborough Conservation Lands, Northborough, MA. Includes Mt. Pisgah on Smith Rd. (190 acres plus adjacent conservation lands)
- Pine Banks Park, Malden/Melrose, MA, Main St. at Malden/Melrose line.
- Prospect Hill Park, Waltham, MA. 252 acres. Former ski slope that rises steeply 400 feet from the parking lot on Totten Pond Rd. Map: USGS Maynard.
- Sherborn Conservation Land Trail map in "Sherborn Walks", see guidebooks below.
- Stow Town Forest, Bradley Ln., Stow, MA, www.stowconservationtrust.org/land.htm, http://www.haystack.edu/~dps/stow-con.htm. Map in "Mountain Biking Near Boston".
- Sudbury Conservation Land Maps at Conservation Commission office, Sudbury library, town clerk's office and online at http://home.att.net/~sudbury.concom/conserva.htm
- Wayland Conservation Lands 2000 acres. Wayland Conservation Commission near jct. Rtes. 126/27 and 20, 508-358-3669.
- Wellesley Conservation Land, Wellesley, MA. Includes Fuller Brook, Longfellow Pond.
- Weston Conservation Land, Weston, MA. 1900 acres, 68 miles of trails, several ponds and a reservoir. Weston Forest and Trail Association trail map ($10) at the Conservation Commission office next to the Town Hall, see www.weston-forest-trail.org. Also map in "Mountain Biking Near Boston" and in "Walks on Weston Conservation Land: A Guide", see guidebooks below and the Local Walks Authors page.
- Wilmington Town Forest, Rte. 38, Wilmington, MA, contains a section of the historic Middlesex Canal.
Trustees of Reservations Properties
Operated by The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR), Long Hill, 572 Essex St., Beverly, MA, 01915, 978-921-1944, www.thetrustees.org, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Trail maps for most properties can be ordered by mail ($2 post-paid) from the above address. See www.thetrustees.org for availability. Some of their larger properties in eastern Massachusetts are:
- Appleton Farms Grass Rides, Hamilton, MA, 228 acres, 5 mi. of trails.
- Crane Memorial Reservation/Crane Wildlife Refuge, Ipswich/Essex, MA, 2100 acres, 4-mile beach, 8 miles of dunes trails, salt marsh, Castle Neck River, Essex Bay. Map at entrance. Entrance fee.
- Noanet Woodlands, Dover, MA, 600 acres, 4 ponds, mill dam, view from Noanet Peak. Adjacent to Hale Reservation. Map in "Country Walks Near Boston".
- Noon Hill and Shattuck Reservations, adjacent reservations on Noon Hill Rd. and Causeway Dr., respectively, Medfield, MA, 440 acres plus adjacent Army Corps of Engineers land on the Charles River and Stop River, several miles of trails, pond, Charles River, view from Noon Hill.
- Old Town Hill Reservation, Newbury, MA, 978-356-4351, 497 acres.
- Ravenswood Park, Western Ave. (Rte. 127), Gloucester, MA, 500 acres, 7 miles of trails, 3 miles of carriage roads. Adjacent to Stage Fort Park and Half Moon Beach.
- Rocky Narrows Reservation, Forest St., Sherborn, MA, 157 acres, hilly trail along the Charles River with clifftop view. Adjacent to Sherborn Town Forest.
- Rocky Woods and Fork Factory Brook Reservations, Hartford St., Medfield, MA, 640 acres total, extensive trail system, 4 ponds, Mill Brook, mill site.
- Ward Reservation, Prospect Rd., Andover, MA, 640 acres, 10 miles of trails, 420-ft. Holt Hill with views and ring of solstice stones, quaking peat bog with boardwalk. Map in "Country Walks Near Boston".
- Weir Hill Reservation, Stevens St., North Andover, MA, 192 acres, 4 miles of trails, twin drumlins rise 300 feet above shores of Lake Cochichewick and Stevens Pond.
- Whitney and Thayer Woods, Cohasset/Hingham, Rte. 3A Hingham, MA, 804 acres, glacial boulders, rhododendron trail, holly grove, ocean view from Turkey Hill. Adjacent to Wompatuck State Park. Map in "Country Walks Near Boston".
- World's End Reservation, Martin's Lane, Hingham, MA, 251 acres, 8 mi. of trails and carriage roads, pond, salt marsh. Very scenic peninsula park designed by Olmsted with views of Boston harbor and islands. Map in "Country Walks Near Boston". Entrance fee.
Audubon Wildlife Sanctuaries
Operated by the Massachusetts Audubon Society (MAS), 208 South Great Rd., Lincoln, MA 01773, 1-800-AUDUBON, 781-259-9500, www.massaudubon.org. Trail maps and driving maps online at www.massaudubon.org and trail maps available at the entrances. Sanctuaries are closed on Mondays. $4 entrance fee for nonmembers of the Audubon Society.
- Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary, 280 Eliot St. (Rte. 16), S. Natick, MA 01760, 508-655-2296, 772 acres, 9 miles of trails, ponds, marsh boardwalk, Charles River, nature center. Map in "Country Walks Near Boston".
- Flat Rock Wildlife Sanctuary, Ashburnham Hill Rd., Fitchburg, MA, 341 acres, 6 miles of trails, view from Flat Rock.
- Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, Topsfield/Wenham/Hamilton, 87 Perkins Row, Topsfield, MA 01983, 978-887-9264, 2800 acres, 10 mi. of trails, 8 mi. of the Ipswich River. Map in "Country Walks Near Boston".
- Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, 293 Moose Hill St., Sharon, MA 02067, 781-784-5691, 2280 acres, pond, bog boardwalk, views from Moose Hill fire tower and Bluff Head cliffs. Map in "Country Walks Near Boston".
- Wachusett Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary, 113 Goodnow Rd., Princeton, MA 01541, 978-464-2712, 1024 acres, 11 miles of trails, 0.5 mi. swamp boardwalk, views from open summit of 1300 ft. Brown Hill, 2 ponds.
Other Private Reservations
These are privately owned reservations that are open to the public for hiking, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. Trail maps are available at the entrance.
- Arnold Arboretum (Harvard University), 125 Arborway, Jamaica Plain, MA, 617-524-1717, www.arboretum.harvard.edu. Botanical garden designed by Frederick Law Olmsted with 14,000 trees and shrubs, views from Peters Hill (235 ft. drumlin) and Bussey Hill (190 ft.), 265 acres, several miles of paths. Trail map at the Visitor Center and in "Country Walks Near Boston".
- Beaver Brook Association, 117 Ridge Rd., Hollis, NH, (603) 465-7787, 1700 acres, 35 miles of trails and fire roads, 14 ponds, beaver dams, Beaver Brook, Nissitissit River, no hunting. Operated by a nonprofit charitable educational corporation. Map: $1, in box at main lot and at the office, also USGS Townsend MA.
- Estabrook Woods, Estabrook Rd., Concord/Carlisle, MA, www.estabrookwoods.org, www.walden.org/scholarship/e/ells_steve/estabrook. 1200 acres, 3 ponds, marsh, esker. Consists of the Harvard University Museum of Comparative Zoology Concord Field Station (700 acres), land owned by the Middlesex School, and Concord and Carlisle conservation lands. Map in "Mountain Biking Near Boston".
- Hale Reservation, Westwood/Dover, 80 Carby St., Westwood, MA, (781) 326-1770, www.halereservation.com. Operated by a private non-profit educational organization, open to the public. 1100 acres, 20 mi. of trails, 4 ponds, view from Powissett Peak. Adjacent to Noanet Woodlands. Map: at the entrance.
- Mount Auburn Cemetery, 580 Mt. Auburn St., Cambridge, MA, 617-547-7105. Landscaped arboretum with many historic figures, 174 acres, 10 mi. of roads, 10 mi. of paths, 4 ponds, 600 varieties of trees, excellent birding. Map available near the entrance and in "Country Walks Near Boston".
Long-Distance Linear Trails
- Bay Circuit Trail, when completed, will be nearly 200 miles long, connecting parks and conservation land all the way around metropolitan Boston. Sections of the trail have been completed in Newbury, Ipswich, Topsfield, Middleton, Boxford, N. Andover, Andover, and elsewhere. Information, including a detailed trail guide, is at www.serve.com/baycircuit. Bay Circuit Alliance website: www.baycircuit.org.
- Merrimack River Trail follows the Merrimack River in Massachusetts from Tyngsboro to Newbury. Maps in the publications of the towns along the way.
- Midstate Trail, 94 miles from Mt. Watatic in Ashburnham, Mass. on the New Hampshire state line south to the Douglas State Forest on the Rhode Island state line, passing through the Leominster, Wachusett Mtn., Rutland, and Douglas State Parks. Web site: www.midstatetrail.org. Trail map: the spiral-bound Midstate Trail Guide and map, 4th edition, can be purchased by mail for $13.50, post-paid. Ordering information at www.midstatetrail.org. Also, see www.mtwatatic.com.
- Tully Trail, a 22-mile loop from Tully Mountain in Orange north to Tully Lake, Doane's Falls, Jacob's Hill, and Royalston Falls in Royalston, then south through the Warwick State Forest. Trail map (partial): www.nae.usace.army.mil/recreati/tul/tulhome.htm.
- Wapack Trail, extends 21 miles from the northern end of the Midstate Trail at Mt. Watatic in Ashburnham, Mass. to Greenville, NH with an additional 7 miles of side trails. The Wapack crosses the summits of Watatic, Pratt, New Ipswich, Barrett and Temple mountains, then ascends the South and North Pack Monadnocks and has many scenic vistas from open ledges. Web site: Friends of the Wapack Trail, www.wapack.org. Trail map: the excellent 95-page Wapack Trail Guide and map can be purchased by mail for $11.00, post-paid. Ordering information is on the General Store page of www.wapack.org.
- Warner Trail, 30 miles from Canton, Mass. to Diamond Hill State Park, Rhode Island, passing through the Moose Hill Audubon Sanctuary and the F. Gilbert Hills State Forest. Trail description included in AMC Mass. and R. I. Trail Guide. Free map available from Friends of Warner Trail, PO Box 85, Mansfield, MA 02048. See also the AMC Southeastern Mass. Chapter, www.amcsem.org/warner.htm.
The 27-mile Middlesex Canal carried cargo and passengers in horse- and oxen-drawn barges between Charlestown and Lowell from 1803 to 1853. There are walkable remnants of the canal in Woburn, Wilmington, Billerica and Chelmsford. The Middlesex Canal Association, www.middlesexcanal.org, operates the Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitors Center in the Faulkner Mills, 71 Faulkner St., N. Billerica, MA, 978-670-2740, open Sat. and Sun. 12-4 PM, April through September. Their "Middlesex Canal Guide and Maps" by Burt VerPlanck ($17) is available at the museum and at their walks and contains detailed maps and driving directions for the entire canal route.
- AMC Massachusetts and Rhode Island Trail Guide, 7th edition, published by Appalachian Mountain Club Books, 1995, paperback, 384 pages, $16.95. Limited trail maps - the only ones in eastern Mass are Blue Hills, Dogtown Commons, and Wachusett Mountain.
- AMC Southern New Hampshire Trail Guide, published by Appalachian Mountain Club Books, 1999, paperback, 256 pages, $16.95. Limited trail maps (only Mount Cardigan, Mount Monadnock, and Bear Brook and Pawtuckaway State Parks).
- The Bay Circuit and AVIS Guide to Walks in Andover, Andover Trails Committee and Andover Village Improvement Society (AVIS), $9. Available at Moor and Mountain and by mail, see www.thecompass.org/amcandover.
- The Bay Circuit Guide to Walks in and around Boxford, Boxford Trails Assn./Boxford Open Land Trust (BTA/BOLT) , office on second floor above Boxford Community Store, 978-887-7031.
- The Bay Circuit Guide to Walks in and around Ipswich, Ipswich Bay Circuit Trail Committee. Available at Ipswich town clerk's office, library, and on line at www.thecompass.org/ipswichbaycircuit.
- Country Walks Near Boston, 3rd edition, by Alan Fisher, 2000, Rambler Books, $14.95. Covers 29 areas with a useful, albeit simplified, map of each, plus photographs and extensive historical notes.
- A Guide to Conservation Land in Lincoln, Lincoln Land Conservation Trust, Box 22, Lincoln Center, MA 01773, $12. Available at Lincoln Town Hall, at the Drumlin Farm bookshop, Rte. 117 in Lincoln, and at The Shop at Walden Pond, Rte. 126 in Concord.
- Hiking Southern New England, 2nd edition, by Rhonda and George Ostertag, Globe Pequot Press, 2002, $16.95.
- Historic Quabbin Hikes by J.R. Greene, describes the woodlands around the Quabbin Reservoir and the towns which once stood there.
- Mountain Biking Near Boston, by Stuart Johnstone, Active Publications, $13.95. In spite of its name, this is an excellent hiking guide. It covers 30 of the best hiking areas in eastern Massachusetts, including points of interest and a complete trail map of each, except trails where bikes are prohibited.
- Sherborn Walks, published by Sherborn Forest and Trail Association, $10. Has maps and descriptions of more than 20 properties, available at the Sherborn town hall and at the Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Walks on Weston Conservation Land: A Guide by Elmer E. Jones, Weston Forest & Trail Press, 1999, $15. Available at Dragon Books in Weston center at 391 Boston Post Rd.; at the Drumlin Farm bookshop, Rte. 117 in Lincoln; at the AMC bookstore, 5 Joy St., Boston; at www.weston-forest-trail.org/membership.html; and at AMC local walks led by those following in the footsteps of Elmer who has since passed on. More information on the Local Walks Authors page.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 7.5 by 15 minute quadrangle folded topographic maps show only a few of the hiking trails, but they are excellent for general orientation and topography. They cover an area of about 9 by 13 miles at a scale of 1 inch = 2083 ft. and are available at the stores listed below (about $6 each). They are also available on CD-ROM and online - see www.mapping.usgs.gov and www.state.ma.us/mgis.
Stores Carrying Maps and Hiking Guides
- AMC Bookstore, 5 Joy St., Boston, MA, also online at www.outdoors.org and by phone, 800-262-4455. Carries the AMC trail guides.
- Barnes and Noble Bookseller, 98 Middlesex Tpk, Burlington, MA, 781-273-3871, and other locations. Carries trail guides.
- Bookends Bookstore, 559 Main St., Winchester, 781-721-5933, M-F 9-8, Sat 9-6, Sun 12-5, www.bookendswinchester.com. Carries the Middlesex Fells Reservation map only ($6.98).
- Globe Corner Bookstore, Church and Palmer Streets in Harvard Square, Cambridge, 617-497-6277, carries guidebooks and maps, including USGS topos
- The Map Shack, 253 North Ave., Wakefield, MA (opp. Wakefield RR sta.), 781-213-7989, 1-800-617-6277, M-F 8:15-5:30, Sat. 8:15-2, www.baldwinmapshack.com/ has online catalog. Carries USGS topo maps, AMC, ADK, ATC, Quabbin Reservoir, & other maps, trail guides, "Mtn. Biking Near Boston", topo CD's, etc.
- Moor & Mountain, 3 Railroad St., Andover, MA (opp. former RR sta.).
- Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), 279 Salem St. (Rte. 129 at Rte. 128 exit 40), Reading, MA, 781-944-5103, M-F 10-9, Sat. 10-7, Sun. 11-6, 375 Cochituate Rd. (Rte. 30), Framingham, MA, 508-270-6325, www.rei.com.
- The Shop at Walden Pond, Rte. 126, Concord, MA (at Walden Pond Reservation). Carries the Lincoln Conservation Lands Map.
- Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) Carries trail guides and USGS topo maps.
- 1041 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215, 617-254-4250
- 91 Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington, MA 01803, 781-229-9797
- Dedham Plaza, 765 Providence Hwy, Dedham, MA 02026, 781-461-0160
- 1400 Worcester St. (Rte. 9), Natick, MA 01760, 508-872-7915
- North Shore Mall, Rtes. 128 & 114, Peabody, MA 01960, 978-977-06
T-Accessible Hiking Areas (added June 13, 2014 - more submissions welcome)
The Blue Hills got their name from the English explorers who noticed a bluish hue coming from the landscape when viewing from a distance.
Depending on where you would like to go on the reservation, you can take a variety of routes.
West Area (Trailside Museum, Blue Hills Ski Area & Houghton’s Pond): Take the Red Line to Ashmont Station and connect with the Mattapan High Speed Center bus route No. 716. If traveling to Houghton’s Pond, stay on the bus past the Trailside Museum. Exit bus at Blue Hill River Road in front of Dunkin Donuts. Cross at the light and walk 1 mile to the left on Blue Hill River Road to Houghton’s Pond.
Central Area (Chickatawbut Overlook): Take the Red Line to Ashmont Station. Take the No. 240 bus to the Randolph Avenue and Chickatawbut Road intersection.
East Area (St. Moritz Pond & Shea Rink - best T-accessible starting location): Take the Red Line towards Braintree to Quincy Center. Then take the No. 238 bus to West Street and Willard Street intersection.
Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum is the oldest in North America, and one of the world’s leading centers for plant biodiversity study. It is also a National Historic Landmark, designed by infamous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead. If you get thirsty on the trails, pop into the nearby Sam Adams brewery.
Take the Orange Line towards Forest Hills to the end of the line. The Arboretum is immediately north of the T stop.
Prospect Hill has hiking trails ranging from difficult to easy-moderate. While you're out there, take a break and enjoy the stunning views.
Take the Red Line to Central Square, Cambridge, walk to the 70A Bus towards North Waltham, Take the 70A Bus to Lexington Street opposite Lincoln Street and walk about 15 minutes to the park (several routes possible - see map).
Boston Harbor Islands
The Boston Harbor Islands have it all, from beaches to boats to biking. Travel to Bumpkin or Grape Island for a glimpse of nature on the best hiking trails.
Take the Blue Line to the Aquarium. Walk to Long Wharf-North and take the ferry to the islands. Take a connecting ferry from Georges to get to Bumpkin and Grape Island.
Middlesex Fells Reservation
Just five miles north of the city, Middlesex Fells Reservation offers city-dwellers the chance to go hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing, canoeing and kayaking. In other words, you won't be bored!
Option 1: Take the Orange Line to Sullivan Sq. Station, and then take the 95 Bus to intersection of Playstead Rd @Winthrop St (end of the line). This is the southwesternmost entry to the Western Middlesex Fells.
Option 2: Take the Orange Line to Wellington Station, and then take the 100 Bus to circle over I-93 where Fellsway West meets S. Border Rd. (Medford). Short walk along S. Border Rd. to Bellevue Pond and trails to Wright's Tower and Western Fells. on Woodland Rd. near circle @Elm Street in Medford.
Option 3: Take the Orange Line to Wellington Station, and then take the 99 Bus to Flynn Rink on Woodland Rd. near circle @Elm Street in Medford. Excellent trails in Eastern Fells accessible from both west and east sides of Woodland Rd. from Flynn Rink parking area.
Option 4: Take the Orange Line to Oak Grove Station, from W side of station walk N along Washington St. two blocks to L on Glenrock Ave. to R on Brazil St. Enter Fells via trail on left (west) side of Brazil St. This is the easternmost entry to the Middlesex Fells and the best T-accessible starting location.
Option 5: Take the Orange Line to Oak Grove Station, transfer to 132 Bus along Washington St. and W. Wyoming Ave. to end of line at Fellsway East/Pond St. Enter trails on W side of Fellsway East to northernmost section of Eastern Fells.
Stony Brook Reservation
Take Orange Line to Forest Hills Station (and of the line), transfer to 34E Bus along Washington St. to stop at Lagrange St., short walk S to Stony Brook Reservation and trails.