For your health and enjoyment we have put together a guide to some of our favorite hiking and recreation spots in the greater Boston area. Many are accessible by bus, train or subway, and others by a short car ride.
While enjoying the outdoors, remember:
Take only pictures, leave only footprints. Respect the right of others to tranquility, peace and quiet. Leave vegetation and flowers and other natural features as they are for others to enjoy.
Adams Woods:(Quiet woodland and marshland trails)
From private trail from Mt Misery, turn right at trailhead. When it come to a ‘T’, go left up hill, go straight at top of hill and you will come to the railroad tracks behind Walden Pond. Adams Woods has some quiet, little used wooded trails that weave by marshes and ponds.
Arnold Arboretum: (walking, trees, flowers, picnicking)
125 The Arborway, Jamaica Plain
(Orange Line to Forest Hills, or 39 bus to Custer St.)
265 acres of beauty right off the Jamaicaway and the Arborway in JP. A great place to get away right in the burbs!
Boston Harbor Islands:(seaside scenic and historic walks, camping)
The Boston Harbor Islands were recently added to the National Parks system. Boats from Boston Harbor Cruises leave from the harborfront next the Aquarium, and run hourly from 10 am (every two hours after September 9th) to George’s Island. You can stay there, or take the free water taxis to visit the other islands. For more info, visit their website.
Blue Hills: (long hikes, short hikes, fishing, Trailside Museum)
128 south to route 138 north. (busses 238, 240).
Large reservation south of Boston with Trailside Museum on Rt. 138. Museum has small wildlife zoo. Maps available at the museum, and at the MDC Headquarters on Hillside St. Many trails to chose from, including beautiful Skyline Trail. Can be noisy, (airplanes and 128 traffic), but a great place for a long hike, with varying degrees of difficulty. For a shorter, level hike, look for Ponkapog Pond on the other side of Rt.128.
Broadmoor Wildlife Refuge: (Lovely walks, local plants and wildlife)
Rt. 128 to exit 21, (Rt.16) – west for 7 miles to lot on left (2 miles past South Natick). Actually more a walk than a hike, but a beautiful place with some great plants and wildlife on the banks of the Charles River.
Crow Hills: (nice hike to scenic cliffs; wildlife and birdwatching area.)
From road to Wachusett (Mountain Road), continue south on Rt.140 and look for Redemption Rock parking area on right. Go across road, head back up Rt. 140 100 ft. to yellow blazed (Midstate) trail on right. Great up and down hike to spectacular view from 100 ft. high rock cliffs. Continue along cliffs and follow trail down to loop back at bottom of cliffs by rock climbing area. Quieter, peaceful wooded trail even at the height of hiking season.
Fairhaven Bay: (Scenic riverside trail, wildlife)
Turn left at the trailhead from Mt. Misery, look for signs for Fairhaven Bay. This wonderful, little used trail ends up at a beautiful, large bay of the Sudbury River. This is an excellent wildlife area, with many birds, beaver and deer. Trial may flood farther on.
Flint (Sandy) Pond: (Quiet woodland trails, Decordova Museum)
128 north to Trapelo Road exit, west on Trapelo, straight at end of road to Decordova Museum parking lot on right. At the back of the Decordova parking lot, follow the trail to loop around Flint Pond. At the far end of this trail loop, continue on trail across the street up the hill to Pine Hill, and view of Walden. If you haven’t been through the outdoor Sculpture Park at Decordova, it’s well worth the trip. These sculptures are fantastic, and always changing. There are sculptures and art for everyone, from the serious to the whimsical.
Middlesex Fells: (hiking, biking, picnicking, Stone Zoo)
Exit 33 off route 93. (Oak Grove T stop on Orange Line, Busses 130, 132, 134). Over 50 miles of trails and old roads run through the fells. Nice vistas from the summits of Pine Hill and Bear Hill. A good place for a warm up hike, or just to get away from the city for a while.The Stone Zoo, at 149 Pond St.can be a fun jumping off point if you have kids, or are one yourself.
Moose Hill: (woodland and marshland hiking, education programs)
128 south to 95 south to exit 10, left at top of ramp, right on rt. 27 for 1/2 mile, Left at the Mass Audubon sign on Moose Hill St., follow to the parking lot on left. Maps and other educational info available at the white visitors center. Excellent education programs for children. Cross the street to the B trail to a wonderful boardwalk through the wetlands, then hike onto two sets of bluffs.
Mt. Misery: (Woodland walking, cross-country skiing)
Rt. 117, almost 1 mile west of Rt. 126, parking lot on the right. Nice area to walk or cross country ski, with a fair view from Mt. Misery. The real secret is the private back trail through Adams Woods to Walden Pond. Go right from the parking lot, follow Kettle Trail around to the right to a field; turn left along the left edge of the field 30 yds. to the trailhead sign. Follow the private trail to Adams Woods.
Noanet Woodlands / Hale Reservation: (large wooded hiking area)
128 south, to 135 west for 1/2 mile, left on South St. for 1 mile, left on Chestnut St. to end, right on Dedham St. to signs for Caryl Park. Nice walk to the old millpond, but you can continue and make it a longer hike by heading east beyond the pond. This eventually connects with Hale Reservation for a really long hike, but bring a map – it is easy to get lost here with all the trails. Even if there are lots of cars in the lot, you can find serenity on some of the more remote and little used trails here.
Rocky Woods: (Hiking, cross-country skiing, wildlife)
128 south to 109 south, 5 1/2 miles to sharp right on Hartford St, 1/2 mile to lot on left. Nice trails through woods and wetlands, peaceful and quiet, you can make it into a longer hike by cutting back on different trails.
Wachusett Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary: (smaller Audubon area)
Rt.31 south, to 62 west, .6 mile to Goodnow Road, .9 miles to parking lot. Less strenuous, less crowded, more level hikes. Nice view from Brown Hill.
Wachusett Mountain: (nice hiking, wildlife area with scenic vistas)
Rt. 2 west to Rt. 140 south, right on Mountain Road (follow signs for Wachusett Ski Area). Go past Ski Area Parking lot, to top of hill, State Park Visitors Center on Right. Good hiking area, definitely worth the trip. With many trails up and around this mountain, there is no need to stay on the busy trails like Pine Hill; great views from the mountain top and from vista on Harrington Trail just below Summit Road. Old Indian Trail from Ski Area lot goes through old growth forest, but also crosses ski area.
Walden Pond: (Scenic and historical pondside walk)
Rt. 2 west to Rt. 126 South, parking lot on the left. This is a walk, not a hike by itself. You can stop by Thoreau’s house site, or go swimming on a hot day – remember, you can swim around a large portion of the pond, not just at the often overcrowded beach. From here, Adams Woods is across the train tracks at the back end. Nice, quiet trails also lead to Mt. Misery and Fairhaven Bay.
World’s End: (beautiful, scenic peninsula in Boston Harbor)
Rt. 3 south, exit 14 to 228 north, 6.5 miles, left on 3A south, 1 mi. to left on Summer St., stay straight onto Martins Lane. Designed by Fredrick Law Olmstead, this is a wonderful place with pastureland, woodlands and Rocky Neck for you to visit. Sea breeze makes it a cool spot – but busy – on a hot summer day.
The Appalachian Mountain Club
5 Joy St., Boston, MA 02108, 617-523-0656. The AMC has many guided long and short hikes, from introductory to peak-bagging hikes. Members get their monthly magazine with listings of many great hikes. They also advocate for keeping many areas natural along the east coast. See website.
Massachusetts Trustees of Reservations
572 Essex St., Beverly, MA, 01915-1530 978-921-1944. They are trustees of many historic areas, sites and natural areas. See website.
Mass Audubon Society
208 Great Rd. Lincoln, MA 01773 781-259-9500 owns and administrates many protected areas. See website.
Don’t Forget The Snacks!
Buy in Bulk at Harvest – Trail Mix, Nuts, Granola – we have it all. Bulk means less packaging, and lower prices, too – and you can get as much or as little as you want!