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Best Hiking Spots Around Boston

April 25, 2011 1:44 PM

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File image (credit: AP)

File image (credit: AP)

Forget the White Mountains. You might be surprised to learn just how many hiking trails are much closer to home. Whether you’re out for a leisurely stroll or a challenging climb, there’s something for everyone just minutes from Boston. Next time you’re looking for a quick, outdoors escape, skip the long car ride and try one of these local parks instead. – Sean Barnacoat

Blue Hills Reservation

Milton, MA
www.mass.gov/dcr/parks…

Home to 125 miles of trails and covering some surprisingly rugged terrain, Blue Hills Reservation serves as a wilderness oasis inside Route 128. For a moderate hike, park your car at the Reservation Headquarters by Houghton’s Pond and follow the Skyline Trail loop to the top of Great Blue Hill. At the 635-foot summit, climb just a few more steps up the Eliot Tower and enjoy a spectacular view across Boston to the ocean. For a more challenging ascent, park at the Trailside Museum and take the Red Dot Trail loop. Be prepared for a grueling and somewhat steep ascent over rocky, uneven ground.

Breakheart Reservation

Saugus, MA
www.mass.gov/dcr/parks…

Featuring a river, two freshwater lakes, and seven hills rising above 200 feet, Breakheart Reservation is sure to please just about any outdoor enthusiast. A short drive from Boston, this North Shore gem is a popular spot to hike, fish, swim, and even bird watch. Follow the Ridge Trail as it meanders over several of the hills, providing gorgeous views of the Boston skyline.

Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary

Natick, MA
www.massaudubon.org…

If you’re hoping to spot a variety of wildlife, Broadmoor is the place. This picturesque MetroWest sanctuary includes nine miles of trails that wander through fields, woodlands, and wetlands. Follow the boardwalk along Indian Brook and over the marsh. Pack your binoculars, camera, or sketchpad and keep your eyes peeled for any number of animals.

fells rebeccamooneyfromsite Best Hiking Spots Around Boston

(credit: fell.org/Rebbeca Mooney)

Middlesex Fells

Stoneham, MA
www.fells.org

Easily accessible from Interstate 93, this 2,600-acre parcel of hills, forests, wetlands, ponds, and meadows is the perfect playground for hikers of all levels. If you’re feeling ambitious, try the eight-mile-long Skyline Trail which boasts an elevation gain of 1,600 feet. Following the outer perimeter of the park, this path crosses a number of rocky hills, including two with lookout towers. If that sounds a bit too intense, try one of the shorter hikes. The Cross Fells Trail, Dark Hollow Pond Trail, and Bear Hill trail will not disappoint. And don’t be surprised if you run into some wildlife along the way!

noanetwoods Best Hiking Spots Around Boston

(credit: thetrustees.org)

Noanet Woodlands

Dover, MA
www.thetrustees.org…

Heading southwest from Boston, spend an afternoon exploring the Noanet Woodlands in Dover. Home to 17 miles of trails, this 600-acre preserve is a great place for the whole family – and your pet! Check out the waterfall next to an old mill, watch for birds near the park’s four ponds, and enjoy lunch at one of several picnic areas. For a moderately strenuous hike, take the trail up Noanet Peak and reward yourself with a spectacular view all the way to Boston.

Did we miss your favorite local hiking spot? Let us know in the comments below.

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