(Credit: Thinkstock)

(Credit: Thinkstock)

For a complete listing of state parks and trails contact the Department of Conservation and Recreation located in Boston. Most reserves have more than one entrance and are easily accessible throughout their routes with parking and access trails. For the most updated information, it is best to contact the office if traveling for the first time.

Department Of Conservation And Recreation (DCR)
251 Causeway St., Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 626-1250
mass.parks@state.ma.us
Bunker Meadows Trail
Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, Topsfield
Level: Easy

Just starting off? Bring along the paddle boat or canoe, picnic basket and the kiddies. The Bunker Meadow’s Trail is a wood paved trail that twists and turns around marshlands, shore lines and meadows. Take along a well stocked backpack and give yourself a full day adventure. There will be plenty of wildlife to see, and nooks to explore. Ipswich River Basin traverses a full twelve miles for those who are able to take it up a notch or two. Sunscreen, water bottles, insect repellant, trail mixes and wide brimmed hat are all you need to feel comfortable, no matter which trail you chose to take. Don’t forget the observation tower trail, the views are spectacular.

Blue Trail
Charles Ward Reservation, Andover
Level: Easy

Essex County has well preserved hiking trails throughout its boundaries. Charles Ward Reservation sports a short trek along three hills, each giving the hiker a magnificent view of Boston. Holt Hill is the highest elevation in the area only 2.2 miles in length easily comparable to a few city blocks. This trip a must for the beginner and easily located just north of the metropolis. Two wheeling trail riders are allowed as well, and being wide enough for hikers and bikers is plus. Enjoy farm stands with fresh fruits and ice cream shops to quench the heat along the way.

World’s End Reservation Trail
World’s End Reservation, Hingham
Level: Moderate

World’s End Reservation Trail has a little bit for everyone. Yachts pull up long the jetty’s, bikers venture along the park trails and sight-seers are able to stop along the paths and read up on the history of ancient, well-maintained buildings that once housed the fleets of Boston. Small islands are visible along the entrance to the river at the tip of World’s End and for the water lovers this is definitely the place. The town of Hingham is nested just outside of Quincy and Weymouth along the coast line at Route Three A. Picnic tables are strategically placed no matter which entrance is decided upon. The full reservation boasts 25 miles of hiking trails, so this adventure is more then just a days event. Paved paths are a big plus, enjoy!

Related: Best Hiking Trails Around Boston

Hiking/Bridle Trail
Harold Parker State Forest, No. Andover
Level: Moderate

Harold Parker State Forest of No. Andover is not for the faint of heart. Maps are needed for this 2,000 acre preserve. Troop leaders and nature lovers have it made! Make the trails a place of adventure, find the blueberry and strawberry bushes and bring home baskets full. There is something to find each and every season of the year. Dogs and in some places two wheelers have access, rating this estate at a moderate level. There are plenty of ponds stocked for fishing, and in the winter the chance to have a skate. Small boats are welcome, but be ready to hike

Skyline Trail

The West Fells you will find, is the closest hiking trail to Boston. Volunteer organizations have worked on marking and mapping the Fellsway that begins at Spot Pond of Stoneham traveling through the city of Malden into Medford, a project that has been years in the making. Start off on the pine needle laden paths of the reservoir and make your way past the Stone Zoo to the old Waterworks Department and ice rink. Along the river twisting and turning until the ancient tower is in site. This hike allows for a quick dip in a pond or two, or park along the Fellsway and bring along the canoe. Hikers, be ready to enjoy the  hidden waterfalls, sights and smells of the most beloved of trails just outside of Boston.

Related: Best Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails Near Boston

Freelance Writer Corinne Costantino brings the “Best of Boston” to New England. Her work can be found on Examiner.com