Culturally and historically, Boston is one of the most intriguing cities in the entire U.S. Visitors will not only be in a place of historical significance, but also surrounded by great restaurants, vibrant nightlife, and a flourishing art scene. But, should you find the hustle and bustle of the city to be a bit overwhelming, you can escape the urban sprawl and reconnect with nature with a day hike.
Blue Hills Reservation
If you’re looking for a wide variety of trails surrounded by great scenery, but you don’t want to wander too far from Boston proper, take a trip to the Blue Hills Reservation. Stretching out across 7,000 acres, the park offers more than 125 miles of hiking routes to explore, with options ranging from easy to moderate to downright difficult. Those who want a casual stroll should stick to the 2.5-mile long Wolcott & Border Path, which wanders through pine and hemlock trees along a mostly flat trail. If you’re interested in something a bit more strenuous, give the Skyline Loop a try. Only three miles in length, the trail wanders up and down several large hills, including the 635-foot summit of Great Blue Hill itself.
Middlesex Fells Reservation
With more than 2,575 acres to explore, Middlesex Fells Reservation has plenty to offer any hiker. But it’s the epic Skyline Trail that will attract serious hikers looking for a true challenge. The route leads you over seven miles of incredibly rough and rocky terrain, climbing up and down the local hills in the process. The route passes through thickly wooded forests and past several lakes along the way, making it a scenic walk for those who are up for it. Plan to dedicate about five hours to the trek, and don’t forget to climb up the observation tower to take in some breathtaking views of the landscape.
Its name sounds ominous, but hikers will find a lot to like at World’s End, a nature preserve located just 15 miles outside of the city. The 251-acre park features rolling hills, scenic shorelines, and even beautiful views of the Boston skyline. More importantly, World’s End offers 4.5 miles of walking trails and carriage paths to explore, giving visitors the sense that they have stepped backward in time. Most of the routes range from easy to moderate hiking, making them doable for nearly anyone. Day hikers can stroll through lush forests and wander past granite cliffs while numerous species of birds zip from tree to tree overhead.
In addition to being a great hiking destination, World’s End also offers visitors the opportunity to go kayaking, trail running, birding, and horseback riding as well. In the winter, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are popular, too.
If it’s peace and solitude you’re looking for, head to Breakheart Reservation for a little quiet time on a trail. The 700-acre park straddles the Saugus River and is covered in dense, hardwood forests, making it the perfect destination for an autumn hike in particular. The terrain undulates nicely with rolling hills and rocky outcroppings that stretch 200 feet in height overhead. A network of trails criss-cross the park, wandering past two concealed lakes, as well as along the banks of the river. The routes range from easy to challenging, with steady climbs taking visitors to the tops of the hills for scenic views of Boston.
Breakheart is a good location not only for hikers, but cyclists and equestrian riders too. The waters found within the reservation offer good fishing, and swimming is allowed, too.
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Located about 20 miles out of Boston near the town of Lincoln, travelers will find Mount Misery, which isn’t nearly as daunting as its name would imply. The park covers about 227 acres, and its namesake “mountain” is just a 284-foot hill located at its center. The entire area is teeming with wildlife, making it easy to spot deer, squirrels, chipmunks, and a variety of bird species while wandering along the well marked paths. Wander to the top of the hill, and you’ll find lovely views of both the Sudbury River and Fairhaven Bay as well.
This isolated section of the woods was once a favorite of Henry David Thoreau, and is connected to nearby Walden, which is where most visitors will head.