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Hiking & State Parks

Wow, can you believe how warm it's getting?  And 82 tomorrow! 

A few of you mentioned that you liked my post last week on where to go to enjoy nature and outdoors.   Here's the result of our poll, not the most accurate, but does seem like many people are heading out more, especially with this gorgeous weather!    Some of the suggestion you have include Blue Hills for hiking, Carson Beach (yes great for biking too), and the Public Garden.


MLK mom Kristin wrote back with her list.  I thought you might like to see it too. :)  I've only been to the closer ones on her list, so I look forward to checking out more!

Right in the city:

  1. Danehy Park for huge fields and some biking.
  2. North Point Park for pretty views of the Charles and biking/scootering
  3. Boston Common / Public Garden for scootering and beautiful flowers (we have only been on weekdays when it is very quiet, I imagine weekends may be too busy)


A bit further out:

  1. Great Brook Farm State Park, Carlisle - for hiking - there are farm animals, cranberry bogs, and baby geese in one of the ponds right now.
  2. Gore Place, Waltham - for wandering around and seeing the sheep and chickens, and building bridges over the brook
  3. Purgatory Chasm State Reservation, Sutton,  for a fun short hike through a rocky gorge, then explore the surrounding trails to make it a longer hike 
  4. Harold Parker State Forest, Andover, for fun "glacial erratics" (huge boulders that were dropped here and there by receding glaciers) and a large beaver dam
  5. Mount Watatic and Mount Wachusett for nice views at the top. Watatic is a longer hike but very doable for elementary school kids. For Wachusett, if you take Pine Hill Trail on the way up, it is a short steep climb to the top, and then you can explore the large network of other trails on the way down. Currently quite muddy and gets crowded on weekends.
  6. Wright Woods in Concord for a lovely network of trails through tall pines, connects to Walden Pond so you can park at the Wright Woods trailhead and hike to Walden, then walk around Walden (currently only can walk counterclockwise due to social distancing), then continue on to Fairhaven Bay for a longer hike. 
  7. Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Concord has wildlife and marshes under beautiful open sky
  8. Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge, Sudbury, has tons of wildlife (turtles, evidence of beavers, herons, snakes, etc) as well as WWII ammunition bunkers that line the main path (Joey's Trail).

Hiking tips:

  • Bring tons of snacks/water. Wear layers. We tell stories on our hikes for one of our kids who needs that to remain interested (we've also brought Playaway audiobooks from the library in the past).
    • Some kids may be motivated by geocaching - we've started doing that (though we do not actually open the geocache and sign the logbook due to coronavirus) - it's fun to work off the GPS/clues and log the cache when you find it (this is through the Geocaching app - we just have the free version)
    • The AllTrails app is worth downloading, both so you can have a trail map and because you can filter for hikes that meet your criteria (length, elevation, difficulty). Our kids know that when we hike, we usually get to go out for takeout afterwards (lunch or dinner) so that's something they look forward to.

    Thank yoou Kristin!  This is so helpful, especially for us since we have't done much hiking yet.

    If you have other tips to share,  write back and let me know. :)

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