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5 Awesome Destinations For The Boston Based Hiker

You’re a hiker or trail runner working on your New Hampshire 48 4000 footers… but you live near BOSTON in Massachusetts! The struggle is real! For most simply uprooting your family, destroying your career, and moving north isn’t really an option. Even the most dedicated are weekend warriors at best.

Speaking as a seasoned “Masshole” myself I know the pains of living 3 hours away from the Presidential Range and daydreaming of tramping all over it’s awesomeness. How do I stay in shape? How do I satisfy my desire to get fresh air in my lungs and dirt on my shoes? I hit the local trail systems! Here’s 5 of my favorite spots that are all close to Beantown.

Harold Parker State Forest

Harold Parker Rock Gardens

  • Website
  • Location: Andover, North Andover, Middleton, North Reading
  • Land: Over 3,000 Acres
  • Proximity To Boston: 20 Miles North Of Boston

Harold Parker State Forest is my local stomping grounds! I love this place as it’s a 2 minute ride from my work. I can swing by on my lunch breaks and take a walk or run and be back within an hour. The park is split up between 4 towns and features 11 ponds, as well as 35 miles of doubletrack logging trails. You can run a trail marathon in here if you want! The trails can be twisty and rocky or wide and flat… it’s up to you to choose. This is a multi-use trail so keep an eye out for mountain bikers and horseback riders.

Middlesex Fells Reservation

From a high point at the Fells in Melrose, MA

  • Website
  • Location: Malden, Medford, Stoneham, Melrose, Winchester
  • Land: 2,575 Acres
  • Proximity To Boston: 5 Miles North Of Boston

The Middlesex Fells Reservation is probably the closest nature getaway there is to the city of Boston. Just a few minutes drive grants you access to the 100+ mile trail system that hugs Interstate 93. The Middlesex Fells main feature is the amount of elevation change you can get in a single run or hike. Lots of ups and downs! There’s several high points that grant you an amazing view of the city of boston’s skyline. Along with hiking the Fells is a popular destination for rock climbers, mountain bikers, and cross country skiers.

Blue Hills Reservation

  • Website
  • Location: Quincy To Dedham MA
  • Land: 7,000 Acres
  • Proximity To Boston: 15-20 Miles South Of Boston

Another great location is the Blue Hills Reservation. Boasting a ridiculous 7,000 acre spread featuring 125 miles of trail. Another great spot if you’re looking to get your lungs pumping on some serious ups and downs. In the 22 hill range “Great Blue Hill” reaches an apex height of 635′. From here the southern skyline of Boston is visible and amazing. Blue Hills is a multi-use area and includes areas to rock climb, mountain bike, and hike.

Lowell Dracut Tyngsboro State Forest

  • Website
  • Location: Well, it’s in the name 😉
  • Land: 1,140 Acres
  • Proximity To Boston: 40 Miles North Of Boston

One of my personal favorites since it’s close to home for me is Lowell Dracut Tyngsboro State Forest. Or the “LTD” as it’s been coined with some friends. This is another great spot for hiking, mountain biking, and trail running. Featuring a large well groomed fire road that’s great for getting in a quick run with seemingly endless single track trail that flow off of either side of it. Despite it’s relatively small size there’s a lot of trail in here! Some decent elevation and tricky technical sections will keep you sharp. There’s a lot of Mountain Biker traffic here. Not a bad thing, but something to keep in mind when you’re climbing up a techy hill!

Great Brook Farm State Park

  • Website
  • Location: Carlisle, MA
  • Land: 1,000 Acres
  • Proximity To Boston: 40 Miles North Of Boston

Another gem north of boston. Great Brook Farm features large open landscapes with 20 miles of hiking and walking trail. It’s a beautiful spot full of lush greenery in the spring and summer. In the winter it’s a great spot to practice snowshoeing and cross country ski. An added perk is that there’s an ice cream stand right by the parking lot so you can reward yourself on the way out!

What’s your favorite spot near Boston? Let us know in the comments below!

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