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Boston, a city steeped in rich American history, has much to offer visitors and locals alike. There is great food, spectacular art, and historical sites, and for nature lovers, there is also plenty to enjoy outdoors. If you find yourself in or near Boston, don’t miss out the beautiful trails the area has to offer.

Without further ado, here’s the...

Ultimate guide to Boston hiking trails:

1. Battle Road Trail

Length: 4.6 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation gain: 239 feet
Route type: Point-to-point
Dog friendly: Yes, must be on a leash

The Battle Road Trail is perfect if you’re interested in marshes, woodlands, and history. During the American Revolution, many Minutemen traveled over this same route. The entire journey takes about an hour and a half to complete, depending on how long you stop at each historical marker along the way. The route is accessible all year round, but is most popular from April through October when the weather is mild. The majority of the trail is wheelchair or stroller friendly, but a few steep and sandy sections may require assistance. Bikes are also welcome on the trail.

Man And a Woman Hiking
Products shown KÜHL Engineered Krew.

2. Blue Hills Reservation 

Length: 125 miles
Difficulty: Easy to Hard
Elevation gain: 400 to 1,000+ feet, depending on the trail
Route type: Out-and-back, loop, and point-to-point
Dog friendly: Yes

The Blue Hills Reservation lies south of Boston, stretches over 7,000 acres and offers 125 miles of trails. With a top height of 635 feet, Great Blue Hill is the tallest of the 22 hills in the Blue Hills chain. From the rocky summit, take in views over the entire metropolitan area. Hike through a variety of natural ecosystems along your hike, including meadows, ponds, swamps, and marshes. Consider wearing light clothing if the weather is especially hot, but avoid mosquito bites with long sleeves and pants. 

Bring a trail map with you. One can be purchased at the Blue Hills Trailside Museum or Reservation Headquarters. The small white markers with 4-digit numbers that are displayed at some trail intersections can be used in conjunction with the map to determine exactly where you are on the path. If you’re in need of an easy, yet scenic hike, check out the Blue Hills Trail to Elliot Tower hike. This 1.8-mile loop is perfect for beginners and experts alike. Or, visit the Blue Hills Skyline Trail, which is a 6.7-mile point-to-point hike that typically takes about three hours to complete.

The North Bridge At Sunset
The North Bridge in Concord, Battle Road Trail at sunset. Photo by: Jayyuan.

3. Wachusett Mountain Loop

Length: 6.1 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation gain: 1,847 feet
Route type: Loop
Dog friendly: Yes

Wachusett Mountain is one of Massachusetts' most popular ski resorts. Once the snow melts, this 2,006-foot-high mountain becomes an ideal destination for hiking or mountain biking. The mountain is located just over 60 miles east of Boston and offers many different trails to explore. The Wachusett Mountain Loop is a moderately challenging hike that takes the average hiker anywhere from 3 to 4 hours to complete. 

Some portions of the trail are extremely rocky and may require scrambling. This loop rewards you with excellent views of the forest below and fresh mountain air from above. If you’re looking for a shorter hike, check out the Bicentennial and Pine Hills trail, an out-and-back 1.2-mile hike that will take about an hour to complete.

4. World’s End Trail

Length: 3.8 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation gain: 282 feet
Route type: Loop
Dog friendly: Yes, must be on a leash

Martin's Lane in Hingham is where you will find World's End Trail. There are vibrant rolling hills and rocky shorelines across the 251-acre region. The trail itself wraps around the entire preservation area, for an easy 3.8-mile loop that is great for all ages. Mountain biking, canoeing, and kayaking are also popular in the area. Travel along the routes through both saltwater marshes and woodlands to encounter numerous native plants and birds. This area is a popular destination for many, so expect crowds. The entrance fee is $8 per person ($6 for members); children enter free. 

path through the woods
World's End road. Photo by: liz west.

5. Walden Pond Path

Length: 1.9 miles 
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation gain: 72 feet
Route type: Loop
Dog friendly: No

Walden Pond is a well-known outdoor destination for individuals interested in American history, outdoor living, poetry, minimalism, transcendentalism and so much more. Naturalist author Henry David Thoreau chose to spend years of his life living intentionally alone at Walden Pond. This walk not only circles the pond and passes through the location of Thoreau's cabin, but it also passes by a number of beaches and excellent fishing spots. 

6. Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary Trail

Length: 3.5-miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation gain: 187 feet
Route type: Loop
Dog friendly: No

The Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary is home to many animals including deer, turtles, rabbits, and birds. Bring some delicious bird snacks with you, like sunflower seeds, and the chickadees will gladly eat directly from your hands. The trail itself is an easy and calm 3.5-mile loop, but you can also explore 12 miles of interconnected trails that lead to various adventures. Explore the cool rock grotto that ends at the vernal pool, hike to the observation tower for a bird’s-eye view, or rent a canoe to float down the river. The trails are open from dawn to dusk daily, with an admission fee of $10 per person for nonmembers. The Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area, so leave your dogs and other pets at home. 

Sunset At The Lake
Walden Pond Path. Photo by: Matthew.

7. Halibut Point Trail

Length: 1.6 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation gain: 121 feet
Route type: Loop
Dog friendly: Yes

With its incredible granite that is estimated to be over 400 million years old, Halibut Point is rich in history and a former hot spot for the granite industry. Take the interpretive trail around Halibut State Park and Babson Farm Quarry for a peaceful hike that traverses through the woods and leads to the 60-foot-deep quarry. Enjoy the sounds of waves from the Atlantic Ocean as you meander down the rocky shores. 

8. Ward Trail Loop

Length: 3.6 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation gain: 380 feet
Route type: Loop
Dog friendly: Yes, must be on a leash

Ward Reservation, near North Andover, is a gorgeous area to spend a day connecting with nature. Ward Trail Loop is one of three different main trails that surround the park and progress through flower-filled hills and stunning swamps. The trail's high peaks, Holt Hill and Boston Hill, provide excellent vantage points for viewing the wetlands and meadows that are located below. The circular trail passes through portions of the wetlands, so be prepared to deal with swarms of insects in the summer months. This is a great location if you’re seeking some solitude away from the crowds in Boston. 

Ocean Shore
Halibut point state park. Photo by: Jürgen Hamann.

9. Harold Parker Loop Trail

Length: 16.6 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation gain: 810 feet
Route type: Loop
Dog friendly: Yes

Just 20 miles north of Boston is the bountiful and beautiful Harold Parker State Forest. Around the park, you’ll find many natural features including swamps, ponds, rolling hills, glacial anomalies, and unique rock formations. Harold Parker Loop Trail is a 16.6-mile hike that take the average hiker anywhere from 5 to 6 hours to complete. There’s a plethora of trails that veer off the main trail and lead to various campsites, so you can make this a multi-day trip. If you enjoy mountain biking, this forest is the perfect place to bring your bike, as there are numerous well-maintained biking trails waiting to be explored. 

10. Mount Monadnock 

Length: 3.8 miles
Difficulty: Hard
Elevation gain: 1,774 feet
Route type: Loop
Dog friendly: No

Mount Monadnock is almost 80 miles north of Boston in the state of New Hampshire. The journey is well worth the trip. The trail is a 3.8-mile loop with multiple sections that are incredibly steep and rocky. This hike begins at White Dot Trail and leads to the summit where you’ll be surrounded by sweeping views of the vast forest below. Take White Cross Trail to make your way back down to the parking lot. This trail is not meant for everyone, but those who decide to take the adventure will instantly fall in love with the scenery. There is a $15 entrance fee per vehicle into Mount Monadnock State Park. Depending on the time of year, expect to be around many people. 

Late autumn sunshine in the woodlands
Harold Parker State forest. Photo by: JohnBlottman.

11. Emerald Necklace

Length: 32.5 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation gain: 482 feet
Route type: Loop
Dog friendly: Yes, must be on a leash

Landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted was responsible for the creation of the Emerald Necklace more than a century ago. From Boston Common to Franklin Park, there is a connection of almost 1,000 acres in six different parks. This trail is perfect for a nice day hike, a quick bike ride, or a walk with your dog. There is plenty of peaceful greenery, and at one point, Jamaica Pond offers a beautiful view.

12. The Freedom Trail

Length: 3.4 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation gain: 170 feet
Route type: Point-to-point
Dog friendly: Yes, must be on a leash

The Freedom Trail begins at Boston Common, travels through downtown Boston, and ends in Charlestown at the USS Constitution. The entire trail is easy to find as it’s marked by a red line made of brick and paint. This route takes you to 16 historic sites that tell the story of the founding of our nation. This is the best trail within the city of Boston for an insightful exploration of historical knowledge.

Freedom Trail in Boston
Freedom Trail in Boston. Photo by: Stewie Strout.

Gear to Wear

From Walden Pond to the Freedom Trail, no matter where you hike in and around Boston, make sure you’re comfortable. Your clothes shouldn’t hinder your movement, but they should be breathable, lightweight, stylish, and protect you from the elements. Here are a few ideas:

  • RENEGADE™ Pant - KÜHL’s RENEGADE™ Pant provides much-needed comfort and performance with easy-care material. These pants are extremely durable, breathable, quick-drying, and provide sun protection (UPF 50+). Articulated knees and a gusseted crotch provide freedom of movement. These pants also come with 8 pockets for plenty of storage!
  • KÜHL ENGINEERED™ KREW - The KÜHL ENGINEERED™ KREW short-sleeve shirt is super soft, breathable, and naturally odor-resistant. This crew neck delivers increased airflow on those much-needed hot days, sun protection (UPF 30+) where you need it most, and UPF 20+ protection in breathable, open-knit panels.
  • SOJOURN™ - The SOJOURN™ is the perfect long-sleeve shirt for a hiker's wardrobe. It’s made with quick-drying materials, an odor-resistant finish, and premium sun (UPF 30+) protection so you'll remain fresh and confident in warm weather. 
Two People Walking In The Woods
Product shown Renegade pant.

Explore the Nature of Boston

Boston has so much rich history to discover, but it's also full of natural wonders just waiting to be explored. The city and surrounding area offer plenty of trails that will take you to breathtaking views, scenic outlooks, interesting wildlife, and, of course, historic sites. Enjoy exploring this delightful part of New England!

Featured image by: Michael.

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Sunset Over a Lake
Emily Leikam
Emily is an avid traveler and has been all around the world from Alaska and Iceland to Peru and Bali. Her home base is Nashville, TN and when not traveling you can find her hiking, practicing yoga or cooking/baking!