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Concord Bridge
Photograph: Courtesy GBCVB Concord Bridge

The best hiking near Boston

Take a break from the screens, enjoy some fresh air and get moving at these hikes close to Boston

By Time Out Boston Staff
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If you need some fresh air and are aiming for more than just a stroll, get out and hike. Serious local hikers may head farther afield to the White Mountains or the Appalachian Trail, but when you just need a little bit of nature, there are plenty of worthy hikes near Boston that are easy to get to. Whether it’s climbing a lung-busting hill or exploring trails through scenic wooded preserves, these Boston hikes fit the bill. Be sure to check in advance for updated protocols or restrictions; some trails may require reservations. No time to get away? Try one of Boston’s best parks. Looking to get away for a bit longer? Check out the best weekend getaways from Boston.

RECOMMENDED: Best things to do in Boston

The best hiking near Boston

Great Blue Hills
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Aimee G.

1. Blue Hills Reservation

Attractions Parks and gardens

Boston is no Denver, but there are still a couple of mountains (hills, really) to climb. Just a few minutes outside of the city proper is a 7,000-acre reservation with 125 miles of resplendent hiking trails. Climb to the top of Great Blue Hill and enjoy an unmatched view of the city skyline; just prepare for crowds in the warmer months. Ski bunnies can return in the winter for some modest slalom action.

Middlesex Fells
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Jane L.

2. Middlesex Fells Reservation

Just north of Boston in Stoneham, this 2,500-acre state park features more than 100 miles of trails. While the reservation has hikes for all levels, the Skyline Trail is the most challenging, as well as the most popular; the seven miles of rough terrain pass over hills, through wooded forests and past beautiful lakes. Climb the observation tower along the trail for gorgeous views.

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World's End
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Kandice Z.

3. World's End

Though relatively small (251 acres), this lush nature preserve overlooking Hingham Harbor is a mere 15 miles outside of the city. There are 4.5 miles of easy-to-moderate trails available for exploring. Hike through rolling hills, past saltwater marshes and along the shoreline while catching glimpses of the Boston Skyline. Head back into the forest to watch the myriad species of birds who call the preserve their home.

Breakheart Reservation
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Manfredo R.

4. Breakheart Reservation

Great for both hiking and mountain biking, this state park in Saugus and Wakefield features numerous trails—ranging from easy to challenging—through dense hardwood forest. Seven hills within the park offer views of Boston as well as New Hampshire and central Massachusetts. The Saugus River cuts through the park, and trails follow the riverbanks.

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5. Mount Misery

The namesake mountain of the largest conservation area in leafy Lincoln is actually a rather manageable hill. Wander the trails and you’re bound to see wildlife, from chipmunks and squirrels to birds and deer. The top of Mount Misery offers views of the Sudbury River and Fairhaven Bay. Concord’s wildly popular Walden Pond is nearby, so this is a nice place to stop before or after.

Wachusett Mountain State Reservation
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Jessie T.

6. Wachusett Mountain State Reservation

A popular destination for skiing in the winter, Wachusett Mountain—the tallest mountain near Boston tops out at around 2,000 feet—also offers hiking in other seasons. The surrounding reservation includes the largest area of old growth forest in Massachusetts plus ponds, streams, a raised bog and 17 miles of hiking trails. The 2.6-mile Harrington Trail is a popular hike to the top of the mountain; from there, you can see the Boston skyline and Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire on a clear day.

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Hopkinton State Park
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Paul T.

7. Hopkinton State Park

Locals mostly know quiet Hopkinton as the starting point of the Boston Marathon, but Hopkinton State Park has a lot to offer, with several trails running through 1,500 acres of forest. There are trails of all levels, and some are used for horseback riding. In the summer, cool off after a hike with a swim in the reservoir.

Concord Bridge
Photograph: Courtesy GBCVB

8. Battle Road Trail

This beautiful, five-mile trail connects historic sites from Meriam’s Corner in Concord to the eastern boundary of Minute Man National Historical Park in Lexington. The easy, level trail follows the route of the Minutemen as they moved towards the battle at Concord Bridge, where they prevented the British from seizing the Colonists’ weapons. There are historic markers along the trail and an informative presentation at the visitors center.

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