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The best hiking near Boston

Step away from the screens and enjoy the great outdoors on these hiking trails close to Boston.

Written by
Olivia Vanni
,
Eric Grossman
&
Gerrish Lopez
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After a year of quarantine, it's time to seriously stretch our legs by getting outside and hitting the hiking trails. More dedicated hikers may travel all the way to the White Mountains or the Appalachian Trail to get their nature fix, but there are plenty of beautiful spots near Boston that will do the trick for us recreational trekers. Whether it’s climbing scenic wooded preserves or exploring waterfront trails, these Boston hikes are perfect for walking off the chaos of downtown. No time to leave the city limits? 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

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens

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

Just north of Boston, in the suburb of 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 both the most challenging and the most popular. It includes seven miles of rough terrain passing over hills, through wooded forests and around stunning lakes. Climb the observation tower along the trail for gorgeous views.

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Though relatively small (251 acres), this lush nature preserve is a mere 15 miles outside of the city. Overlooking Hingham Harbor, 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 still catching glimpses of the Boston Skyline. Head back into the forest to watch the countless species of birds who call this preserve their home.

Great for both hiking and mountain biking, this state park features numerous trails—ranging from easy to challenging—through dense hardwood forests. Seven hills within the park, which spans Saugus and Wakefield, 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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This area may be the largest conservation area in leafy Lincoln, but it's namesake mountain is actually more like a manageable hill. Wander these trails and you’re bound to see quaint wildlifefrom 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 llocated nearby, so make a day of it and hit up both natural attractions while you're out there.

We all know that Wachusett Mountain is a popular winter destination for skiiers, thanks to those catchy commercials—but the tallest mountain near Boston also offers hiking throughout the rest of the year. The surrounding reservation includes the largest area of old growth forest in Massachusetts, as well as ponds, streams, a raised bog and 17 miles of trails. The 2.6-mile-long Harrington Trail is a popular hike that leads to the mountain's peak, where you can see the Boston skyline and New Hampshire's Mt. Monadnock on a clear day.

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Locals mostly know the quiet little town of Hopkinton as the starting point of the Boston Marathon. However, Hopkinton State Park is a hotbed of outdoor activities, with several trails running through its 1,500 acres of forest. There are paths for hikers of all levels, some of which are also used for horseback riding. In the summer, you can cool off and wash the sweat away with a swim in the reservoir.

This beautiful, five-mile path 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 that Minutemen once took to the battle at Concord Bridge, where they prevented the British from seizing the Colonists’ weapons. There are informative markers along the walk and an educational presentation at the visitor center, so your hike can double as a history lesson.

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