2017 was my first consistent year of hiking, camping, and travel; I only wish I had taken to writing down my adventures sooner! Nevertheless, New England offers incredible hiking and camping for the beginner to the experienced outdoorsman/woman. I feel pretty lucky to live in eastern Massachusetts, because there’s a bit of everything so close by! From rocky, winding beaches to rugged hills and mountains, you’re never more than a couple hours from the next excursion.
As the year wraps up, I’m planning and mulling over where next year will take me. But first, I want to share a quick rundown of some of the great New England locations I’ve explored this year! I’ll give more details on these in posts to come– if one strikes your fancy and you need to know ALL the deets ASAP, let me know in the comments!
Breakheart Reservation- Saugus, MA
Breakheart is a hidden gem in Saugus, and despite it’s namesake, I promise that it won’t go breaking your heart. Saugus is a busy suburb north of Boston, and I was surprised to find it nestled in an otherwise metropolitan area. This reservation has two large ponds among a labyrinth of gentle, sloping trails. Awesome for day-hikes, trail runs, and petting lots of cute dogs.
- Parking may fill up quickly on gorgeous spring days, but both parking and the reservation are free to enjoy!
Middlesex Fells- Stoneham, MA
Affectionately known simply as the Fells among north-shore Bostonians, this area offers over 100 miles of mixed-use trails and features a off-leash area for your furry companion to roam free. (I’m mainly talking about your dog, but I suppose that hairier-than-average humans would also have a blast.) The headquarters are located in Stoneham, and the trails spread through Malden, Medford, Winchester, and Melrose. The Fells are basically in my backyard, so they’re a place I love to visit again and again.
- Free to park, free to enjoy!
Wilson Mountain Reservation- Dedham, MA
While not technically a mountain, Wilson Mountain Reservation has gorgeous trails and hilltop views spanning 207 acres. I visited this area over the winter, and I’d definitely recommend bringing a pair of microspikes or crampons to navigate the snow and ice-covered trails.
- Limited but free parking, free to enjoy!
Harold Parker State Forest- Andover, MA
Harold Parker is a relaxing camping getaway only 40-ish minutes from Boston. The trails won’t bring you to any particularly high peaks, but if you’re looking for a great trail run or a place to enjoy your morning coffee while taking in the smell of pine trees, I’d definitely recommend! Each campsite has a grill, picnic table, water spigot, and trees— lots of trees.
- Small fees for camping– visit this page for all the info you’ll need to plan your visit.
But wait, that’s not all! Part 2 coming soon. In the meantime, what do you think it the most underrated, hidden-gem near you? Sometimes your own backyard affords amazing experiences!
Until next time,