Hiking Massachusetts  by Benjamin B. Ames

Hiking Massachusetts Guide Book

by Benjamin B. Ames (Falcon Guides)
Hiking Massachusetts  by Benjamin B. Ames
Massachusetts has a hike for every season and a trail for every hiker. This guide helps you pick your goal and choose the perfect place. Whether you want to explore a new corner of the Bay State or visit your favorite mountain lake, you will find detailed directions in each chapter. Few states can boast such a variety of terrain, with steep ascents to rocky ridgelines, bare peaks with stirring views, quiet forest trails to tranquil ponds, and open meadows filled with flowers. This second edition features scores of updates and improvements, with new color photos, driving directions, detailed routes, and GPS coordinates for every hike.

© 2014 Benjamin B Ames/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Hiking Massachusetts" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 39.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 39.

Start at a sea-level pond and bog and, in just 0.5 mile, climb nearly 500 feet to Tucker Hill, passing through three separate ecosystems. Follow the high ridge along the much-loved Skyline Trail to Buck Hill (496 feet) with its views of the Boston skyline, Boston Harbor, and fantastic sunsets. Then return from scattered pine, hemlock, and scrub oak on the rocky ridgeline to lush lily pads, maples, and sandy bogs below.
Milton, MA - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 3.8
This wet, sandy land is a typical southeastern Massachusetts ecosystem, with the acidic soil beloved by cranberry bogs and cedar swamps. The park’s many ponds were formed by damming its streams, first to spin waterwheels for a nineteenth-century furnace, and later for fishing, boating, and skating. The broad carriage paths that encircle Leach Pond and Upper Leach Pond are filled with baby carriages, mountain bikes, horses, and joggers on a beautiful spring day, while the footpaths that twist around the park’s northern half are narrow, rocky, and quiet. This loop is a combination of the two, just scratching the surface of the park’s four-season variety.
Sharon, MA - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 4
This walk through the woods doesn’t offer steep climbs or expansive views, but for its proximity to civilization, Boxford State Forest offers quiet trails and glassy ponds, with signs of beaver, deer, and birds all around. The path rambles through boggy lowlands near Crooked Pond, then climbs the gentle Bald Hill before descending for a short stroll on a paved road. Hikers will be rewarded here for keeping their eyes open for signs of wildlife—it’s easy to find squirrel nests in trees above piles of broken, shelled beechnuts; and deer have left their tracks and scat everywhere, some quite near hunters’ deer stands.
Boxford, MA - Birding,Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 5.2
This loop follows the Ipswich River as it cuts between Bradley Palmer State Park and the adjacent Willowdale State Forest. Together they offer 721 acres and over 20 miles of trails. For a small sample of that variety, this hike leaves the river at the park’s edge and emerges from mountain laurel and rhododendron groves as it circles through rolling fields, rises to Blueberry Hill, and returns to the start.
Topsfield, MA - Birding,Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking,Snowshoeing - Trail Length: 2.5
This loop begins and ends along the water in the Swift River valley. Following well-marked numbered intersections throughout the hike, you climb into the Harvard Forest with its tall white pine and hemlock trees, then drop back down to the riverside. The trail passes stone cellars that remain from early settlers’ homes, and recently chewed tree stumps that show modern beavers are hard at work building their own homes.
Petersham, MA - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking - Trail Length: 3.8
The Westfield River begins as three streams draining the eastern slope of the Berkshire Hills, and then flows into the Connecticut River at Agawam. State highways and railroads run parallel along its length, including US 20, which leads you here. This hike begins with a steep climb to the cliffs above, with their soaring views up and down the river valley. The hike then traverses around these cliffs, called Observation Hill, before descending to the foot of a waterfall where Sanderson Brook flows into the Westfield River.
Chester, MA - Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 7.1
This 4,640-acre forest sits at the corner of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Far from being just a flat, sandy floodplain, the land includes the cedar swamp and basin marsh ecosystems, as well as the rare Atlantic white cedar habitat. This loop tours the shore of Whitin Reservoir in the forest’s northern end.
Webster, MA - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 3.8
This sprawling, flat, sandy park is a typical Massachusetts coastal forest, filled with deer, pheasants, and freshwater fish, and surrounded by nearby cranberry farms. The hike offers a tour of this sand-plain ecosystem, with sandy soil, scrub oak, white pine, and thick laurel undergrowth. Unfortunately, it is also a favorite of dirt bike riders, but this loop sticks to a part of the forest largely avoided by motorized vehicles.
Fall River, MA - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 5.6
At 2,800 acres this is Massachusetts Audubon’s largest sanctuary, covering woods, meadows, and wetlands, including the Great Wenham Swamp, the largest freshwater wetland on the north shore. This loop tours the sanctuary’s open fields, marshes, and beaver ponds, as well as the thickly wooded Averill’s Island, before returning for one more pass through the bustling wildlife neighborhood of the marshland.
Topsfield, MA - Birding,Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking - Trail Length: 2.9
Located on the northern edge of Massachusetts’s coastal sand plain, this park marks a transition from the more thickly forested hills of northeastern Massachusetts to the flat, sandy lands of Cape Cod and the coast. The trail touches the edge of Big Bearhole Pond, with wonderful views of this forested lake and the scrub oak and pitch pine growing on its sandy shores. The walk ends as you reach a cranberry bog near the front gate.
Middleboro, MA - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 3.4
This flat loop around a 480-acre park begins with a visit to the ruins of a historic mansion, with commanding views of the Merrimack River and stunning summer flower blooms. The path then traces the edge of a cliff side just above the river’s edge—a favorite winter roosting area for bald eagles. After a quick trip to the park’s highest point (a modest 150-foot hill), it loops back to the start.
Newburyport, MA - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 3.9
Narrow dirt paths give way to steep, rocky trails as this section climbs from a bird sanctuary to Mount Wachusett and the Crow Hill Ledges before finishing the day 11.2 miles later at MA 2.
Princeton, MA - Birding,Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 11.2
Forested trails follow winding riverbanks as this section crosses MA 56 and MA 68 before ending the day at a bird sanctuary.
Hubbardston, MA - Birding,Hiking - Trail Length: 11.8
The region is full of swamps and streams, all draining toward Quabbin Reservoir just to the west. This trail section crosses the Mass Pike before passing quieter spots including an orchard, a pond, and a bird sanctuary.
Charlton, MA - Birding,Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking - Trail Length: 11.3
This quiet section crosses open cattle pastures and hay fields, then wooded conservation land and logging roads before ending at MA 12. This stretch of the Midstate Trail begins and ends on busy roads, but passes through quiet woods in between. Its reward is a visit to the beautiful Muddy Pond shelter at the hike’s midpoint, before it finishes on MA 12 between Ashburnham and Blackburn Village. The Midstate Trail follows a slow and steady climb from Round Meadow Pond through wooded agricultural land, passing tractors and caged turkeys and rabbits in rural backyards. It crosses under an MBTA rail line and over the Whitman River, emerging at the main intersection in Whitmanville, which is not really a town, but the intersection of four streets: Bragg Hill Road, South Ashburnham Road, Old Whitmanville Road, and Oakmont Avenue.
Fitchburg, MA - Hiking - Trail Length: 8
Wind past low-lying ponds and marshlands and pass through a state forest and a state park as you reach the halfway point of this long-distance trail before finishing at a flood control dam.
Worcester, MA - Hiking - Trail Length: 11.5
This marshy land is dotted with glacial features like moraines and erratics, as the trail provides expansive views over large reservoirs and solitary hilltops.
Spencer, MA - Hiking - Trail Length: 8.6
This final section hits a series of peaks, rolling over Mount Hunger and Fisher Hill before it crosses MA 119 and finally ascends rocky Mount Watatic.
Ashburnham, MA - Hiking - Trail Length: 8.8
Cedar and hemlock trees fill this swampy, sandy land, which drains through many streams into nearby ponds and reservoirs. The trail follows wide, flat paths as it crosses MA 16 and ends at the village of West Sutton.
Webster, MA - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 7.8
Pass by corn fields, river basins, and a flood control dam on flat trails before switching to a section of paved roads and finishing at a tunnel crossing under US 20.
Webster, MA - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 10.6