This gently lovely area of forests, kettle ponds, and wetlands is proof that one doesn’t need to conquer a summit to enjoy great scenery. In wintertime, the American chestnut trees that flank the park are nicely turned out in a sparkling cloak of white, and the kettle ponds (formed by retreating glaciers) are visions of shimmering, crackly beauty. This 4640-acre park, bordering Rhode Island and Connecticut on the southern border of central Massachusetts, is also known for its Atlantic white cedar swampland and its collection of glacial boulders. In addition to all this is Wallis Pond’s old stone dam with small waterfalls.
Historically, the site has been used for ice harvesting (from Wallum Lake) and as a granite quarry. It was cleared as parkland by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1934. This northerly trek, the Whitin Reservoir Loop Trail, is a pleasant, woodsy walk with great views of Whitin Reservoir. The trail is lollipop-shaped; you’ll start at the stick of the lollipop and follow it counterclockwise. Be careful at the end of the loop, when you venture onto the stick again; it’s easy to miss it and you can get lost (like we did) and add an extra 6 miles to your hike. Otherwise, the hike is well marked but not heavily used—always a great combination!
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