10 Best Hikes in Massachusetts to Witness the Natural Beauty

By Dhruvalakshmi Paithankar on Nov 19, 2018
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With many hiking trails crisscrossing its land, the state of Massachusetts welcomes hikers with open arms. It has trails like Eames Pond that offer a blend of nature and history. It is home to Purgatory Chasm Trail that challenges even seasoned hikers. And you will also find Blue Hills Skyline Trail here that is much-loved for its beauty. So, when it comes to best hikes in Massachusetts, the choices are plenty. You can check this informative list of some of the top hiking trails in Massachusetts that will take you straight to the heart of nature - 

1. Skyline Trail at Blue Hills Reservation 

Skyline TrailImage Source: Flickr.com

Blue Hills Reservation is a little slice of paradise for outdoor enthusiasts as it offers some of the best hikes near Boston.  Undoubtedly, Blue Hills Skyline Trail ranks on top of the list. The best time to cover this trail is from March to November. As the name rightly suggests, it will greet you with the fantastic views of Boston Skyline. If you are here in winter, you can enjoy activities like skiing and snowshoeing. Visit this area in other months and have fun rock-climbing and horseback-riding. You will fall in love with the hills in the fall season.

Distance - 11.9 miles 

Elevation gain - 2,788 feet

Difficulty level - Moderate 

Estimated time - 4 hours 

2. East Head Pond Trail at Myles Standish State Forest

Myles Standish State ForestImage Source: Wikimedia Commons

Myles Standish State Forest has become popular as it offers miles of trails for hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding. It has 16 ponds and lakes that have become the identity of this land. That is why you must opt for East Head Pond Trail to witness the true beauty of this state forest. This trail will take you around the East Head Reservoir and can be easily covered by amateur hikers as well. If you are looking for places to hike in Massachusetts with your dog, this is the perfect site for you! Activities like seasonal hunting, camping, picnicking, swimming, fishing, and canoeing are also offered here. 

Distance - 2.6 miles 

Elevation gain - 68 feet

Difficulty level - Easy 

Estimated time - 2 hours 

3. Purgatory Chasm Trail at Purgatory Chasm State Reservation

Purgatory Chasm State ReservationImage Source: Wikimedia Commons

Purgatory Chasm State Reservation is a unique geological area marked with ancient boulder caves and towering rock formations. Take the Purgatory Chasm Trail to explore the best features of this reservation. With a terrain that sports a combination of hiking and rock-climbing, it is considered to be one of the best hikes in New England. You can explore the caves that hold a history of the last 14,000 years. Keep in mind that you will need a permit for hiking and rock-climbing here. Even though the park is open throughout the year, hikers are not permitted during winter as ice hazards are common. 

Distance - 1.6 miles 

Elevation gain - 177 feet

Difficulty level - Moderate 

Estimated time - 3 hours 

4. Bash Bish Falls Trail at Bash Bish Falls State Park 

Bash Bish Falls State ParkImage Source: Wikimedia Commons

Visiting Bash Bish Falls State Park is a treat for eyes. As it has the highest single-drop fall in Massachusetts, it is rightly ideal for hiking in Massachusetts waterfalls. Go for the out and back Bash Bish Falls Trail and you will get to explore a well-shaded, forested track. Animals like the bobcat, porcupine, and black bear are often sighted here. Even though this trail is crowded on some days, you will still get to enjoy the hike without any disturbances. Keep in mind that swimming and rock climbing are not permitted. But, you can enjoy fishing. 

Distance - 2 miles 

Elevation gain - 515 feet

Difficulty level - Easy 

Estimated time - 4 hours 

5. Cross Fells Trail at Middlesex Fells Reservation 

Middlesex Fells ReservationImage Source: Wikimedia Commons

Middlesex Fells Reservation is the place that is known for its vast reservoirs. When it comes to hiking in Massachusetts, this one is a hidden gem. When you take Cross Fells Trail, one of the easiest trails here, you will get to be in the heart of nature. It is recommended to use this loop trail from April to October. Be it birding or rock-climbing, this rocky, forested terrain is sure to keep you engaged. So, if you are looking for a hike that your kids will enjoy, this is the place to be! 

Distance - 1.3 miles 

Elevation gain - 134 feet

Difficulty level - Easy

Estimated time - 2 hours 

6. Hellcat Interpretive Trail at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge 

Parker River National Wildlife RefugeImage Source: Flickr.com

Parker River National Wildlife Refuge is a place of delicate ecosystem and rich biodiversity. It is the haven for migratory birds as it is located around the mouth of the Parker River. So, if you are interested in nature trips and birding, exploring the Hellcat Interpretive Trail here is a great idea. From marshy lands to sand dunes, you will come across different types of features here. Keep in mind that dogs are not allowed in the refuge and the trail may be closed during the nesting season to protect the birds. 

Distance - 1.3 miles 

Elevation gain - 26 feet 

Difficulty level - Moderate 

Estimated time - 4 hours 

7. Cheshire Harbor Trail in Mount Greylock State Reservation 

Mount Greylock State ReservationImage Source: Flickr.com

If you are a seasoned hiker, you cannot miss hiking the Mount Greylock as it is the highest point in Massachusetts. When it comes to day hikes in Massachusetts, this trail is amongst the best ones. The paths are well-marked and are easy to follow. If you are coming here when it's raining, then wear good-quality footwear as the trail gets muddy. In the winter, there will be snow at the peak. Take a jacket accordingly. You can visit a war memorial on the summit of the mountain that is one of the points of interest around. 

Distance - 6.2 miles 

Elevation gain - 1,922 feet

Difficulty level - Hard 

Estimated time - 6 hours 

8. Loop Trail at F. Gilbert Hills State Forest 

Gilbert Hills State Forest Image Source: Pxhere.com

When it comes to hiking through the pine and oak forests, F. Gilbert Hills State Forest offers more than 23 miles of trails. F. Gilbert Hills State Forest Loop Trail will give you a chance to witness the natural beauty that is not known to many yet. Do not forget to carry a map as this trail is not properly marked in some places. Mountain biking and horseback riding are also popular activities around here. You can come in winter for cross-country skiing as well. 

Distance - 7.1 miles 

Elevation gain - 629 feet

Difficulty level - Moderate 

Estimated time - Half a day 

9. Cape Cod Rail Trail in Nickerson State Park 

Nickerson State ParkImage Source: Wikimedia Commons

Around 2,000 acres of Nickerson State Park can be best explored from Cape Cod Rail Trail. It will also give you a chance to go backpacking in Massachusetts. This paved trail passes through 6 different towns. A couple of small campgrounds in the state park and along the trail are good for backpackers. If you do not have enough time on your hands, you can consider biking in some parts and hiking in others. As this trail is open throughout the year, you can plan a trip here any time you want. 

Distance - 46.9 miles 

Elevation gain - 1.227 feet

Difficulty level - Moderate 

Estimated time - 2 days 

10. Eames Pond in Moore State Park

Moore State ParkImage Source: masslandlords.net

Moore State Park is a place that combines history and nature. If you take the Eames Pond Trail, you will come across historic mill ruins that are hidden away in the trees. The land is dotted with the vibrant shades of rhododendron and azaleas. The activities offered here include hunting, fishing, and canoeing. Visit this trail between the months of April to October and you will be amazed by its beauty. As it is a simple hiking trail in Massachusetts, you can bring your kids here as well. 

Distance - 1.8 miles

Elevation gain - 170 feet

Difficulty level - Easy

Estimated time - 2 hours 

How many trails have you explored? Which ones did you like the best? Let us know in the comment section! 

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