Signal Hill

4 08 2013

    • Location: Canton, Mass.
    • Owner: The Trustees of Reservations
    • Highlights: Short walk to a view of Great Blue Hill and the Boston skyline.
    • Description: The hill, located by an industrial park, once was a seasonal home for paleo-Americans. (Source: This Trustees of Reservations page about the hill)
    • Directions (from Boston): 20.2 miles, 29 minutes
    • The Trail: 0.5 miles, round trip
      1. In the parking lot, gaze up at the hill you will climb.
      2.  From the lot, follow the trail along a field and into the woods.
      3. At the junction, take the trail leading to the left, following the “Scenic Overlook” sign.
      4. It ascends uphill until quickly reaching the summit and view.
      5. Return on the same path.

Pine Hill

30 03 2013


    • Location: Middlesex Fells Reservation, Medford, Mass.
    • Owner/Manager: Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
    • Highlights: An easy walk to a great urban view of the Boston skyline, northern suburbs and Interstate 93.
    • Description: Trails are mostly fire roads, relatively wide and not too steep for this short walk, which covers only a fraction of the 2,575-acre reservation. This area once housed timber, granite quarrying, ice, and water power industries. Governor John Winthrop was the first to visit the area in the winter of 1632. (Source: Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Middlesex Fells website)
    • Directions (from Boston): 6.5 miles, 12 minutes
    • The Trail: 0.86 miles, round trip
      1. From the Bellevue Pond/Wright’s Tower parking area on South Border Road, take the Quarry Road trail north along the eastern shore of Bellevue Pond.
      2. Cross Skyline Trail and at almost 0.3 miles, turn right onto an unnamed trail. This is just before the second junction with Skyline Trail.
      3. The unnamed trail goes up to Wright’s Tower and the ledge with great views.
      4. Return along the same path or explore the many other trails in the reservation.
    • For a trail map, click here (PDF).

Unnamed Hill near Quabbin Hill

14 02 2012

MA - Ware - Quabbin

    • Location: Quabbin Park, Quabbin Reservoir, Ware, MA
    • Owner: Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
    • Highlights: A short, easy walk to a nice view of Quabbin Reservoir
    • Description: Quabbin Reservoir serves as a public water supply. Created in the 1930s, it is among the largest man-made public water supplies in the country. The 39-square-mile reservoir is 18 miles long, has 181 miles of shoreline and can hold 412 billion gallons of water. Only a portion of it is visible on this hike. (Source: Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation)
    • Directions (from Boston):86.4 miles, 1 hour 38 minutes
    • The Trail: 0.44 miles, round trip
      1. From the roadside parking, follow the trail west past the gate until you reach the top of the hill and a viewpoint.
      2. Return along the same path.

Mount Pisgah

10 01 2012

    • Location: Mount Pisgah Conservation Area, Northborough/Berlin, MA
    • Owner: Sudbury Valley Trustees
    • Highlights: A flat walk to North View, a directional vista east toward Boston, which may be visible on a clear day.
    • Description: The property was once farmland and the Mentzer and Sparrow trails are named after dairy farmers. More than 30 different species of trees have been identified on the land. The land is part of a wildlife corridor that stretches to New Hampshire. Thus, bobcat, moose and black have been seen on the property. Mount Pisgah is made of bedrock and a layer of glacial till. (source: Sudbury Valley Trustees brochure (PDF))
    • Directions (from Boston): 45 miles, 58 minutes
    • The Trail: 1.5 miles, round trip
      1. From the parking lot on Smith Road, take the yellow-blazed Mentzer Trail on the left.
      2. Cross Howard Brook.
      3. At 0.16 miles, keep left on Mentzer Trail. Sparrow Trail goes off to the right.
      4. At 0.43 miles, cross Berlin Road Trail.
      5. At 0.62 miles, cross Tyler Trail.
      6. Soon after, Mentzer Trail will curve left (other trails go straight and right), crossing the stone wall. Follow the trail a short distance to its end at North View.
      7. Return along the same route or explore other trails in the conservation area.
    • For more information and a trail map, see this brochure (PDF) from the Sudbury Valley Trustees.

Spectacle Island

19 09 2011

MA - Boston - Spectacle Island

    • Location: Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, Boston, MA
    • Owner/Manager: Boston Harbor Islands Partnership/Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
    • Highlights: A scenic walk up the North Drumlin to a fantastic view of Boston Harbor from the tallest hill in the Boston Harbor Islands. Well worth the ferry ride out to the island, which is open part of Spring through Columbus Day.
    • Description: The 105-acre island has had many uses overtime including as a farm, glue factory, landfill and dumping spot for dirt from the Big Dig. The island was initially made of two small drumlins joined by a spit, before it expanded by 36 acres because garbage was dumped on it starting in the 1920s.  The island includes a marina, visitor center with exhibits about the island and a beach for swimming. (Source: National Park Service)
    • Directions: Spectacle Island is an island in Boston Harbor and is not accessible by car. Ferries leave from Long Wharf in Boston.
    • The Trail: 1.56 miles, round trip following the path outlined in the video (to be added in the future)
      1. From the ferry dock, head to left/north to the North Drumlin, following a couple of potential routes.
      2. Return on the same path or explore other routes back. It’s an island, so it is hard to get lost.
    • For an island map, see this PDF.

Doublet Hill

11 05 2011

    • Location: Weston, MA
    • Owner: Town of Weston
    • Highlights: A short walk with a small steep section to a nice view of Newton and Boston.
    • Directions (from Boston): 13.1 miles, 23 minutes
    • The Trail: 0.34 miles, round trip
      1. From the end of Doublet Hill Road, follow the path with a sign that does not head toward the water tower.
      2. Follow this path uphill, avoiding several side paths.It climbs somewhat steeply up one rock about half-way to the overlook.
      3. Return along the same path you took to the summit.
    • Click here for more information and a trail map from the Weston Forest & Trail Association.

Turkey Hill

11 09 2010

  • Location: Whitney and Thayer Woods, Cohasset and Hingham, MA
  • Owner: The Trustees of Reservations
  • Highlights: An extremely short hike to a great view of the Atlantic Ocean, Hull windmill, Boston skyline, Blue Hills, and South Shore. A much longer hike could be done from other parking areas.
  • Directions (from Boston): 18 miles, 31 minutes
  • The Trail: 0.12 miles, round trip 
    1. From the parking lot located almost at the summit, follow the obvious path into the open field, quickly reaching the summit and view.
    2. Return to the parking lot or explore the other trails on the property or nearby Weir River Farm.
  • Trail maps are available from the trailhead kiosk or here (PDF).