There’s something about heading into the wild that makes the stress of everyday life seem miles away…even if you only have time for an hour or two of hiking. These awesome trails will show you a side of Massachusetts that you’ve never seen before. We’ve included plenty of hikes that are accessible enough to let the whole family strike off together, and a few that will challenge even the most experienced of woodland explorers.
1. The Bunker Meadows Trail in Topsfield is an easy trail through forest and meadows. You'll spot plenty of bluebirds and the occasional otter.
Located in the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, this trail leads to an observation tower overlooking the Ipswich River.
2. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail covers 90 miles of beautiful Berkshire landscape. Start the trail in North Adams.
If you want the full experience, set aside a month or two – this trail runs for 2,000 miles across 14 states.
3. Hiking over North Bridge in Minute Man National Park will give you a tour of local nature and history. This is an extremely easy trail.
This Concord park was the site of the first battle of the revolutionary war.
4. The Skyline Trail in Middlesex Fells Reservation is a popular route to an observation tower on Pine Hill. The trail is 6.9 miles and moderately difficult.
Located in Stoneham, Middlesex Fells Reservation encompasses 2,575 acres of beautiful wilderness.
5. The Slide Notch Path at Blue Hills Reservation offers a glimpse of a waterfall and plenty of woodland tranquility. This trail is moderately difficult.
The Blue Hills Reservation covers over 7,000 acres and includes over 125 miles of trails.
6. The Hiking & Bridle Trail at Harold Parker State Forest, North Andover is the perfect trail for all seasons. The trail passes plenty of spots to fish and swim.
This trail is one of four hiking paths that wind through the 3,000 acres of Harold Parker State Forest.
7. The World’s End Reservation Trail in Hingham crosses 4.5 miles of beautiful coastal and riverine habitat. It's a dog-friendly trail, so bring your pooch along.
The trail will lead you past Hingham Harbor and the Weir River.
8. Follow the Harrington Trail on Wachusett Mountain in Princeton for an easy, 1.4-mile hike to the summit.
On clear days, you can spy the Boston skyline and Mount Monadnock in the distance.
9. Hike the Blue Trail in the Charles Ward Reservation, Andover for a spectacular view from the tops of Boston, Holt and Shrub hills. The trail is 2.2 miles long.
Holt Hill is the highest point in Essex County.
10. The Chasm Loop trail in Purgatory Chasm State Park will lead you past rock formations like Devil’s Coffin, Fat Man’s Misery, Devil’s Corncrib, Devil’s Pulpit and Lover’s Leap. The trail is only 0.5 miles.
Lover's Leap is a stony canyon that boasts 70-foot granite walls.
11. The Mount Norwottuck and Horse Caves trails in Mount Holyoke State Park offer challenging hikes that are filled with scenic spots.
Mount Norwottuck trail is only about 3.2 miles, but will take you to the summit of the mountain. On the way back, the Horse Caves trail winds around beautiful stone ledges that provide great views of the surrounding landscape.
12. The Easthead Loop in Myles Standish Forest, Carver, is a easy 2.5-mile path that curves around East Head Reservoir.
The trail is well-maintained and perfect for less experienced hikers.
Have you tackled any of these trails? Do you have any other favorites? Let us know!