Massachusetts December 19, 2016
The Easy And Enchanting Hike Everyone In Massachusetts Should Take This Winter
When the cold winter winds start to blow in Massachusetts, you may want to dive under the covers and nest there until spring. However, it’s worth venturing out into the chill once in awhile, especially for a special winter hike like this one.
This wintery boardwalk hike is gorgeous and
so easy, making it the perfect option for when you want to take in the beauty of nature with minimal effort. You know how you’re always admiring the snowy trees and fields as you drive around after a snowstorm? Imagine how much lovelier it would be to actually stroll through a real winter wonderland.
The trail is located in the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, which offers stunning seascape scenery, wildlife watching, and an absolutely enchanting boardwalk trail through all the beauty.
Located on the North Shore, the refuge was established more than 70 years ago to provide a safe haven for migratory birds. It’s situated right on Plum Island, so you can explore both magical locales in one trip.
There are over 4,700 acres of sandy beach, cranberry bog, maritime forest and freshwater marsh to explore.
However, for one of the most spectacular winter hikes around, you’re going to want to head to the Hellcat Wildlife area to access the boardwalk trails.
The boardwalk is what makes this one of the easiest hikes on the North Shore. The well-maintained and wide wooden trail means that this is a great walk for anyone who loves the idea of getting out in the great outdoors, but might not be in the best shape or isn’t in the mood for a mountain trek.
The trail is about a mile long, and is a loop trail (so you'll end up right back where you started). It winds through some of the most surreal and dramatic landscapes in the park, including the beautiful salt marshes and sand dunes.
An unexpected perk of winter exploration through this seaside refuge? No mosquitos!
Another benefit to wandering the paths in the cooler months is a lack of crowds and easy parking. Normally, you’d need to get here early in the morning to have a decent shot at a convenient parking spot and a bit of peace and quiet. In the winter, the frozen landscape is still and serene. You’ll get to enjoy the splendor of the environment without the logistical headache that is visiting the seashore in the summer months.
There are also two observation towers that are spectacular spots from which to view the sunset. These are occasionally closed due to seasonal factors, so be sure to check before you go.
Parker River Wildlife Refuge will let you enjoy the wintery magic of the sea, the marshes and the creatures that call both places home.
The park is open sunrise to sunset. This is a year-round attraction, but be sure to check with
the refuge’s National Park Service site to know about any refuge area closures before you go.