Nature March 31, 2018
9 Totally Kid-Friendly Hikes In Massachusetts That Are 1 Mile And Under
Don’t leave the little ones at home the next time you want to explore nature! Massachusetts is filled with short and easy hikes that are perfect for kids. Take a look at some of the best one-mile (and under!) trails in the state that are completely kid-friendly.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Pine Hills, Plymouth
The Pine Hills in Plymouth are full of short and sweet hikes that are perfect for kids or casual hikers. The trails are well-marked and relatively flat, with many loop paths that are under a mile. Go in spring or summer to enjoy the bright green foliage at its best.
2. Chapel Brook Falls Trail, Ashfield (0.5 miles)
Half a mile of hiking
and a waterfall? Yes please. Chapel Brook Falls Trail is a beautifully-maintained path that leads straight to the lovely Chapel Brook cascade. The trail starts at a parking lot and offers plenty of spots to stretch out with a picnic blanket and some snacks. If your kids are older, consider continuing the hike all the way to the peak of Pony Mountain.
3. Fort Hill Trail, Eastham (1 mile)
Looking for a sea breeze? You'll find it on this kid-friendly beach trail in Eastham. The Fort Hill trail offers beautiful wildflowers and flat terrain that’s great for little legs. It’s also a good place for bird-spotting and picnicking. Slap on the sunscreen and enjoy a peaceful walk by the ocean at this Cape Cod National Seashore spot.
4. Ashland State Park, Ashland (0.25 miles)
This micro-hike is all paved and will lead you straight to the Ashland Reservoir. Just park in the lot and follow the quarter-mile path down to the water. Perfect for when you want the family to get some exercise but don't want to embark on an afternoon expedition into the wild.
5. Bash Bish Falls, Mount Washington (1 mile)
That's right – you can reach the tallest waterfall in Massachusetts with under a mile of walking. This is definitely a hike that will give you serious bang for your buck, but you should keep an extra eye on kids around the waterfall pool. Swimming isn't allowed for safety reasons and the rocks can get slippery. Still, it's an incredible destination for a family outing and you'll go home with some great memories.
6. Fern Trail, Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, Easthampton (0.3 miles)
This easy hike will take you along the Mill River and through a charming floodplain forest. You can gaze out across the marsh and even check out an observatory tower. Kids will love spotting migrating warblers and scampering around the old orchard.
7. Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, Newbury (1 mile)
Take this boardwalk path through the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge for an easy and fun "hike" that's actually more of a stroll. You'll feel the salty air on your skin, hear the call of gulls and even wind up at the beach.
8. Bradley Palmer State Park Trail, Topsfield (1 mile)
The Bradley Palmer State Park Trail is about two miles round trip, but you can easily split that in half for a shorter hike. It features gorgeous wildflowers in the sprig, not to mention frogs and the odd bunny. Kids will love exploring the woods near the path.
9. Wendell State Forest Friendly Trail, Wendell (0.5 miles)
Take the aptly named Friendly Trail from the park headquarters to Ruggles Pond for a short hike that offers a lot of beauty. The path will take you straight to the water, where you’ll find a picnic area and a waterfront view that features beaver lodges.
For more short and sweet hikes in Massachusetts, check out some more of our faves
here. What’s your favorite kid-friendly hike?