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Hiking Around Boston

Short and easy hikes for when you need to escape the city

I just returned to Boston after two months in rural Maine. I originally went to Maine thinking that I would be there a week or two, just as a short escape from a pandemic hot-spot. But after 14 days of isolated quarantine, I decided it was worth it to stay in Maine and ride out the peak of the pandemic away from city life. I am beyond grateful that I had that option and opportunity.

Now that I’ve returned to Boston, I’m missing the outdoors and nature that I’m happy to have experienced in Maine. One of the reasons I reside in Boston, however, is the easy access to conservation land and trails both in and out of the city. I love to hike with my dog, Millie, and over my years in Boston, I’ve found great trails to explore and ways to connect with nature. Shared here are some of my favorite walks and hikes around greater Boston. Happy trails!

Jamaica Pond

Part of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, Jamaica Pond is a glacial deposit turned conservation land designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Around the pond is 1.5-mile walking path, which you can extend by walking through Olmsted Park or into the Arnold Arboretum. I love this walk because it feels like you are out of the city, but you’re really right in the heart of Jamaica Plain. All of the trails and parks require leashes for dogs and although I’ve occasionally let Millie into the pond for a dip, it’s not recommended (I usually give her a good bath after).

The Battle Road Trail

The Battle Road Trail is a 5-mile path that’s part of the Minute Man National Historical Park. The trail runs between Lexington and Concord and memorializes the initial battle of the Revolutionary War. Along the path, there are beautiful colonial houses and landmarks to see. This trail is all on-leash for dogs, but it’s a great path for both running and because the majority is stone dust and very well-maintained.

Cat Rock Park

Located in Weston, this is one of my favorite hiking trails. With over 80 acres of land and 5.5 miles of trails, it’s easy for an afternoon hike with the pup. It was once an old ski mountain and you can see remnants of the pulley system on the sides of the hill. Dogs love to swim in the pond at the base to cool off. The woodsy trails also open up to a great big field where dogs can socialize and play. Weston typically allows dogs to be off-leash, making this trail a great one to hike with Millie. Due to the pandemic, however, dogs are currently required to be on-leash and the trails are only open to Weston residents. Keep an eye on the Weston Forest and Trails Association website for updates. Once this park opens to all again, it is a wonderful adventure!

Mount Misery

I’ve been walking the Mount Misery trail in Lincoln since I was a kid, and it’s still one of my favorites. There are many routes you can take on the 227 acres of conservation land. Some are on-leash and some are off-leash for dogs, but they are clearly marked. There is a small 100-foot hill, dubbed the Mount, but there is also a beautiful pond and river access on this trail as well. In addition, the trails border a lovely field and farm that you can walk through and see livestock and crops.

These are some of the shorter trails I love. They are all within a 40-minute drive from Boston, and easy to do in a morning or afternoon. When I need a break from the city, I head out to one of these trails and embrace the natural beauty of conservation land. Have other favorite trails you love to explore? Share in the comments below!


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