With fall foliage season in full swing, there is no better time to hike Massachusetts. But with so many options available, it can be difficult to know where to go. Take a look at these gorgeous Trustees of Reservations properties across the Bay State and find out which hiking spot best fits your personality. Then strap on your hiking boots and head to the leaf-peeping path made for you.
The City Dweller
If the thought of leaving your beloved city perturbs you, don’t fret: From the summit of modest Noanet Peak in Dover’s Noanet Woodlands, you can catch an unexpected view of the Boston skyline – and of healthy suburban woodlands to boot. You can also walk 17 miles of leaf-covered cart paths and trails on loop routes that return you to your starting point in one hour or four, depending on your plans.
Walpole’s Bird Park is flat, making it ideal for a leisurely stroll to take in the serenity and fall color. Beeches lining the alley at the Polley Lane entrance glow orange-red, while massive oaks and catalpa trees rise above the playground in clouds of yellow and orange.
The Family (Wo)man
A quintessential family destination, Medfield’s Rocky Woods offers something for everyone. The paths range from easy loops to longer forays through woods, wetlands, and even the top of a hill. For more relaxed leaf-peeping, bring your fishing pole and picnic lunch to the tranquil Chickering Pond.
Feeling hungry? Explore the farmstead and surrounding fields of Appleton Farm in Hamilton, a 375-year-old working estate filled with magnificent color and deliciously fresh food. There are even cooking classes on site.
Head to Weir Hill in North Andover for a peek at some of nature’s finest specimens, including a lake, a bog, meadows, forests, streams, and rare plant species. Ascend the Stevens Trail to a scenic overlook offering panoramic views across a colorful carpet of Merrimack Valley woodlands.
The Dog Lover
Don’t want to leave Fido at home? Then take him along with you to Ravenswood Park in Gloucester. This dog-friendly network of old carriage roads and woodlands features trails both you and your pet can enjoy.
Bring your sweetheart to Rock House Reservation in West Brookfield, a hidden gem of a reservation with plenty of secluded spots. Don’t miss the beautiful Carter Pond, which becomes a veritable kaleidoscope when the trees lining its shores reflect their colors in its surface.
The Tree Hugger
Boasting more forest types than anywhere else in Berkshire County, the foliage show at Sheffield’s Bartholomew’s Cobble is memorable. Climb the Tulip Tree trail to the top of Hurlburt’s Hill, settle onto a bench, and take in the Housatonic Valley vistas.
Bartholomew’s Cobble, 105 Weatogue Road, Ashley Falls, Sheffield. 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Allow a minimum of two hours. Admission $5; $1 children from 6 to 12 and Trustees Members free. 413-229-8600. www.thetrustees.org Next
At Monson’s Peaked Mountain, explore wooded roads through a former working forest and trek to a summit that rewards with panoramic views from Mount Wachusett to Vermont’s Green Mountains.
Monument Mountain in Great Barrington has long held a special place in the history and culture of the Berkshires. It was at this location in 1850, when farming began to wane and the Berkshires began to attract writers and artists, that Herman Melville had a chance encounter with Nathaniel Hawthorne on top of the mountain during a storm. That meeting, which ultimately turned into a lasting friendship, would transform an unfinished manuscript into his classic work, Moby Dick.
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