New England Travel

6 beautiful Massachusetts winter hiking spots to tackle this season

Get out your hiking boots — and gloves.

A path through the woods leads to an overlook of the Quabbin Reservoir in New Salem, Massachusetts. Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Sure, the temperatures are falling, but that doesn’t mean you have to put your hiking boots away. Massachusetts parks provide lots of pretty trails for hiking and snowshoeing during the cold months.

Ahead, discover six parks the Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR) recommends for hiking while bundled up.

Mohawk Trail State Forest in Charlemont

If tall trees captivate you, head to the 6,000-acre Mohawk Trail State Forest, where the DCR says you’ll find some of the tallest recorded white pines in New England. According to the DCR, one particularly stunning spot in the woodlands is a 2-mile round-trip path called the Nature Trail Loop, a moderately strenuous hike that includes an open meadow loop. To get to the trail, begin at the headquarters located on Cold River Road in Charlemont, hike up the road, and turn right toward the group camp site area. Then continue down the road and follow the Nature Trail on the left and through the woodland to the upper meadow. The Nature Trail Loop will begin on your right.

Borderland State Park in North Easton

The DCR says the trails at this 1,843-acre park are still easy to walk after a snowfall, and the terrain around the Pond Loop Trail is especially flat and easy, which makes for great snowshoeing. The trail cuts through forested uplands, fields, and along the edges of Leach Pond. While at the park, look for the historic Ames Mansion, built in 1910 by Blanche Ames, an artist, feminist, author, and inventor. The mansion has been featured in several movies, including the 2016 “Ghostbusters” remake with Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig. The park’s headquarters is located at 259 Massapoag Ave. in North Easton.

Myles Standish State Forest in Carver

Former presidents Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson all passed time fishing, camping, and hunting in this Carver spot with winter-friendly trails. Explore the 2 1/2-mile East Reservoir Trail, which the DCR calls flat, well-marked, and snowshoeing-worthy. Keep an eye out for swans, otters, foxes, and squirrels.

Spot Pond at the Middlesex Fells Reservation
Spot Pond at the Middlesex Fells Reservation. – Department of Conservation and Recreation

Middlesex Fells Reservation in Stoneham

Saddleback Hill in the 2,575-acre Middlesex Fells Reservation offers a beautiful winter view of Spot Pond that’s not available to hikers in the summer, when the oak trees are covered in leaves. To reach it, drive to Stoneham and take the Healthy Heart Trail. It’s an easy-to-moderate hike popular with snowshoers that moves visitors past wetlands, through sections of the Fells, and over Whip Hill. You can park in the dirt lot at Greenwood Park at 170 Pond St. Alternatively, you can hike an easy, 1-mile loop along the Spot Pond Brook Historic Trail by beginning at 1 Woodland Road in Stoneham, parking in a lot next to the stone house located at the intersection of Pond Street and Woodland Road.

Maudslay State Park in Newburyport

This park, full of 19th-century gardens, trails, rolling meadows, and tall pines, has gorgeous views of the Merrimack River that are nice to look at after a snow, according to the DCR. Check out the Merrimack River Trail, a 2-mile, moderately difficult hike that travels to a pretty vista near the Helen Moseley House site. The Moseley family owned the 480-acre horticultural and agricultural estate from 1900 to 1985. Find the trail by entering Hedge Drive at the park gate in Newburyport.

Quabbin Reservoir in Belchertown

The Quabbin Reservoir includes 56,000 acres of protected watershed and provides drinking water to 40 percent of Massachusetts residents. It’s also a great place to hike. There are trails for hikers of all levels, and the pathways along the park’s main road between the middle and east entrances offer spectacular views of the Quabbin, according to the DCR. The reservoir is located at 100 Winsor Dam Road in Belchertown.


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