Central Region has woods and trails places to walk
George Hill Road
A favorite spot for winter sledding, Dexter Drumlin is maintained as a graceful, open meadow with lovely views of historic Lancaster and its surrounding farmland. A narrow mowed footpath traverses the crest of the hill and loops back along the stream to the entrance affording the visitor the opportunity to view grassland birds making use of the drumlin and the adjacent floodplain fields for nesting and raising their young.
159 Walker Pond Road
Sturbridge, MA, 01566
Best for camping and hiking; swimming beach for campers only; 5 miles from Old Sturbridge Village
There are 10 miles of hiking trails on this pretty, wooded property. Off road vehicles may not be used on hiking trails. One popular walk with good views at the end goes to Carpenter Rocks.
See full description of Wells State Park.
86 Winchendon Road
Camping, water sports, hiking
Otter River State Forest has extensive walking and hiking trails near and around Lake Dennison Recreation Area and Beaman Pond. Trails are used for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter.
See full description Otter State Park.
198 Purgatory Road
A unique natural landmark, Purgatory Chasm runs for a quarter of a mile between granite walls rising as high as 70 feet. Popular with picnickers and rock-climbers alike, the Chasm is believed to have its origin in the sudden release of dammed-up glacial meltwater near the end of the last Ice Age, approximately 14,000 years ago. Trails lead to a wide variety of rock formations, with such romantic names as The Corn Crib, The Coffin, The Pulpit, Lovers' Leap and Fat Man's Misery. Recreational uses: walking, hiking, picnicking, hunting, accessible restrooms.
West Brookfield, MA
Located near two long Native American footpaths, the large size and height of the Rock House’s southern exposure made it an excellent winter camp for Native Americans, suggesting its use as a trail camp and meeting place. Following the arrival of colonists in the mid-seventeenth century, the area forests were gradually cleared for farming. Today, a forest of pine and mixed hardwoods has reclaimed the landscape, and visitors can hike along three miles of trails that take in Carter Pond, the Rock House, Balance Rock, and stands of red pine and spruce.
107 Wallum Lake Road
Popular state forest on lake with many activities: water sports; horseback riding; hiking trails
The Midstate Trail, a hiking trail through the center of Massachusetts, runs through Douglas State Forest. Map of Midstate Trail
See full description of Douglas State Forest.
Concealed within a dense forest
The rushing waters of Royalston Falls have carved a deep gorge out of granite. Here, Falls Brook plunges forty-five feet into a basin. In summer, ferns cling to the chasm's walls; in winter, freezing spray creates a fantastic landscape of ice. Upstream, the swirling brook has carved natural bridges through the bedrock. The wild and undisturbed appearance of the area today belies the landscape's history. For many years, the land was cleared and farmed, and during the 19th century, was also the site of town picnics and gatherings in the summer months.
From the 1,227-foot summit of Peaked Mountain, a panoramic view unfolds taking in Connecticut's Shenipsit State Forest to the south, Mount Monadnock to the north, and Mount Wachusett to the northeast. In between lies a sweep of rolling New England countryside with forested hills and ridges, valley farms, and small villages. The Valley View overlook provides views of nearby Boulder Hill and the City of Springfield to the west. Other trails at peaked Mountain encircle tranquil Lunden Pond, where visitors might glimpse beavers, herons, and other wildlife drawn to the quiet waters.
164 Cedar Street
Hopkinton, MA, 01748
Located on a reservoir; activities include water sports, hiking, picnicking, skiing and snowmobiling. Boat ramp
This state park on the Hopkinton Reservoir has a very large trail system for all users, including hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, and cross country skiers.
See full description of Hopkinton State Park.
90 Fitchburg Road / Route 31
Forested property with 2 ponds, swimming, fishing, paddling, skiing & snowmobiling. No camping
The Midstate Trail passes through this heavily forested property. Hiking paths are abundant at Leominster State Forest. People may do rock climbing at Crow Hill Ledges. Mountain biking is allowed, but mountain bikers may not use hiking trails.
See full description of Leominster State Forest.
Get back in touch with nature
Visitors to Jacobs Hill can hike two miles of trails that closely track the ridgeline of the hill, passing through a forest of beech, maple, ash, and birch, and connecting two spectacular overlooks. Both trails take in impressive views of the forested slopes of Tully Mountain, Mount Grace, and the Berkshire Hills. Further south along the trail, a stream tumbles over the ridgeline, creating the dramatic Spirit Falls, and at the eastern edge of the Reservation lies the stream’s source: Little Pond, a classic northern bog.
485 Ware Road / Route 9 (3 miles east of intersection of routes 9 and 202)
Quabbin Reservoir is one of the largest man-made public water supplies in the United States. The New Salem and Enfield lookouts offer magnificent views of the reservoir. The Quabbin Interpretive Services Program operates the Quabbin Visitor Center and provides general information. An automated telephone system at 413-323-7221 provides 24-hour access to current information on fishing, hunting, programs, rules and regulations, and public access. Since this is a public drinking water supply, swimming, wading, and dogs are prohibited. Permitted uses are shoreline fishing, hiking, bicycling walking, bird watching, snowshoeing, hunting, with restrictions, and picnicking.
Pierce Park at the Doyle Reservation was part of a former turn-of-the-century grand estate featuring a twenty-nine-room stucco mansion with a ballroom and conservatory, a matching stable, extensive horse paddocks, Pierce Pond (across Merriam Avenue), and an extensive system of bridle paths through woodland and around the pond. Ten acres of the original landscaped grounds have been restored as a neighborhood park, and most of the trees and shrubs are from the estate's original design and plantings.
Good for fishing, walking, and nature viewing. No pets allowed.
This property is southwest of the Quabbin Reservoir and on the reservoir's watershed. Wooded roads pass through pine, maple, birch and hemlock groves. Good for walking and hiking and nature viewing, including passing of migratory and local fowl.
See full description
of Federated Women’s Club State Forest.
Once pastureland, North Common Meadow now preserves the rural charm and character of Petersham Center. The upper meadow produces hay that is cut by a local farmer, and the lower meadow supports a variety of wildflowers and has a small lily-covered pond. From the field adjacent to the Petersham Historic Society on Main Street, visitors can take in a sweeping view of Mount Wachusett.
345 Mountain Road
The reservation has 17 miles of hiking and walking trails. Views of Mount Monadnock (NH), the Berkshire Mountains, and the Boston skyline can be seen from the summit (2,006 feet).The Wachusett Mountain State Reservation is a good stop for hiking, nature study, bird watching, picnicking, and cross country skiing.
Hours: Mountain access road is open Memorial Day to the last Sunday in October. Road is open daily, 9 a.m. to sunset.
Once pastureland, Elliott Laurel is now a quiet woodland traversed by old stone walls. Its scenic foot trail crosses an open field before climbing a rocky hillside to a south-facing overlook, then leads gently through shaded woods dotted by white pines and hemlocks before descending past rock outcrops to a red maple swamp. The return leg of the trail passes thickets of spring-blooming mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) for which the Reservation is named. At peak in mid-June, the pink flower buds of mountain laurel gradually open to reveal brilliant white flowers, brightening the shady woodland floor.
289 Pearl Street
Water sports on pond; walking trails; Nordic skiing and ice skating. Fully wheelchair accessible
Park activities are centered upon a small pond. There are several walking trails. The Woodland Trail is designed for wheelchair accessibility through the forest. Distance is one mile. The main trail is 60 feet wide, and it includes some steep areas with stairways. Length is one mile
Map and trails guide
See full description of Dunn State Park.
Once home to Nipmuc, the Brooks Woodland Preserve is an undisturbed forest of red oaks, hemlocks, and white pine. Visitors may hike or cross-country ski along 13 miles of woodland trails and former woods roads. Old stone walls cross the forest floor, passing through patches of maidenhair ferns, winterberry, and partridgeberry. Along parts of the Swift River, Moccasin Brook, and Roaring Brook, beaver dams have created swamps, and a cascade of glacial boulders provide dens for porcupines. Six early-nineteenth-century farmsteads can be rediscovered in the Preserve by their remaining fieldstone cellar walls, porch steps, and chimney supports.
Swift River Reservation welcomes visitors with the opportunity to hike, mountain bike, cross-country ski, and horseback ride over 439 forested acres. Located where the East Branch of the Swift River links all three tracts of the river, the reservation’s natural features include extensive rocky ledges, ravines, open fields, a beaver-dammed swamp, vernal pools, and forest edges along woods roads. In the late 1700’s, much of the reservation was cleared for farms that were largely abandoned by the early 1900’s, and the forest returned only to be decimated by a major hurricane in 1938. Today most of the Reservation's mixed hardwood forest dates to this hurricane.