Continuing 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Boston
Lafe here checking in as I am finishing the research hikes and the revising of 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Boston, but I will continue to feed you appetizers. Enjoy!
#36 Ogilvie Town Forest
Tucked away in and around neighborhoods of Weston, Ogilvie Town Forest is a true hidden gem. And I do mean hidden. I drove by the “trailhead” three times before I stopped, looked around a bit more carefully and realized this was indeed the trail. I think they like to keep this town forest to themselves a bit. I know I would! There is parking for maybe two cars at the trailhead off Sudbury Road. There’s apparently another parking spot as well, which I will certainly check out next time. The woods themselves are lovely, the trails are well-defined and well-marked, and it’s a fairly large chunk of forest, especially since it abuts some woodland managed by the Sudbury Trustees of Reservations. The trails wind in and around through fairly dense forest, and toward the northeastern corner of the wood, you’ll come to a sign you wouldn’t expect to see in New England: a quicksand warning!
#37 Lynn Woods
Quite the opposite of Ogilvie Town Forest, Lynn Woods is smack dab in the dense city of Lynn, and is a heavily traveled area by hikers, runners, mountain bikers and dog walkers. There are wide carriage roads winding throughout the woods (left over from when this was a private estate hundreds of years ago) intersected with twisty narrow classic hiking trails. You also follow the border of the serene Walden Pond. There are some other interesting “artifacts” in Lynn Woods as well, including the stone tower atop Burrill Hill and Dungeon Rock, a huge twisted pile of glacial boulders that truly has a sealed off iron door built into the rock near the bottom. Legend has it pirates were held here from time to time. I don’t know if that’s true, but I want it to be!
#38 Mount Watatic
The gentle and undeniable persistence of nature has truly reclaimed Mount Watatic. Once a small ski area, you can barely tell as there’s no evidence left of the old ski hill, save for a dirt road leading to the summit, which even now is getting more grown in. The hiking in and around Mount Watatic is perfect. The are two summits, one slightly higher, and from the top of either you get a sweeping view of northcentral Massachusetts and southcentral New Hampshire. In fact, the hiking trails leads you right to (and past if you’re so inclined to follow the Wapack Trail) the state border. An old granite marker stands on the line separating the Granite State from the Bay State.
#39 Manchester Essex Woodlands
This fairly large chunk of woodland and swamp is set right of off busy Route 128. In fact, for a while, as you’re hiking along a fairly rugged trail the twists and winds throughout the forest, you can hear cars driving too fast on 128. Both the woods and the swamp are rich with wildlife. One truly unique aspect is a long boardwalk that traverses the swamp to get you into the woods. The trails are fairly well-marked, but I would advise buying a map in advance. Don’t worry, proceeds from map sales support conservation of this beautiful forest.
#40 Agassiz Rock
This short, unique hike is right across the street from Manchester Essex Woodlands, so you can make it a two-fer day if you’re so inclined. The big attractions here are Big Agassiz and Little Agassiz Rocks, left here by the glaciers many many moons ago. Do the loop clockwise and you’ll come to Big Agassiz first. Dropped in the dense brush, it’s kind of hard to even get a feel for the size of this behemoth. Like an iceberg, much is hidden underground or obscured by ground cover. Nevertheless, there’s still a massive imposing brow of gray granite looming above you like a navy ship. Continuing on the granite cap at the top, you’ll see the more visible Little Agassiz. The top of this hill is a great place to hang out on a sunny day. It’s also a quick 45-minute loop, and perfect for smaller kids (and bigger kids who still like climbing around on the rocks).