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If you’ve been wanting to strap on your shoes and hit the trails, there is no better time than summer to embark on a hiking adventure. You’ve been cooped up inside all winter long, so get out there and enjoy the fresh summer air and longer days. Central Massachusetts offers visitors breathtaking hikes that overlook deep, blue lakes.
Before setting out for a day-long hike through Central Massachusetts, make sure you have all the gear you need. Fill up your tank and make sure you’re prepped with the necessary gear. Invest in a large water bottle that will keep you hydrated, grab a lightweight backpack that you can store trail snacks, sunglasses, bug repellent and sunscreen in – you never know what you will need out there. Though phone apps offer sophisticated turn-by-turn direction, consider downloading a detailed map of your route to avoid getting lost if your phone runs out of battery. Once you have all your gear in tow, you are ready to hit the trails. Here are 6 amazing hikes around Central Massachusetts:
Moore State Park
The cascading waterfalls alone are enough to make Moore State Park an Instagram-worthy hike. As far back as the 18th century, this park was home to grist and saw mills. While the park clearly has an updated modern-day look, remnants of the mills can still be seen. The trails are flat and perfect for a relaxing stroll or light hike. Make a day of it by packing a picnic and sitting on the hillside overlooking the waterfall while you enjoy lunch.
For a beginner-friendly hike, try Mount Watatic. This trail loops at a little over three miles. The small mountain rounds out the southern portion of the Wapack mountain range. The trail is covered by colorful wildflowers, and with a clear sky you can sometimes catch a glimpse of the Boston skyline from the summit. The scenery and moderation of this trail tend to attract a crowd, so plan to begin your hike early for the best views.
Rock House Reservation
Like its name may imply, the focal point of this stunning reservation is a 30-foot rock that was shaped by a glacier. Over thousands of years, the landscape has been worn into great hiking trails and a gorgeous view of West Brookfield. Although there are only 3 miles of trails, the hike can be strenuous: expect to do some rock climbing. But if you’re up for a little challenge, this is one adventure you won’t want to miss.
One of the most jaw-dropping views in Central MA can be found from Lookout Rock that peers out over the entire region. During the summer, the bright blue skies atop the mountain carvings are unbelievable, and in the fall, the crisp colored leaves are the cherry on top. Perfect for families and friends, this trail is ideal for hiking and is also located near kayaking points at Plummers Landing. If you want to extend your hike, you can walk up to Riverbend Farm, a nearby state park offering fun events throughout the summer.
Green Hill Park
A hike with history, Green Hill Park is made up of Andrew Green’s former estate, and trails weave throughout the property. Andrew Green is known as the master architect of Central Park in New York City. Now that Green’s estate has been transformed into a park, it spans of 480 acres, making it the largest in Worcester, Massachusetts. In addition to hiking trails, this public park offers athletic fields, an arboretum, golf course, and even a petting zoo. Soak up the history of this fascinating space while you enjoy the great outdoors.
Wachusett Mountain Reservation
Wachusett Mountain Reservation is great for beginner and seasoned hikers alike. If you’re new to the hiking game, trek through the 1.5-mile trail. Or, if you think you can ramp it up, the 3.8 mile trail will challenge you and lead to some breathtaking views from the summit. Choose from four different trails within the park or come back until you’ve hiked them all. Climb to the top of the mountain to see Echo Lake from above. It’s important to note that parking is limited, so the earlier you can arrive and park your car, the less likely you’ll be redirected to another trail head.
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Enjoy the view of Central Massachusetts from great heights with these inspiring hiking spots. Remember to pack accordingly, bringing plenty of water and light snacks to keep you fueled during your hike. Sunscreen and bug spray are worthy additions to your packing list since you will be outside for several hours.
Take the adventure to the next level by making it a full weekend outdoors and camp beneath the stars at one of many state parks in the Central Massachusetts and beyond. Sleep under forest canopies in the Berkshires, or near the beach on Cape Cod. Campgrounds vary in what they offer, from showers and flush toilets to R.V. sites offering electric and water hook-ups. You can also try island camping, yurts, cabins, or a hike-in area.