Hiking. It’s one of the best ways to get exercise no matter where you are. If you’re like me, you are always looking for new spots to explore. Look no further! Here are my favorite 5 hiking locations in Massachusetts. Even if you are not near these hiking locations, below you will find why you should hike, what to bring when hiking, and hopefully some inspiration to go explore the outdoors!
Why should you hike?
Hiking has so many benefits for both your mental and physical health. Health Fitness Revolution’s Top 10 Health Benefits of Hiking states that hiking reaps major health benefits. Some of these benefits include the prevention of diabetes, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, toning of your entire body, and more. Not only does hiking prove beneficial to your health, but it can also increase social activity, creativity, and happiness (it curbs depression!). The outdoors works wonders for your physical and mental health, so why wouldn’t you give it a try?
What should you bring?
WATER: when hiking it is crucial to stay hydrated. You will be constantly moving and burning calories. Make sure you fill up one (or even two!) water bottles to bring for your hike to avoid any dehydration.
SNACK: once you get to the peak of your hike, you may want to sit down and rest. Bring some snacks to give you some energy after hiking up long hills! Making sure you have plenty of energy is just as important as hydrating!
A TARP OR BLANKET: you may want to bring something to sit on when you take a rest. Rather than attempting to sit on an uncomfortable rock or the dirty ground, bring a lightweight covering that you can sit on when you decide to take a break.
BUG SPRAY: hiking locations vary, but most often there are lots of critters in the woods. Do yourself a favor and protect yourself from bug bites!
A SMALL BAG: depending on what you decide to bring, having a lightweight bag to carry these things will make your hiking experience so much easier. Do not try to carry water, snacks, bug spray, and a blanket just using your arms–you need your arms for balance! Never make your backpack too heavy because it can result in some back pain following a long hike.
My Top 5 Hiking Spots in MA:
1. Mass Audubon’s Stony Brook
Located in Norfolk, MA, Mass Audubon’s Stony Brook is one of my absolute favorite hiking locations. Not only is the hiking area well kept, but it is also home to a variety of animals that you can see when walking. Stony Brook is perfect for any age and offers easily tracible trails, a waterfall, boardwalks, and more. The hiking spot goes through forest, fields, and wetlands so that you have plenty of exposure to all different types of animals and land. There is always something to look at, and it rarely is a crowded location as it is so spread out. I choose to this spot most often when taking senior photos (See my photos of Dana, Nicole, Sam) and it makes a perfect location for any type of photoshoot. You will run into all types of wildlife; in my experience, I have seen turtles, swans, blue heron, salamanders, and a variety of other birds that I cannot name on the top of my head. See photos below that capture the beauty of this location.
2. Noon Hill
Noon Hill, located in Medfield, MA, is a 2-mile hiking track that ends in a beautiful perch that overlooks Medfield (for any Patriots fans, you can see Gillette Stadium from the top of the hike). Because there are plenty of trails to follow and this hike is completely in the woods, it is pretty easy to get lost! I recommend downloading a picture of the map to your phone to make sure you can identify where you are. The hike has small boardwalks and recognizable trails to make for easy hiking. An important factor to note is how rain affects this hike; when it rains this hike can be pretty muddy— so don’t wear your nice, white sneakers. You may run into a few dogs as this hike is dog-friendly (your dog will thank you later if you bring them along). The hike varies in elevation so you will walk uphill and downhill making for a nice workout! See photos below for a preview of what the hike looks like.
3. Joe’s Rock/ Birchwold Farm
Joes Rock and Birchwold Farm are side-by-side hiking trails located in Wrentham, MA (just north of Rhode Island). Joes Rock is more popular as it can lead to a peak that looks out to a beautiful view of all types of foliage. Although smaller than most hiking trails, Joes Rock has boardwalks, stairs, and a few trails that lead out to different places. The top of Joes Rock is a perfect place to set up a picnic and watch the sun set. See Trails and Walks in Rhode Island to view more details on the hike.
Although Birchwold Farm does not have a stunning view like Joes Rock, it is a great place to get some exercise in. Birchwold Farm is a much longer path than Joe’s Rock, so there is more time The path leads out to power lines that are clearly walked or biked through before as there are many paths that cover the area. You can venture through open fields and the woods when choosing to visit this side! Visit Trails and Walks in Rhode Island to view more details on the hike.
4. Cranberry Bogs Nature Walk at Patriot’s Place
Located behind Bass Pro Shop at Patriots Place in Foxboro MA, the cranberry bogs are a perfect spot to go for a quick hike. A half-a-mile trail surrounds the bogs and goes through a pond, the actual cranberry bogs, and the woods. I have lapped around this trail several times in order to truly get a workout in, but it’s a great place to experience the beauty of nature. The cranberry bogs are also an ideal place to take portrait photos as there is a stunning pond with boardwalks that add depth to any photo. It is important to note that the location of this spot tends to be more populated as it is located behind a shopping plaza, but nonetheless I have been several times where it has been almost empty. See photos below!
5. Moose Hill Trail
Moose Hill is located in Sharon, MA and is Mass Audubon’s oldest wildlife sanctuary. There are several bird feeders at the entrance of the hike, making for great bird pictures (see my blog on birding here)! The hike stretches out through forests, fields, and wetlands. There are several open fields, but there are also paths through the woods so there are several types of terrains. Trails are easily tracible and well-marked so getting lost is not a worry!
What are you waiting for? Go hiking!
Hopefully, this gives you some inspiration to go get outside— not only to improve your physical wellbeing, but also to improve your mental health. Hiking explores the beauty of nature while also bettering you as a person, so pack a bag and get exploring!