Spot Pond at Middlesex Fells

I recently hiked though the Middlesex Fells with an outdoorsy friend of mine. The Fells is an enormous (2,500 acres) wooded wonderland that straddles Medford, Winchester, Stoneham, Melrose, and Malden. We chose a hike that went around the Spot Pond Reservoir—which we found to be extremely beautiful and even more peaceful than transcendental Walden (since no one’s allowed to swim in it.)

With the cool weather on the horizon, heading out for a hike is the perfect weekend activity. We noticed many young families hiking together, and why not? Getting to the Fells is very easy (you can get there via Route 93 or even by bus and commuter rails), but once you’re on the trails, it can feel like a world away from the busy city.

Biker in the Middlesex Fells, photograph by Alix Roy of the Boston Globe

There are miles and miles of hiking trails, but if your tykes would rather bike, have no fear. The Fells offers a mountain bike loop to accompany its very well maintained trails. Additionally, there are areas where trail running and jogging can be attempted.

Some tips: print out the detailed Fells map online. Using an iPhone and a sense of direction rivaling an earthworm, we got lost frequently, especially in the beginning, heading on one path that ended shortly before depositing us on one of the longest trails at the Fells. Moreover, not all the hikes in the Fells have been digitized, so stick with paper as you’re already paying homage to the trees.

Check out the Fells’ website for more information about the flora and fauna found in this historic location. Get out there!

Looking for easy day-hikes and natural excursions in the city or close to Boston? Check out Boston’s Gardens & Green Spaces by Meg Muckenhoupt for more great ideas!