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WeekendWatch: Great destinations for the casual hiker

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Looking for an excuse to get out and enjoy the great outdoors this summer, but don’t have time to make an entire weekend out of it? Check out some of our favorite spots for a day hike.

Blue Hills Reservation
Milton, MA
Why go? It’s amazing to think that this state park boasts 125 miles of beautiful hiking trails when it is located just south of the city limits. Blue Hills’ most popular trail takes you up the 635-foot-high Great Blue Hill where you’ll enjoy a spectacular panoramic view of Boston.

Hale Reservation
Westwood, MA
Why go? A private organization manages the reservation’s 1,100+ acres of woodlands, which include four ponds and more than 20 miles of trails that wind through the Boston suburbs of Westwood and Dover. Hale Reservation also boasts a popular beach for members, as well as a number of summer activities for children and families. All hiking trails are open to the public.

Lincoln Land Conservation
Lincoln, MA
Why go? Just a few miles north of Boston, the bucolic town of Lincoln has some 75 miles of trail throughout its private land trust, maintained by the Lincoln Land Conservation for more than 50 years. Some trails are dog and bike friendly, too. As an added bonus, check out the DeCordova museum and sculpture park while you’re there.

Middlesex Fells Reservation
Malden, Medford, Melrose, Stoneham and Winchester, MA
Why go? That’s right — this 2,575-acre state park just north of Boston crosses through five towns. The Fells boasts hiking trails galore, as well as places to fish, mountain bike and rock climb. First explored by Governor Winthrop in 1632, the land has been a popular refuge from urban life ever since. If a car is not an option, then take public transportation!

Monadnock State Park
Jaffrey, NH
Why go? Believe it or not, this New Hampshire peak is among the most-hiked in the world. A great weekend day trip, Monadnock offers hikers a variety of rocky trail options and provides those who choose to go all the way to the summit some incredible views. On a clear day, you’ll have no problem making out the Boston skyline and even the Atlantic Ocean!

Mount Greylock State Reservation
Lanesborough, MA
Why go? Sure, you’ve got to traverse much of Massachusetts to get to the state’s highest mountain, but the views from the 3,491-foot peak are totally worth it. The Mount Greylock State Reservation was named Massachusetts’ first wilderness state park in 1898 — the same year Northeastern was founded — and remarkably, little has changed since then.

Walden Pond State Reservation
Concord, MA
Why go? Channel your inner Henry David Thoreau and enjoy this public resource, which hikers take advantage of year-round. Take a picnic and eat on the shore of the popular pond — but get there early, because parking for the popular swimming destination fills up quickly on hot summer days. Enjoy 462 acres of protected open space, but leave your dog at home — this spot is open to humans only!