Blue Hills

Between Boston and Providence is the 7,000-acre Blue Hills Reservation. Below is a 3-mile route that follows a gentle trail to Eliot Tower. Just before the tower is a steep section, a rock staircase. The tower offers a good view of the Boston skyline and Boston Harbor (I wasn’t able to see Mt. Monadnock or Mt. Wachusett).

The 5-mile route below is drawn from Brady and White’s Fifty Hikes in Massachusetts. It’s a steep, challenging route. I recommend consulting Fifty Hikes as you walk; it describes the geology of the area. During the last mile or two, I couldn’t follow the book precisely (its comments didn’t seem to match what I was seeing on the trail).

Below is a 6-7 mile walk in the eastern Blue Hills; part of it is on the Skyline Trail, which offers good views of downtown Boston and Quincy Bay. The trail is sometimes rough and steep. Free parking is available at the Shea Ice Rink in Quincy.

Below is a 7-mile route in the central Blue Hills. It, too, has some steep sections and some good views.

Below is a steep, 3-mile route in the Blue Hills. It starts at Houghton Pond, follows the North Skyline Trail to Eliot Tower, then goes to the weather station and Great Blue Hill, then returns via the South Skyline Trail.

Below is a 5.5-mile route in the Blue Hills. It starts near Houghton’s Pond, and follows the “Forest Path,” which is marked with white triangles; it’s gentle and mostly flat.

Below is the Breakneck Ledge Loop, which is 4.5 miles. The official map says it’s rough and rocky, but I found it quite flat and easy, especially when compared to the Skyline Trail.

The above route is marked with yellow triangles, but it’s only marked in one direction (counter-clockwise), so if you go in the other direction, you may make some wrong turns. The above route approaches Great Blue Hill, but doesn’t climb it.

Below is a 5.5-mile route in the Blue Hills that has paved sections, flat sections, steep sections, and a great view from Buck Hill.

South of the Blue Hills is Ponkapoag Pond. You can park at the nearby golf course, follow the trail around the pond, and take a boardwalk into a bog. Below is a 6-mile route around the pond.