Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hiking & Kayaking Locally - Recommended Destinations Near Boston

Even though I wish I could just take time from work whenever I want, it is still not easy for me or anyone to get out there for a long weekend or extended trip. There are a handful of places in the Boston area where one can enjoy kayaking and hiking, without exploring the same area every time.

Here are some of my recommended hikes and paddles in fairly close proximity to Boston:


Harold Parker State Forest, North Andover, MA - Harold Parker State Forest is fantastic for those looking for many miles of hiking trails and several ponds to fish in. If you are not able to get up to NH, ME, or VT for some good hiking and fishing, check Harold Parker out. You can reserve campsites here too, which is great for families with limited time looking for the experience of hiking, camping, and fishing.
Willowdale State Forest

Willowdale State Forest, Ipswich, MA - This state forest in Ipswich, MA offers many trails for good short hikes for those who like to get out and back quickly. The trails wind along a ridge that intersects wetlands.  It's a small state forest, but it does have other trails I have not checked out yet. Despite being close to the cities, its still a pretty good area to explore without the crowds. Anyways, how many people are going to Ipswich, MA to hike? It's pretty cool.

Crystal Gorge Reservation, Haverhill, MA/NH Line - This reservation can be found on the MA/NH line in Haverhill, MA near Crystal Lake. Offered, are a few loop trails, that can get you out and back quickly, still covering a couple miles, over some varying terrain, including some ridges and unique land formations. This is a place worth checking out, especially if you live close to it, as you will find it hard to believe this area is near your own backyard.


Paddling in Ipswich, MA
Ipswich River - There are numerous locations located all along the river from N. Reading to Ipswich, MA where paddlers can put-in and take-out. This allows for those with limited time to plan a paddle very easily. You can always paddle against the current on the Ipswich (unless its a raging flood or something). With two cars, you can get a nice 2-3 hour paddle after work, covering around 4+ miles, depending on conditions. The Ipswich seems to offer something different each time. Last week, I paddled 10 miles and to my surprise, I got to go over multiple drops that had formed because of small dams in the river.

Chadwick Pond - Haverhill, MA - Chadwick Pond in Haverhill, MA is a small shallow pond that is great for evening or sunset paddling. Pickerel are abundant and can make for some pretty decent fishing. There is only parking for a few cars on the side of the tiny road, but it is a pretty and calm place to paddle.

As I explore more areas, I will likely update this post to reflect new thoughts and new places near Boston...I don't want to give them ALL away!

Have a place you enjoy near Boston? Please share your comments.