Allandale Woods
GOOD FOR: Ages 0-4

Source:Outdoors with Kids Boston (AMC Books)
Address:7 VFW Parkway, West Roxbury, MA
Hours:Dawn to dusk daily
Fee: Free
Contact:; 617-635-4505

Bathrooms: None
Water/Snacks: None

Easy trails, meandering streams, and a small pond in this 90-acre Urban Wilds Initiative property offer plenty of diversions for kids.

See cattails at Allandale Woods.
Photo by: Jerry and Marcy Monkman

Sandwiched between the busy VFW Parkway and Allandale Road is a 90-acre section of woods that is completely unexpected. Allandale Woods, a secondgrowth forest, is classified by the City of Boston as an “urban wild,” meaning it is part of the original ecosystem of the area. It stretches from the Fens and the Charles River Basin, along the Boston–Brookline boundary, and through the Sawmill Marshes to the Charles River in West Roxbury. Along the way, it abuts private homes and streets.

Several trails lead into the woods, but the most convenient one is behind the church, where you can leave your car. The dirt trails, maintained by volunteers, take you to Rock Pond, where you can go fishing, to a very long stone boundary wall built in the 1930s. The wall is irresistible to kids, most of whom will instantly feel the need to walk on it as far as they can. You’ll also find gentle hills, a cattail marsh, and intertwining streams to splash in.

Remains of a historic springhouse and abandoned rusty farming implements are scattered about in a section near the main trail—make sure to keep children clear of these. Joggers and people walking their dogs are frequent visitors, and you’ll definitely hear traffic if you are close to the roads, but once you venture in farther, you’d never know you were in Boston. When the woods are cloaked in snow, strap on your snowshoes and explore the quiet trails and frozen streams.

Remember: Some of the trails will take you almost into people’s backyards; try to be a good neighbor and keep rambunctious kids to the more interior paths. Keep your dog on a leash and clean up after it.

Plan B:

Millennium Park (see Trip 13) is a short distance west from Allandale Woods, with lots of climbing structures.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Restaurants and shops can be found on the VFW Parkway, as well as in nearby Roslindale Village.


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