Middlesex Fells Reservation
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Boston (AMC Books)
Address:698 Fellsway West, Stoneham, MA (Sheepfold Entrance)
Hours:Reservation: dawn to dusk daily; parking lot at Sheepfold entrance: 9 a.m. to dusk
Fee: Free

mass.gov/dcr; 617-727-5380; fells.org

Bathrooms: None
Water/Snacks: None

Middlesex Fells runs through six towns and, with more than 2,000 acres, offers plenty of room for a multitude of outdoor activities.

More than 100 miles of trails cover changing terrain, including this path beneath an old bridge.
Photo by: Kim Foley MacKinnon

With 2,575 acres, Middlesex Fells Reservation has more than enough room and a variety of terrains to appeal to hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, rock climbers, cross-country skiers, and paddlers. “Fells” is a Saxon word for rocky, hilly tracts of land, and the name fits the area perfectly. Rocky outcroppings, open water, dense woods, diverse plants, and a variety of mammals, birds, and reptiles can all be found at this beloved Boston-area resource.

More than 100 miles of trails crisscross the reservation. Joining an organized hike (such as one with AMC’s Boston Chapter) offers a great introduction to the Fells, which has so many options that knowing where to start may feel a bit overwhelming.

As a start, begin at the Sheepfold entrance, where you’ll find sledders in winter. A 10-acre open field here is used by dog walkers and picnickers, and hikers can choose from several trails in this area. For a short, easy hike with kids, look for Soap Box Derby Road (behind the lot to the right) and signs pointing to Bear Hill Tower, which is less than 0.2 mile away. Dark Hollow Pond Trail, an easy 1-mile hike, leads to the pond through the woods.

Bellevue Pond is surrounded by trails and wide fire roads, some leading up to Wright’s Tower, which kids will enjoy climbing. Virginia Wood, the site of an old mill village, has an interpretive history trail. Lawrence Woods also has wide fire roads, views, and vernal pools. You can rent canoes and kayaks at Spot Pond for a lovely paddle and even take sailing lessons. Don’t forget your snowshoes in winter.

Remember: The Friends of the Middlesex Fells (fells.org) has a lot of information and suggested hikes on its website and runs guided hikes and programs, many especially for families and kids.

Plan B:

Stone Zoo in Stoneham is north of the Fells and guarantees that the kids will get to see animals!

Where to Eat Nearby:

Head north on MA 28 and you’ll find lots of places to eat in Stoneham.


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