Breakheart Reservation
GOOD FOR: Ages 5-8

Source:Outdoors with Kids Boston (AMC Books)
Address:100 Hemlock Road, Wakefield, MA (Hemlock Road Gate entrance); 177 Forest Street, Saugus, MA (main entrance)
Hours:Dawn to dusk daily
Fee: Free
Contact:; 781-233-0834

Bathrooms: Portable toilets by Pearce Lake and at the visitor center
Water/Snacks: Water fountain at the visitor center; ice cream truck by Pearce Lake during summer

USGS Lynn and Boston North;

Breakheart Reservation has dozens of trails and opportunities to do activities from biking to swimming to fishing.

Breakheart Reservation
Photo by: Kim Foley MacKinnon

Breakheart Reservation has more than two dozen trails on its 700-plus acres, but one that’s especially great for younger kids is Eagle Rock Trail, which you can combine with a swim at Pearce Lake (also called the Lower Pond). In winter, you can snowshoe or search for coyote, fisher, deer, otter, and other animal tracks.

Park at the high school lot and take a left on the quarter-mile paved road to Pearce Lake, where you’ll find a playground, climbing structures, and picnic tables. In the lake, three areas of varying depths are roped off for swimmers and supervised by lifeguards. A fishing platform is to the right, and that’s where you can pick up the trail that leads to Eagle Rock, an easy hike of less than 0.5 mile that gives you a commanding view over the lake.

If you decide to walk to the visitor center from Pearce Lake, take Fox Run Trail, which is about 1 mile long. A 5-mile paved loop around the park offers a wonderful and safe place for kids to ride their bikes. (At one point, the roads were open to cars, but only rangers can use cars now.) Various rich habitats are at Breakheart, with two freshwater lakes, marshes, rivers, and seven hills that are more than 200 feet high. Year-round programs offered by rangers are a great way to learn about the reservation’s wildlife. Check the website or the visitor center for details.

Remember: If you go swimming at Pearce Lake, make sure kids stay within the roped boundaries. There is a dog park within the reservation called Bark Place, where dogs can run free; on the trails, however, keep your dog on a leash and clean up after it.

Plan B:

Lynn Woods Reservation (Trip 34), less than ten minutes away, offers an adventurous spin to an outing if you visit the famous Dungeon Rock, supposedly the location of a buried pirate treasure.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Restaurants for every taste and budget are along US 1.


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