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5 Great Spring Walks in Central Mass.

Friday, April 05, 2013


You'll be amazed at what natural gems are nearby for spring exploring.

As spring is finally warming up New England, the chance to spend time outdoors has arrived. Here are a few great weekend walks and hikes to explore in Central Massachusetts. Don’t just stick to your local park; visit somewhere new this spring!

Explore Purgatory Chasm State Reservation in Sutton

Adventurous souls might want to spend a day hiking and rock climbing at Purgatory Chasm. This park offers a variety of short trails leading to unique rock formations, all of which boast fun names such as Lover’s Leap and Fat Man’s Misery. Explore the beautiful reservation and pack a picnic lunch to make a day trip out of the hike. Make sure to wear good hiking shoes, though, for the rocks can become quite slippery in the rain. For more information and trail maps, visit http://www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/central/purg.htm.

Hike at Mount Watatic Reservation near Ashburnham

Located close to the New Hampshire boarder and popular with hikers for its scenic views, Mount Watatic is known for its summit’s scenic views. The most direct route to the top only lasts about a mile up and a mile back down, but there is also a more scenic four-mile loop of the mountain. On clear days, the skyscrapers of Boston can sometimes be seen from the summit of Mount Watatic, which stands at an elevation of 1832 feet. For more information, visit http://www.mass.gov/dcr/stewardship/rmp/rmp-mtWatatic.htm.

Trek to Royalston Falls in Royalston

Visitors to Royalston have many choices of where to go walking or hiking—including Jacob’s Hill, a reservation that includes two miles of trails through forests and is dotted with scenic overlooks—but the Royalston Falls are a spectacular destination. Trek down a fairly difficult 0.8 mile trail into a half-hidden ravine that reveals a beautiful waterfall amidst the emerald forest. After visiting the cascade, be sure to check out the other woodland trails that stretch across the nature reservation. For information regarding Jacob’s Hill visit http://www.thetrustees.org/places-to-visit/central-ma/jacobs-hill.html, and for information about Royalston Falls, check out http://www.thetrustees.org/places-to-visit/central-ma/royalston-falls.html

Wander Through Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge

Take a stroll through this charming 1830s New England rural village set on 200 acres of land. Visit the old sawmill and the restored country store, or stop by to see what is being crafted at the blacksmith shop and the pottery maker’s store. Over 40 buildings—with daily exhibits such as candle making—are sprinkled across the property, allowing visitors to leisurely walk through the picturesque village while learning a little about the lifestyles of early 1800s settlers. For more information about this outdoor museum, visit http://www.osv.org/.

Explore Douglas State Forest

On the southern border of Massachusetts lies Douglas State Forest, which offers a variety of outdoors activities. Along with hiking the Midstate Trail, this 5,907 acre forest allows visitors to go swimming, boating, and fishing. There is also a rare Atlantic White Cedar swamp on the property, accessible to view by means of a boardwalk trail. For more information about this forest, visit http://www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/central/doug.htm.


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