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Blue Hills Reservation

Greater Boston Region, Massachusetts

Urban Legend

Directions & description
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Location: Milton, MA., Norfolk County.

Length/Configuration: Up to 100 miles. Design your own loop or out-and-back rides using network of unpaved carriage roads, double and singletrack trails.

Terrain/Surface: Varied, from wide dirt and gravel carriage roads to more rugged rocky and rooty singletrack.

Technical Difficulty: Easy on carriage roads to advanced on  technical singletrack.

Elevation Change: Hilly terrain (22 hills in the chain). Highest, Great Blue Hill is 635 ft.

Trail Use: mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, cross-country and downhill skiing.

Caution: Shared use trails. Stay off trails with “No Bicycle” signs. Mountain bikes prohibited on trails between January 1 and April 15. Special use permit required for groups of more than 6 riders.

 

 

 

Local Resources: Bike shops, bike clubs, adventure travel, bike tours, bike events, trail maps, bike safety, camping, historical places, where to stay and other related sources visit our Resource Hub.

Bike Wheel Image

Note: The free trail maps on this website have been simplified to provide an overview with approximate locations of trails and special features. Read Full Disclaimer.

 

Directions:

From North or South:

Take Route 93 to Exit 3, Houghton's Pond. Turn right at the stop sign onto Hillside Street. Houghton's Pond is located approximately 1/4 miles on the right; Continue 1/4 miles to the reservation headquarters on the left.

 

General Description:

The Blue Hills Reservation offers an outdoor recreation oasis only 10 miles south of Boston. The 7,000-acre reservation rises to a height of 635 ft. at the summit of Great Blue Hill. There are scenic views from atop many of the 22 hills of the Blue Hill chain. The Reserve is rich in archeological and historic resources with its 16 historic structures, 50 prehistoric sites, 3 Environmental Study Areas and the Blue Hills Meteorological Observatory, a National Landmark atop Great Blue Hill. Pauls

Trails take you through various habitats, including upland and bottomland forest, marsh, swamp , pond, meadow and an Atlantic white cedar bog. Some species at home here are coyote, red fox, white-tailed deer, river otter, snowy owl and the rare timber rattlesnake. The Trailside Museum has natural history exhibits and displays of live animals of the Blue Hills.

24 acre Houghton Pond, a spring-fed kettle pond formed by receding glaciers, offers a supervised swimming beach where you can find a bathhouse, restrooms, telephones and a first aid station during the summer season. Other park features include stocked fishing, picnicing and athletic fields and a new Visitor's Center.

 

The Blue Hills Bike Trails

Stop by park headquarters to pick up the official mountain bike map.

About 1/3 of the 7,000 acres at Blue Hills are set aside for mountain biking. The extensive, well-maintained and well-marked trail system is located in the Houghton Pond and Great Blue Hill Areas. These areas are shown on the above map. There are very few trails for the beginning mountain biker. Even the carriage roads, which make up the bulk of the trails in the areas open to mountain biking, have sections that are rocky and challenging. There is enough additional singletrack to satisfy the more experienced riders. Up to 100 miles of riding is possible with about 20 of them being very difficult.

The short loop around Houghton Pond and Old Rt.128 (paved), and the Burma Road are the only relatively easy rides.

Houghtons Pond Loop: A .75 mile scenic ride around the popular Houghton’s Pond. This ride is lovely
during the fall foliage season. Follow the Yellow blazes on the trees.

Old Rt. 128: Paved route that travels through the trees along the southern border of Blue Hills.

Burma Road Trail: A scenic two mile dirt road that travels through the Neponset River marshes in Fowl Meadow. The trail is wide and relatively flat and offers nice views of the river at the start. The Neponset River traverses the heart of the Fowl Meadow. It is one of the most significant wetlands in the metropolitan Boston region and provides habitat for a diverse wildlife population, flora and state-listed rare species which include the Blue-Spotted Salamander.

 

Other areas in the Blue Hills Reservation may open for easier riding. The doubletrack, for the most part, is not technically challenging but it is very hilly. If you like to do some tough climbing, as we do, and are in good physical condition, then these trails are not that difficult.

Border Trail, Five Corners Trail & Wolcott Trail: A relatively level 2.5 mile ride through beautiful woodlands that most riders in good shape will enjoy. Scenic highlights include majestic stands of pines and hemlocks. Start at Reservation Headquarters and take the Wolcott Path, a woodland lane for about .5 miles to the Five Corners intersection. This is where five trails converge. Angle right on the green dot trail. Upon reaching Border Path (intersection 1135), turn right and continue to intersection 1175. Turn right and follow the path past intersection 1178 and back to Wolcott Path.

 

For intermediate and advanced riders, a good way to sample the trails is to try the two color coded multi-use loop trails which begin and end at the Hougtons Pond parking area on Hillside Street:

White Trail (Forest path Loop - Intermediate): A 6 mile loop trail blazed with white triangles offers a rambling woodland ride through the forest in the Houghtons Pond area.

Yellow Trail: (Breakneck Ledge Loop - Advanced) A 4.5 mile loop trail blazed with yellow triangles that runs through the Great Blue Hill section offers rocky, hilly and steep terrain.

 

Another good way to sample the Blue Hill trails is to go out on a ride led by either NEMBA (New England Mountain Bike Association), the Friends of Blue Hills, the Blue Hills Trail Watch or the DCR Rangers (DCR MTB Day).

 

Tip: For a less crowded experience try biking during the week or early morning on the weekends.

Note: Because of safety or environmental concerns some trails may be closed within the mountain bike areas. Please stay off trails marked with “No Bicycle” signs. Ride safely and respect other trail users. A good relationship with the MDC will ensure future access to trails at Blue Hills.

 

Historical Note:

The Blue Hills were so named by early European explorers who, while sailing along the coastline, noticed the bluish hue on the slopes when viewed from a distance. More than ten thousand years before those Europeans arrived, Native Americans made their home in the hills.

Sixteen historic structures listed on the National Register include The AMC Ponkapoag Bog Camp Cabins on Ponkapoag Pond, the Brookwood Farm and Barn, the Redman Farm House, the Ponkapoag Site and the Green Hill Site. At the northern end of Fowl meadow you'll find the historic Paul's Bridge, a stone span dating back to the nineteenth century. It's one of the oldest bridges in Massachusetts.

 

 

 

For more information:

Blue Hills Reservation
Reservation Headquarters
695 Hillside Street
Milton, MA 02186

Phone: (617) 698-1802
TTY Users: 711 (AT&T National Relay Service)
Website: Blue Hills Reservation

 

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