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Hearty New Englanders know that once the snow starts falling, it doesn’t mean we hibernate in our cozy living rooms until thaw! We get out there and enjoy nature. In the Boston area, there is no better place to do this than at The Blue Hills Reservation.
Located in Milton, it’s only a few miles from Boston proper, and is easily accessible from both I-95 and I-93. Blue Hills is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and offers prospective hikers, wanderers and snowshoers over 7,000 acres of winter playground with about 125 miles of trails to explore.
During the summer weekends Blue Hills can be quite an active spot, but in the winter after a few inches of fresh fallen snow, you will find only a handful of others out on the trail. The snow certainly makes for a picturesque look, and when the trees are bowed down with snow on their branches, it can feel like you are under a beautiful canopy.
Even though Blue Hills is relatively small compared to a lot of other recreation areas, it offers a great variety of trails, from novice snowshoer to the pros. You’ll be able to find a trail you love, and with so many miles of trail available, once you become a great snowshoer, there will still be plenty of challenging areas still to explore.
To determine what trail is best for your skill level, follow the blazes (colors painted on trees) on your Blue Hills trail map. Yellow and green dotted trails are easier, featuring flatter terrain. While the red dot and blue rectangle trails are more challenging and will feature a couple of climbs and summits.
One of my favorite trails in Blue Hills is the Dark Hollow Green Dot Loop. It’s not quite as spooky as it sounds, as it offers a relatively easy trail that meanders through the old growth forest. Occasionally, you even stumble upon some old artifacts from another time; stonewalls and fireplaces are still found standing. The trail is really easy to access; you can grab it right from the visitor’s center parking lot at Houghton’s Pond.
So, next time the snow falls, take a chance to go out and explore the Blue Hills, I am sure it will become one of your favorite nature spots in the Boston metro area. And you might even see me out on the trails too!
You can find the Blue Hills Reservation Headquarters at 695 Hillside Street, Milton MA 02186.
Liz Froment is the founder of Two Weeks to Travel, a site dedicated to helping 9-5ers find and plan their vacations. The blog offers vacation inspiration, tips and tricks to get you ready to travel. You can also find her tweeting @LFroment.