Hikers from all over the U.S. visit the Northeast to witness the gorgeous fall foliage that comes with autumn. More specifically, the state of Massachusetts offers plenty of nature areas to behold the changing colors of the season, complementing its significantly rich history and tastefully fresh seafood. And with seemingly endless miles of trails, the best hikes in Massachusetts aren't hard to find and are absolutely worth exploring.
Best Hikes in Massachusetts: 15 Trails for Peak Fall Foliage
1. South Esker Loop Trail
This moderately trafficked, 2.2-mile loop trail is located near the city of Topsfield and made for all skill levels. You'll get to explore the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, the Massachusetts Audubon Society's largest wildlife sanctuary and all of the native wildlife and greenery within. Note that you'll have to reserve a spot in the sanctuary's parking lot prior to your visit.
2. The Skyline Trail Loop
As one of the more popular hikes to take on in the state, this trail is located within the Blue Hills Reservation. The three-mile long journey isn't as easy as it initially seems, offering several hill summits like Great Blue Hill to climb along the way. You can also head on up to the Eliot Observation Tower to take in the most incredible panoramic views of the Boston skyline.
3. Purgatory Chasm Loop Trail
Located on the Purgatory Chasm State Reservation, this trail is an easy 1.4-mile hike near the city of Sutton. A scenic route made for all skill levels, it also features a waterfall, natural landmark, and distinctive rock formations such as the Corn Crib, the Coffin, and Lover's Leap along its path. Keep in mind that a daily $15 fee is charged to use the parking area.
4. Bash Bish Falls Trail
If you're feeling spooky, head to Bash Bish Falls State Park to take on this haunted trail. Legend has it that a young Mohican woman was accused of adultery and sentenced to be tied to a canoe that would float over the waterfall's ledge. However, the story eerily tells of how her body was never found at the bottom, and her ghost can be seen behind the waterfall today.
5. Harrington Trail
This three-mile round trip trail is located near the city of Princeton and features beautiful wildflowers to accompany you during your journey. After an easy first mile, you'll cross a wooden bridge to follow a path that becomes extremely steep and rocky as you near the top of Mount Wachusett.
6. Mount Greylock Summit Loop Trail
This hike is found in the Berkshires, in the Massachusetts part of the massive Appalachian Trail that runs about 2,200 miles down most of the eastern U.S. Located within the Mount Greylock State Reservation, this trail follows a 6.6-mile loop that takes through the state's best route to see fall foliage. On a clear day, you'll be able to see as far as 90 miles away.
7. New England Trail
Another long-distance trail, the Massachusetts portion of this hike runs through Mount Holyoke Range State Park with spectacular views of the Connecticut River valley and pastoral farm fields nearby. The trail runs 3.8 miles round trip, with its trailhead a half-mile down Old Mountain Road. You'll also follow this path over a series of minor hills known as the Seven Sisters.
8. Nauset Marsh Trail
Found in Cape Cod National Seashore National Park, this 1.3-mile loop is a great day hike and also features a 1.5-mile spur to Coast Guard Beach. Running next to the edge of Salt Pond and Nauset Marsh, this trail leads you through fields and a recovering forest, returning to the Salt Pond Visitor Center at the end. This route is also great to take if you want to go biking.
9. Great Island Trail
Taking you around Griffin Island, this trail is located in the popularly-visited Cape Cod. This hike is especially made for bird-watchers, and you can extend your hike out to Jeremy Point, turning the four-mile distance into an 8.8-mile round trip.
10. Peeskawso Peak Trail
In Great Barrington near Stockbridge, you'll find this 2.4-mile round trip trail that makes for a great day trip. With its trailhead at Inscription Rock, the hike leads to the Monument Mountain summit and features an excellent view of the Devil's Pulpit vista.
11. Goose Pond-Try Island Trail
If you're looking to observe more wildlife during your hike, take this trail located within the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. The path takes you to Silver Spring Pond and eventually to a bird blind and short boardwalk at nearby Goose Pond. You'll also pass an observation deck, where you can hang out while watching nature's creatures flutter about.
12. Robert Frost Trail
This colossal trail is a whopping 47 miles long but is also considered one of the best hikes in the state. Near the end of the trail lies a fire tower at top of Mount Toby, where you can intake the most majestic views of the New England woods.
13. Wapack Trail
The Wapack Trail is actually one of the oldest public interstate hiking trails in the U.S. It follows the Wapack Mountain Range, where you'll see Mount Watatic, a 1,832-foot monadnock south of Massachusetts at the New Hampshire border.
14. World's End Trail
Located in the city of Hingham, this 3.8-mile loop takes you through rolling hills and rocky shorelines, while also offering striking views of the Boston skyline. Designed by famed landscape artist Frederick Law Olmsted, its carriage paths are elegantly lined with trees, making for quite the romantic walk.
15. Walden Pond Path
Known for being home to the famous philosopher Henry David Thoreau, Walden Pond is a popular destination to visit. People come during the spring and fall seasons to visit the replica of Thoreau's one-room cabin, while also hiking the trail around the pond.
Have you hiked any note-worthy trails in Massachusetts? Share your experiences with us on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!