One of my favorite things about living in Somerville is that you get all the hustle and bustle of an urban environment while still being able to escape the city pretty quickly. When the weather starts to turn nicer, I love heading just a little north to the Middlesex Fells Reservation for a walk in the woods.
A trip to the Fells will only set you back about 10 minutes to 15 minutes in the car, but you’ll feel a world away from the city. The reservation is made up of 2,575 acres of hiking trails, mountain biking and horseback riding paths, reservoirs and more. There are activities for all seasons, from cross-country skiing to boating. And the peaceful serenity of the place makes it the perfect setting for a relaxing getaway.
I love hiking in the Fells and the Reservoir Trail and Skyline Trail, both West of I-93, are my favorite paths to take. The Reservoir Trail winds around several small bodies of water through the woods and is great for all ability levels, as it is mostly flat. The Skyline Trail is move challenging, but it’s worth it for the amazing view of Boston on a clear day from Wright’s Tower.
The Fells is also a mecca for local mountain bikers, who take to the trails in the warmer, drier months. (Cyclists are asked to stay off the soft, muddy trails early in the season to avoid damaging them.) Trail running is also popular in the Fells and the varied terrain is sure to keep you on your toes.
For those looking to get out on the water, you can rent sailboats, kayaks, canoes and rowboats on Spot Pond (east of Route 28 and I-93) from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
In addition to the wildlife you can glimpse at the Fells, you’re also likely to see a lot of dogs. Beyond just taking them for hikes, many people like to bring their furry friends to Sheepfold, an off-leash area where dogs can roam free.
The Fells offers lots of parking at various places along its perimeter. If you can’t find a spot at one location, you’re likely to find one at the next, so don’t give up. I often find parking at Sheepfold works well because it’s one of the bigger lots. Just make a note of where you started from so you can find your car at the end of your outdoor adventure.
The trails at the Fells are very well marked, but I recommend examining a trail map before setting out. I’ve seen copies at Porter Square Books or you can print your own. As with any activity that takes you into nature, remember to pack out what you brought in and leave the area as you found it. And most important, remember to have fun!
Middlesex Fells Reservation
Open daily dawn to dusk
Malden, Medford, Stoneham, Melrose, Winchester