With pandemic life still in full-swing for almost 10 months, my kids and I have explored the heck out of our local area. As avid outdoor lovers, hiking has been our outlet during these months of quarantine. Here is a list of our 10 favorite Metro-West hikes that are manageable for kids ages 2-7. Bonus: they are also great spots for photographing your kids!
Callahan State Park in Framingham is a particular favorite of ours. With its pipeline trails that are easy for stroller children, it’s a great place for younger kids. After a rain, there are tons of puddles to play in and lots of nature to see. Our particular favorite trail (not stroller friendly) is to follow Eagle Trail and Fox Hunt Trail in a loop around Eagle Pond. If your kids are fearful of dogs, this isn’t a great choice as there are always lots running and playing!
Another favorite Metro-West hike of ours is Broadmoor in Natick. Broadmoor is a Mass Audubon property so there is a small fee to enter. With the pandemic, they are requiring the purchase of tickets ahead of time to limit entrants. Honestly, this has made it even better! The peace and quiet, and turtle-peeping can’t be beat. The Winter even offers its own fun with a frozen pond to check out. While strollers are doable on the wooden bridges over the marshland, you can’t get back to the waterfall with one.
Chestnut Hill Farm is one of my kids’ favorite Metro-West hiking spots. This location is definitely stroller friendly as you’re more strolling through farmland than hiking through the forest. The friendly goats are definitely a highlight, though beware– the fence is electric! Many trails go all over the land so there is lots to explore!
While this is a favorite swimming destination for us in the Summertime, I actually like this spot best in the off-season. After Labor Day and before Memorial Day, there is no charge to enter. We love to park at the Upper Beach and walk over to explore the lake area and the pipeline trail. A portion of this is stroller-friendly if you’re not looking to go into the woods.
This lesser-known Metro-West hike is a favorite of ours. An easy loop that’s around a mile long makes it perfect for the younger crowd. It is stroller friendly if you have an “off-roading” stroller like a Bob. Crossing several bubbling brooks (perfect for throwing rocks and sticks in) keeps it interesting for kids.
This spot has so much to explore. Our favorite trail loop so far has been to drive all the way to the back and park near the Winterberry Way parking lot. We then follow Carbary’s Trail and Puffer Pond Trail in a loop along the river. We saw our first Great Blue Heron the first time we hiked there!
This is the most advanced trail I’d recommend for a younger crowd. It is not stroller friendly, so definitely keep that in mind! My two year old was able to do 80% of this hike on his own, but he tends to have great stamina for his age. For this hike, park at the Kelly Memorial Field parking lot and walk through Boulder Brook Reservation to find the Rocky Ledges trail. At the top, you’re rewarded with sweeping views perfect for a snack break!
My second favorite Southborough hiking spot is at Breakneck Hill Reservation. A small dirt parking lot is at the base of a hill with gorgeous views year-round. Although it’s a steep hike up to the top at the beginning, there are easy loop trails at the top! If you don’t mind a steep climb at the beginning, a hiking stroller is definitely doable. Make sure to wear socks and boots as there is poison ivy on the edges of the paths.
This was a new one to us this year. Is a hike in Bolton considered Metro-West? Probably not, but it’s close enough to us that I am putting it on the list! The loop around the pond is probably a mile or slightly more but little “beaches” and lots to explore makes it a perfect addition to our favorite Metro-West hikes list.
Last but not least, one of my favorite Metro-West hikes in the more Northern part of the area is at Minuteman State Park. While we like several different spots in Minuteman, our favorite place to walk around is Old North Bridge in Concord. The trails are not wooded and are easy, stroller-friendly walking paths. Bonus: teach your kids about history as you walk as this is the site of the ‘shot heard round the world’.
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