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A path through woodlands next to a pond. Shutterstock

10 superb hikes in and around Boston, mapped

These include the Minuteman Bikeway, Arlington’s Great Meadow, and routes around Boston’s sewage hub—just remember to practice social distancing

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Like just about everything else, the novel coronavirus pandemic has upended shared spaces in the Boston region, including its parkland. Yet, if you practice the recommended social distancing (and you should), you can still seize on the bucolic environs of what’s easily one of the more naturally wondrous metro areas in the entire United States.

To accentuate that wonder—and to get you safely out of the house now and then—here are 10 superb hiking options throughout the Boston region, all of them spacious enough to afford that 6 feet of distance from your fellow ramblers.

A few things to know going in: Both local and state parks are not being cleaned nor sanitized as regularly as usual, so take precautions. And facilities such as athletic courts and fields as well as restrooms and visitor centers are shuttered due to the pandemic.

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1. Minuteman Bikeway

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Minuteman Commuter Bikeway
Bedford, MA 01730

It is impossible to overstate the hiking opportunities along this 10-mile trail from Bedford to Cambridge (where it’s accessible via the Red Line’s Alewife stop).

Yes, it’s officially for bikes, but hikers use the paths just the same; and woodlands—as well as some historic sites—line said paths.

The view, framed by leaves, of people biking and walking along a path. Boston Globe via Getty Images

2. Cutler Park Reservation

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84 Kendrick St
Needham, MA 02494
(617) 698-1802
Visit Website

The 600-acre state park includes a 1.5-mile loop around its Kendrick Pond that allows hikers to take in the reservation’s major sites—which are said to include a variety of avian life.

An open pasture with long grass. Wikipedia

3. Arlington's Great Meadow

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(781) 863-5385
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Until around 115 years ago, this 183-acre expanse was water storage for the Town of Arlington.

Since drained, it’s been a lush nature preserve with at least two miles of prime trails and plenty of off-shoots.

Added bonus: Arlington’s Great Meadow is just off the Minuteman Bikeway.

A large, open meadow with long grass. Wikipedia

4. Fresh Pond Reservation

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180-220 Fresh Pond Pkwy
Cambridge, MA 02138

The 162-acre reserve surrounds the 155-acre source of Cambridge’s water.

Fresh Pond Reservation is full of pathways and trails. Go deep enough, and you’ll feel like you’re in the country.

Trees changing color in a lush park. Shutterstock

5. Arnold Arboretum

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125 Arborway
Boston, MA 02130
(617) 524-1718
Visit Website

Legendary landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted designed the greensward, and Harvard University owns and administers it.

Its 281 acres offer innumerable avenues for hiking, and its website provides maps and tips that make taking in the arboretum’s 15,000-plus plants relatively non-mind-bending.

A lush shot of foliage in an arboretum. Shutterstock

6. Middlesex Fells Reservation

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4 Woodland Rd
Stoneham, MA 02180
(617) 727-1199 ext. 406
Visit Website

The closest big state park to Boston proper, the 2,200-acre Fells unfolds over several towns, including Medford and Malden, and offers more than 100 miles of trails.

Bring a fishing rod, too—that’s allowed.

An older man coming upon a trail marker in a forest. Boston Globe/Contributor/Getty Images

7. HarborWalk

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HarborWalk
Boston, MA

The Harborwalk edges the city in an almost continuous run that includes ample opportunity for hiking fast or slow on the waterfront.

There are plenty of attractions and other parkland just off the HarborWalk as well as numerous of places to sit should you decide against storming the full 43 miles at once.

A walkway next to Boston Harbor with the city’s skyscrapers lighting up at dusk. Shutterstock

8. Castle Island

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Castle Island
Boston, MA 02127

The five bastions of the old Fort Independence dominate this 22-acre state park. There is also plenty of greenspace as well as a long run of the HarborWalk.

Plus, Castle Island connects easily with the JFK library area via Marine Park and Carson Beach—urban hikers can make a real day of it.

The exterior of Castle Island in Boston. There is a path along a waterfront. In the distance is a stone building. Shutterstock

9. Lynn Woods

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106 Pennybrook Rd
Lynn, MA 01905
(781) 477-7123
Visit Website

The City of Lynn bills this 2,200-acre greensward as the second-biggest municipal park in the United States.

It comes complete with more than 30 miles of trails and three reservoirs that provide water to the city—and scenery to the park.

The view over a forest with skyscrapers in the distance. Shutterstock

10. Deer Island

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Deer Island
Boston, MA 02152

The peninsula is partly in Boston, partly in Winthrop, and is entirely a piece of a national park covering the Harbor Islands.

There is a 2.6-mile pathway along the waterfront (which offers breathtaking water views as well as views of planes landing and taking off from Logan) and a further two miles of trails on the hills farther inland.

Deer Island also hosts a sizable—and curiously awesome—wastewater treatment facility, which is open for tours.

In the foreground is a lawn with green grass. In the distance is a large white building. Shutterstock

1. Minuteman Bikeway

Minuteman Commuter Bikeway, Bedford, MA 01730
The view, framed by leaves, of people biking and walking along a path. Boston Globe via Getty Images

It is impossible to overstate the hiking opportunities along this 10-mile trail from Bedford to Cambridge (where it’s accessible via the Red Line’s Alewife stop).

Yes, it’s officially for bikes, but hikers use the paths just the same; and woodlands—as well as some historic sites—line said paths.

Minuteman Commuter Bikeway
Bedford, MA 01730

2. Cutler Park Reservation

84 Kendrick St, Needham, MA 02494
An open pasture with long grass. Wikipedia

The 600-acre state park includes a 1.5-mile loop around its Kendrick Pond that allows hikers to take in the reservation’s major sites—which are said to include a variety of avian life.

84 Kendrick St
Needham, MA 02494

3. Arlington's Great Meadow

Lexington, MA 02420
A large, open meadow with long grass. Wikipedia

Until around 115 years ago, this 183-acre expanse was water storage for the Town of Arlington.

Since drained, it’s been a lush nature preserve with at least two miles of prime trails and plenty of off-shoots.

Added bonus: Arlington’s Great Meadow is just off the Minuteman Bikeway.

4. Fresh Pond Reservation

180-220 Fresh Pond Pkwy, Cambridge, MA 02138
Trees changing color in a lush park. Shutterstock

The 162-acre reserve surrounds the 155-acre source of Cambridge’s water.

Fresh Pond Reservation is full of pathways and trails. Go deep enough, and you’ll feel like you’re in the country.

180-220 Fresh Pond Pkwy
Cambridge, MA 02138

5. Arnold Arboretum

125 Arborway, Boston, MA 02130
A lush shot of foliage in an arboretum. Shutterstock

Legendary landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted designed the greensward, and Harvard University owns and administers it.

Its 281 acres offer innumerable avenues for hiking, and its website provides maps and tips that make taking in the arboretum’s 15,000-plus plants relatively non-mind-bending.

125 Arborway
Boston, MA 02130

6. Middlesex Fells Reservation

4 Woodland Rd, Stoneham, MA 02180
An older man coming upon a trail marker in a forest. Boston Globe/Contributor/Getty Images

The closest big state park to Boston proper, the 2,200-acre Fells unfolds over several towns, including Medford and Malden, and offers more than 100 miles of trails.

Bring a fishing rod, too—that’s allowed.

4 Woodland Rd
Stoneham, MA 02180

7. HarborWalk

HarborWalk, Boston, MA
A walkway next to Boston Harbor with the city’s skyscrapers lighting up at dusk. Shutterstock

The Harborwalk edges the city in an almost continuous run that includes ample opportunity for hiking fast or slow on the waterfront.

There are plenty of attractions and other parkland just off the HarborWalk as well as numerous of places to sit should you decide against storming the full 43 miles at once.

HarborWalk
Boston, MA

8. Castle Island

Castle Island, Boston, MA 02127
The exterior of Castle Island in Boston. There is a path along a waterfront. In the distance is a stone building. Shutterstock

The five bastions of the old Fort Independence dominate this 22-acre state park. There is also plenty of greenspace as well as a long run of the HarborWalk.

Plus, Castle Island connects easily with the JFK library area via Marine Park and Carson Beach—urban hikers can make a real day of it.

Castle Island
Boston, MA 02127

9. Lynn Woods

106 Pennybrook Rd, Lynn, MA 01905
The view over a forest with skyscrapers in the distance. Shutterstock

The City of Lynn bills this 2,200-acre greensward as the second-biggest municipal park in the United States.

It comes complete with more than 30 miles of trails and three reservoirs that provide water to the city—and scenery to the park.

106 Pennybrook Rd
Lynn, MA 01905

10. Deer Island

Deer Island, Boston, MA 02152
In the foreground is a lawn with green grass. In the distance is a large white building. Shutterstock

The peninsula is partly in Boston, partly in Winthrop, and is entirely a piece of a national park covering the Harbor Islands.

There is a 2.6-mile pathway along the waterfront (which offers breathtaking water views as well as views of planes landing and taking off from Logan) and a further two miles of trails on the hills farther inland.

Deer Island also hosts a sizable—and curiously awesome—wastewater treatment facility, which is open for tours.

Deer Island
Boston, MA 02152