View Full Version : Quick Overnight from Boston Area

01-13-2013, 12:30
It looks like I may have some down-time on the work schedule for the next couple of days and I'm itching to spend a night sleeping in the woods. Ever since I moved from Connecticut up to the Boston area -- I live on the South Shore now -- I've never found a good destination for a quick dose of hiking & camping. Does anyone have any suggestions? Ideally I'd like a 5 or 6 mile hike or so and a decent place to camp, and all within a couple hours drive at most (ideally much less) from the Boston area.

01-13-2013, 14:15
The south shore is tough as you need to traverse through Boston to go north. The traffic up 93 in the evening is brutal. When I lived in Lowell, I used to go to the Pemi wilderness a lot. That would save an hour or more then going farther north through the notches. From Lowell, it was only a couple of hours to get to the Kangamangus highway. I lived In Qunicy for a little bit and hated it, since it made getting to NH so much harder. Eventually, I said the heck with that and just moved here :)

Heading west to the Birkshires is almost as long a ride as heading up to NH and not quite as interesting as NH. I never really checked out any of the state parks in Mass. Might be worth looking in to those.

01-13-2013, 14:45
I live pretty close to you and have also not found a good solution less than an hour or so away...

Last year a friend and I tried to hike the Warner Trail that goes from Cumberland RI to Sharon MA. It's kind of an odd experience and at one point it has you walking through the Wrentham Outlets parking lot... But there is plenty of opportunity for sleeping in the "woods". Trail is not really marked, maps are garbage, and the guide book has directions like "turn left in a yard where a resident stores firewood." But it's interesting. Goes by a fantastic BBQ place (Commonwealth BBQ). Slightly more info: http://warnertrail.org/

Robert Frost trail seems interesting but camping is "strictly prohibited".

Metacomet-Monadnock trail is about a 2 hour drive. Great options in the Berkshires but that's like 2.5+ hours away and at that point you can go up to the Whites or wherever really.

01-13-2013, 15:54
Monkeywrench, I am not sure if you are looking to hike or camp, but for a fun camping experience you should consider the Boston Harbor Islands. They have a ferry from Hingham that will take you to Bumpkin, Peddocks and Lovell Islands for primitive camping. A beautiful oasis right near the city. Make reservations well ahead of time for weekends.

01-13-2013, 15:56
The Tully trail in Royalton, MA, has a place to camp and a shelter: http://www.thetrustees.org/places-to-visit/places-to-stay/tully-lake-campground/tully-trail.html
The Midstate Trail in Central Mass. goes from RI to NH and has, I think, a couple of places where camping is allowed (and a shelter or two?):http://www.midstatetrail.org/index.html
The Wapack Trail is nice, but the only camping/shelters are at the Windblown XC Ski area, reservations needed and maybe not available in winter.
Mt. Monadnock, NH has a campground and would be a nice intro to winter hiking, hike up and down the mountain and set up in the campground. There is also the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway: http://www.msgtc.org/map

There are numerous possibilities in the White and Green Mountains or the Berkshires, but they're further.

It'll be getting cold out here in a few days. Microspikes will be very useful once the temps go below freezing again.

01-13-2013, 16:09
It'll be getting cold out here in a few days. Microspikes will be very useful once the temps go below freezing again.

The snow is getting really soft and when it freezes up again there will be a hard crust over it. Trying to hike on un-broken trails will be interesting - a lot of post holeing for sure.

01-14-2013, 07:59
Thanks Everybody, for the replies. I was actually looking for some place to get away literally today, but my work schedule has changed and the window has closed.

I have hiked the Tully Trail. It's a nice overnighter, though the eastern side of the loop is definitely superior to the western side, which has far too much road walking. I've not hiked the Midstate Trail but from what info I could find online there is a designated shelter / campsite down near the RI border that might make a decent destination for a quick and easy overnighter sometime.

For reasons which I've never been able to put my finger on, I've never really been a fan of hiking in the Whites. I know that's kind of sacrilegious, but there it is. If I had the time I'd head to southern Vermont and snowshoe the Bourne Pond / Stratton Pond loop, but in this case I was hoping for a quick and easy overnighter just to get out in the fresh air and exercise my hiking muscles. It's also true that while I have done a number of solo winter trips, I am aware that it's a bit foolish to be out solo in the winter time.

In any case, I'll be in the edit suite all day today so the hiking trip is off for now.