Blue Hills Reservation Massachusetts is 28 square kilometers (10.8 square miles) and is south of Boston.
This historic reservation was first established in 1893. It goes through 6 Massachusetts towns including Milton, Braintree, Dedham, Quincy, Canton, and Randolph.
It takes about 40 minutes by car to get there from Boston.
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What to Bring
- Snack(s) – Don’t forget your reusable silverware set!
- Reusable water bottle(s) – Check out Klean Kanteen on MightyNest
- Sunblock – This stuff is good for your face too!
- Bug spray
- Lightweight bag
Check the weather before you go hiking!
Blue Hills Reservation Parking
There are two parking lots and they are both in Milton.
You can either park at Houghton’s Pond: 840 Hillside St., Milton, MA
695 Hillside St., Milton, MA.
If you type in Blue Hills Massachusetts on Waze, you will probably get the second parking location.
At the 695 Hillside St. parking lot, they have a museum, gift shop and visitor center, and some animal exhibits.
What is There to Do at Blue Hills Reservation MA?
Walking over to the museum from the 695 Hillside parking lot, there is a Trailside Native Plant Garden. There are numerous plants in what seemed like a small garden.
Across from the museum they have bird feeders where you can see hummingbirds and other birds that go there to eat.
There are quite a few ponds on the reservation including Houghton’s Pond and Ponkapoag Pond.
Duck Pond is another big pond. Sometimes you can see some turtles on the logs.
Other animals that you can see at the Blue Hills Trailside Museum include chipmunks, owls, otters, foxes, and many more. There are numerous animals inside the reservation itself.
There’s an inside museum as well so check out the hours and plan your time accordingly before heading to this humungous reservation.
You can do some swimming, mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, camping, and more!
Blue Hills Hiking Trails
There are many hiking trails that add up to 201 km or 125 miles in total.
The Blue Hills map is right outside of the museum and right near the parking lot. It shows you all of the hiking trails that you can follow.
You can download the Blue Hills Reservation trail map for free here. You can also buy a map at the Reservation Headquarters or at the Blue Hills Trailside Museum.
There are many other trails that you can choose to your liking such as the Skyline Trail and Hancock Hill.
Eliot Observation Tower
The most popular trail and the only one that I’ve ever hiked is called the Great Blue Hill Red Dot. It is a moderate hike and takes about 1-1.5 hours.
The starting point is near the Trailside Museum.
Once you reach the end of this trail, you will see one of the historic sites inside the reservation: Eliot Observation Tower.
It can take about a half-hour to hike all the way up to Eliot Tower.
Inside the tower, on the first floor, you can have picnics or just hang out. There are benches and tables to enjoy your snack and take a sip of water.
There’s also a fireplace but I’m not sure if you can use it.
The stairs inside Eliot Tower lead to the observation tower.
From the second floor of Eliot Observation Tower, you can see all of Boston and its surrounding cities.
The summit gives you a panoramic view at .2 kilometers (635 feet) of elevation.
When you exit Eliot Tower from the other side, you will see other paths.
Blue Hills Weather Observatory
The Blue Hills Weather Observatory sits at the top of the reservation.
The path ended up leading to the Blue Hills Weather Observatory, which was built in 1885. If you want to go inside, make sure to call ahead or check out the hours online.
It seems that the views from the observatory would be beautiful. Even from outside of the observatory, the views were exquisite.
The path going back down was easier; the road was paved. We crossed over to the red dot path again and made our way back down to where we parked.
You can make a full day of hiking at the reservation! Just don’t forget to bring your bag full of goodies, hydration, and protection.
Check out another reservation in the state: Breakheart Reservation