12 Best Dog Friendly Hikes in Massachusetts
Posted by Jennifer Joyce on 1st June 2016
Like in the rest of the country, dogs are generally not allowed in National Parks and Forests in Massachusetts. They are allowed in most of the state parks, but they are not allowed in swimming areas. Below we have listed some of our favorite hikes with dogs in Massachusetts from easy to difficult.Just make sure you and your dog are prepared for hiking. See our Tips for Hiking with Your Dog for ideas from our consulting vet, Dr. Susan O'Dell, DVM.
Hopkinton State Park, Hopkinton, MA (Metro West) – This park has a number of easy walking trails and features a beautiful lake. You can ramble up into the woods for some very short hills or just meander around the lake. Dogs are allowed and are supposed to be leashed but many people do not leash their dogs. Aside from the life guarded swimming areas, dogs are welcome to enjoy swimming in the lake.
Mt. Misery, Lincoln, MA (Metro Northwest) – The hiking here feels more like walking through a collection of farms but it is close to Boston and offers views of Sudbury River and Fairhaven Bay. The hike is only 3 miles with nearly no elevation gain (50 feet) so it’s a great beginner hike. Dogs are welcome on and off leash.
Ravenswood Park, Gloucester, MA (Northshore)– With over 10 miles of wide carriage roads, Ravenswood Park offers many easy to moderate hikes. Dogs are also allowed off leash once you leave the parking lot. A 2 mile loop, The Ledge Trail is a popular easy hike that features an almost magical forest with fern-covered boulders. Trekking through the Great Magnolia Swamp will take you to a cliff overlooking Gloucester Harbor.
Douglas State Forest, Douglas, MA (Central MA) – With a 4.5 mile loop that has very little elevation gain (237 feet), this hike is a nice ramble through a wooded forest with wide trails. Wallum Lake is also located in the forest, but dogs are not allowed in the swimming area. In the off season with few people around, you can find dogs taking a dip, however. Dogs are allowed in the park on a 10’ maximum lead.
Blue Hills Reservation, Milton, MA (Metro West) – Close to Boston, this popular reservation also welcomes dogs. It can often be crowded, so on-leash hiking is recommended. There are over 125 miles of trails. The Skyline Trail ascends Great Blue Hill. It’s 5.7 miles round trip and considered moderate (1,390 feet elevation gain). After your hike, head to Houghton Pond for a quick swim for your pup.
Middlesex Fells Reservation, Medford, MA (Metro Northwest) – There are many trails throughout this reservation that borders Medford, Stoneham and Winchester. From wide fire roads that can be fairly flat to the more challenging Skyline Trail (7 miles) or the walk up to the fire tower with spectacular views of Boston, there is a trail for every level. There are many ponds and lakes in the Middlesex Fells Reservation but they are off limits for humans and dogs, because they are water sources for the surrounding towns. The trails can be confusing and it’s recommended you get a map before venturing out as there are none available at the reservation.
Breakheart Reservation, Saugus, MA (Northshore) – This 640 acre reservation has two lakes, hikes along the Saugus River, and many miles of hiking trails. Close to Boston it is popular for an after-work hike in the summer. Dogs are welcome on leash, but there is an off-leash dog park within the reservation. The most popular loop is only 2.7 miles, but with varied terrain including 7 hills each about 200 feet high.
Wachusett Mountain State Park, Princeton, MA (Central MA) – Wachusett Mountain State Reservation Trail is a 4 mile loop trail with 806 feet in elevation gain, making it a good hike for beginners ready to begin climbing. From the summit on a clear day, you can see Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire, the Berkshires to the west, and the Boston skyline to the east. Stop by Echo Lake and let your pup cool off with a swim. Dogs are allowed in this state park on leash.
Monument Mountain, Great Barrington, MA (Berkshires) – The rail leading to the top of Monument Mountain takes you through one of the few remaining old growth forests in Massachusetts. The hikes is only 2.4 miles with a 772 foot elevation, but it is rated as moderate due to the steeper rocky areas. From this trail you can also add on an additional hike to Squaw Peak where you can see Mt. Greylock in the distance as well as the Catskills in New York.
Mt. Greylock, Lanesborough, MA (Berkshires) – With over 70 miles of trails and 2,000 feet in elevation gain on some trails, Mt. Greylock offers both easy and difficult hikes for every type of hiker. For advanced hikers, The Hopper trail is the most popular to summit Mt. Greylock. It’s an 11 mile loop and you also summit Mt. Prospect and Mt. Williams. For a moderate hike, you can drive to the Summit and hike a number of loops taking in the breathtaking views. Dog are allowed in Mt. Greylock State Reservation as well as the campground. Officially, they must be leashed but many people hike with their dog off leash.
Mt. Washington State Forest, Mt. Washington, MA (Berkshires) – Not to be confused with Mt. Washington in NH, Mt. Washington State Forest is located in the most Southwestern corner of Massachusetts near the CT & NY borders. In fact, hiking to the summit of Alander Mountain takes you through all 3 states. There are many trails to reach the peak. The South Taconic Trail is the most difficult. It is over 15 miles round trip and climbs to the Alander peak at 2,250 elevation. It passes by Bish Bash falls, the largest single drop waterfall in Massachusetts. You can also reach the peak by starting at the falls and going up the 3.5 mile trail to the top. Dogs are allowed on and off leash.
Mt. Everett State Forest, Sheffield, MA (Berkshires) – This 5.4 mile hike with 1,832 elevation takes you to the peaks of Mt. Rave and Mt. Everett. Due to its windswept rock faces, this is considered a hike only for the adventurous. There are many waterfalls on the hike with expansive views across the Taconic Ridge. Dogs are welcome off leash, though leashing your pup along the rock faces would be recommended.
Do you have a favorite Massachusetts hike not here? Comment below and we will add it! Or check out our Dog Friendly Hiking Guide for New Hampshire.
Check out our Dog Hiking Checklist to make sure you have everything you need
No matter where you’re headed, though, one thing’s for certain. For overnight trips, you and your dog both need a solid place to sleep at night. It helps you recover from the day’s adventures and regain energy for the next day. So, what do you pack alongside your sleeping bag to help your dog get a good night’s rest while you’re out hiking or camping?
Draco the Border Collie loves exploring with his dog mom Kristina in Florida. We caught up with these Kurgo Ambassadors and asked them their favorite tips, tricks, and places they'd like to go.