Monday, October 20, 2014

The Blue Hills Reservation, Ponkapoag Pond Loop: Canton, MA

Directions: Click here for Google map

A 20-minute drive from Boston, the Ponkapoag Trails are a series of popular hiking trails embedded within the 7,000-acre Blue Hills Reservation.  The Blue Hills Reservation extends from Quincy to Dedham, Milton to Randolph, offering 125 miles of beautiful trails, open year-round.  Great Blue Hill, the highest of the 22 hills in the Blue Hills chain, offers a rocky summit at 635 feet, offering spectacular views of the entire metropolitan area.

The Blue Hills were named by early European explorers, who noticed a bluish hue on the slopes as they sailed along the coastline.  Ten thousand years before the Europeans arrived, Native Americans made their homes in the hills, referring to themselves as the Massachusett or "people of the great hills".  In 1893, the Metropolitan Parks Commission purchased the land of Blue Hills Reservation as one of the first areas set aside for public recreation.

The Ponkapoag Pond Loop is a flat, easy 4-mile loop with well marked and well groomed trails.  The loop passes by an open water pond and a rare Atlantic white cedar bog - home to several rare and endangered species!  The scenic trail takes you on a fun bog boardwalk, through diverse habitats and past spring and summer wildflowers.

Hikers are allowed to park at the Ponkapoag Golf Course.  Walk along the main road through the golf course and you will reach the pond within a few minutes.  When hiking around the pond, you will come to the Ponkapoag Camp, where hikers can rent cabins from the Appalachian Mountain Club or just stop for lunch at one of the many picnic tables provided.

You can find more information about camping by clicking here.  For park information, including a trail map, click here.  

Dogs are required to be leashed in the park.

Information sources: Trimble Outdoors, Friends of the Blue Hills,,, Massachusetts DCR

Here are the positive features:
  • Miles of beautiful, serene hiking trails close to Boston
  • Close to major routes & highways (I-93, I-95, Rts. 1, 3, 24) 
  • Large, free parking lot
  • Restrooms available at golf course
  • Picnic tables and cabins available
  • Your dog will enjoy the stream and pond, which also allows canoes/kayaks, swimming and fishing 
  • We only saw two other people there and we often felt like we had the park all to ourselves
Negative features:
  • Ticks, mosquitoes and other bugs abound, so be prepared and check yourself and your dog after you leave
  • Doggie bags & trash barrels may not be provided, so plan to pack everything in and out

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