Massachusetts has a wealth of historic landscapes within the Park system – highlights, organized by landscape type, are listed below.

Scenic Landscapes

Many of the properties managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) have long been recognized for their scenic value. Through decades of use by conservationists, recreational visitors and nature enthusiasts, sites such as Mount Greylock (Massachusetts’ first state park) have come to possess cultural as well as natural significance – and afford impressive views of the surrounding landscape!

Bash Bish Falls State Park

Boston Harbor Islands

Connecticut River Greenway State Park

Mount Greylock State Reservation

Mount Sugarloaf State Reservation

Purgatory Chasm State Reservation

Skinner State Park

Wachusett Reservoir

Designed Landscapes / Former Estates

The DCR manages several properties that were once private estates, many of which feature gardens and designed landscapes.

Bradley Palmer State Park

Maudslay State Park

Borderland State Park

Agricultural Landscapes

Agricultural landscapes reflect the interaction of human beings with the land.

Great Brook Farm State Park

Former Industrial Landscapes

Mills, quarries and other industrial activities leave their mark on the landscape, as seen at several sites managed by the DCR.

Kenneth Dubuque Memorial State Forest

Halibut Point State Park

Moore State Park

Natural Bridge State Park

Civilian Conservation Corps Projects

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) offered young men employment during the Great Depression. CCC enrollees in Massachusetts worked in numerous state forests and parks, building cabins and shelters, erecting dams and bridges, and creating miles of hiking trails.

Freetown-Fall River State Forest

Upton State Forest

Brimfield State Forest

Mohawk Trail State Forest

Pittsfield State Forest

Rail Trails

The DCR manages several “rail trails” that utilize former railroad rights-of-way, offering pedestrians, bicyclists and/or cross-country skiers a chance to view the diversity of natural and historic landscapes in the Commonwealth.

Ashuwillticook Rail Trail

Cape Cod Rail Trail

Norwottuck Rail Trail

Nashua River Rail Trail

Some historic landscapes defy categorization. Visitors to Walden Pond State Reservation can experience the landscape that inspired Henry David Thoreau, a pioneer in the American conservation movement. Hikers along the 90 miles of the Appalachian Trail that run through Massachusetts can enjoy spectacular views of the mountains and valleys of Berkshire County. The 2,100 mile, inter-state footpath was conceived by Massachusetts native and environmental pioneer Benton McKay in 1921.