695 Hillside Street, Milton, MA 02186
Parking located at 840 Hillside Street Milton, MA 02186
Located only minutes from the bustle of downtown Boston, the DCR Blue Hills Reservation stretches over 7,000 acres from Quincy to Dedham, Milton to Randolph, providing a green oasis in an urban environment. Rising above the horizon, Great Blue Hill reaches a height of 635 feet, the highest of the 22 hills in the Blue Hills chain. From the rocky summit visitors can see over the entire metropolitan area. With its scenic views, varied terrain and 125 miles of trails, the Blue Hills Reservation offers year-round enjoyment for the outdoor enthusiast.
The Blue Hills
The Blue Hills were so named by early European explorers who, while sailing along the coastline, noticed the bluish hue on the slopes when viewed from a distance. More than ten thousand years before those Europeans arrived, Native Americans made their home in the hills. The Natives referred to themselves as Massachusett, or "people of the great hills". Eventually the Europeans began settling in this region. The colonists built houses and barns, cleared fields for crops and livestock and logged the hillsides for lumber.
In 1893, the Metropolitan Parks Commission purchased the lands of Blue Hills Reservation as one of the first areas set aside for public recreation. Today, the reservation is rich in both archaeological and historic resources. Sixteen historic structures listed on the National Register tell the fascinating tales of Native Americans, explorers, farmers, quarry workers and inventors. Additionally the Blue Hills Weather Observatory, a National Historic Landmark, sits atop Great Blue Hill, as a crowning feature.
The living treasures of the Blue Hills include flora, fauna and natural phenomena – from coyotes to copperheads, dogwoods to lady's slippers, and turkey vultures to dragonflies. Trails traverse upland and bottomland forests, marsh, swamp and pond edges, meadows and an Atlantic white cedar bog. A great variety of plant and animal life thrive in the diverse habitats, including several rare and endangered species in Massachusetts, such as the timber rattlesnake.
By Car: Take Route 93 to Exit 3, Houghton's Pond. Turn right at the stop sign onto Hillside Street. Houghton's Pond is located approximately 1/4 miles on the right; Continue 1/4 miles to the reservation headquarters on the left.
Public Transportation: Several different public transportation routes lead to different sections of the Blue Hills Reservation.
West Area: (location of Trailside Museum, Blue Hills Ski Area and Houghton’s Pond)
MBTA: Red Line (Ashmont Line) to Ashmont Station. Connect with Mattapan High Speed Line to Mattapan Square. Take the Mattapan to Canton Center bus route #716. (JBL Busline 781-843-4505)
For Houghton’s Pond, follow the directions above, but stay on the bus past the Trailside Museum. Exit the bus at Blue Hill River Road in front of the Dunkin Donuts. Cross at the light and walk 1 mile to the left (east) on Blue Hill River Road to Houghton’s Pond.
Bus runs Monday - Friday every hour, Saturday every 2 hours until 12pm only,
No service on Sundays or Holidays. Call MBTA for details.
Central Area: (location of Chickatawbut Overlook)
MBTA: Red Line (Ashmont Line) to Ashmont Station. Take Bus # 240 outbound. Exit at the intersection
of Randolph Avenue and Chickatawbut Road. Chickatawbut Overlook is 1 mile to the left (east) of this intersection on Chickatawbut Road. Houghton’s Pond is 2 miles to the right (west) on Chickatawbut Road.
Bus runs hourly 7 days/week. Call MBTA for details.
East Area: (Location of St. Moritz Pond and Shea Rink)
MBTA: Red Line to (Braintree Line) Quincy Center. Take the Bus #238 outbound. Exit at West Street and Willard Street, across from the Shea Skating Rink. Cross the skating rink parking lot to St. Moritz Pond Nature Trail.
Bus runs hourly 7 days/week. Call MBTA for details.
Commuter Rail: Attleboro/Stoughton line from Back Bay. Get off the train at the Route 128 station.
Cross under Route 128 into the Meadow. Train runs Monday – Friday every ½ hour, Saturday every 2 hours, Sunday starts at noon every 2 hours. Call MBTA for details.
MBTA: 617-222-5000 or www.mbta.com
JBL Busline: 781-843-4505
- Camping For Camping in the Blue Hills - Overnight camping is permitted only at the Appalachian Mountain Club cabins on Ponkapoag Pond. Call the AMC at (781) 961-7007 for reservations
- Cross-country skiing
- Downhill skiing
- Horseback Riding
- Mountain Biking
- Nonmotorized Boating Boats are only allowed on Ponkapoag Pond, Canton
- Rock Climbing
Things to know before you go
The reservation is open dawn to dusk. Swimming only at Houghton's Pond in designated areas. Permits required for groups of 25 or more.
Blue Hills Reservation Headquarters is located at 695 Hillside St. in Milton, 1/4 mile north of Houghton's Pond, beside the State Police Station. Please stop by or call (617) 698-1802 for park information.
Blue Hills Trailside Museum is managed by the Massachusetts Audubon Society, features cultural and natural history exhibits including a display of live animals of the Blue Hills. For more information, call (617) 333-0690.
Blue Hill Observatory and Science Center offers weather related educational programs for school groups and weather enthusiasts. The Observatory is located at the summit of Great Blue Hill. For all general inquiries and programs call 617-696-0562. To reach the observer’s office or for urgent weather inquiries please dial 617-696-1014.
Educational Programs are offered by DCR Rangers on weekends throughout the year. Look for program schedules posted on park bulletin boards or call (617) 698-1802 for program details.
Blue Hills TrailWatch is an all-volunteer organization of concerned recreational trail users whose goal is to promote safe and cooperative trail use. For more information, call (617) 698-1802.
Dial 911 or telephone the State Police at 1-800-525-5555
For 24-hour contact/response call the DCR State Control dispatch at 508-820-1428