Fall Foliage in the Parks
The parks come alive with color! Visit the DCR Fall Foliage Season in the Parks webpage for a sampling.
Avoid Greylock gridlock during peak October weekends. Check out Scenic Fall Foliage Viewing Alternatives
Leaf Peeping season starts around October 1st and peak color often coincides with Columbus Day.
Many of DCR's properties have summits or vistas where you can see for miles.
Take your car straight to the summit of Wachusett Mountain, for a breathtaking 360 degree view.
The park offers many hiking trails and breathtaking views of the Connecticut River Valley. Reach the summit of Mt. Holyoke by road or hiking trail.
Take the View of the Valley Trail or the more challenging Pocumtuck Ridge Trail to the summit for amazing views.
Mount Tom features wonderful views of the Pioneer Valley in west-central Massachusetts. The area is also a great place to bird watch--especially for hawks .
From its peak on a clear day, you can see as far as 90 miles away.
Accessible Scenic Vistas
Accessible scenic views are offered at several state parks.
You can reach scenic mountaintop views by automobile in spring, summer, and fall.
Visit the Accessible scenic vistas webpage to find locations
Parks in Bloom
You'll find beautiful scenic views in almost all of our parks. In the spring, when all is abloom, you’ll especially want to visit:
Charles River Reservation
One of the signs of spring is the profusely flowering forsythia. Look for this fountain-like shrub, covered in bright yellow, delicately scented flowers, throughout the park and especially around the lagoons. Several of the parks trees will also be showing off in early spring, thanks in part to volunteer pruners who kept them healthy this winter. Crabapples will be full of pinks and reds, and graceful Hatch Shell Magnolias will bloom almost immediately after the last frost, displaying 5-10” whitish pink flowers with a crisp, sweet smell. Flowering Dogwoods that can be found around the lagoons and monuments will be full of whitish pink blooms, and if you have a chance to take a closer look, notice that what appear to be flower petals are actual modified leaves called bracts, and the flower itself is the small greenish structure in the middle. The bracts help protect the flowering structure and their showy appearance helps attract pollinators! Finally, the Shadblow Serviceberry will be displaying dense and showy white flowers along arching branches. This native, water loving tree is one of the first to bloom in spring, and gets its name from Native American tribes who noticed that its blooms came at the same time that the shad fish returned to the rivers to spawn. Look for the serviceberry near the edge of the lagoons and footbridges.
Blue Hills Reservation
Quincy, Dedham, Milton, Randolph
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.
Borderland State Park
Borderland’s 1,773 acres surround a granite mansion dating from 1910, formerly the home of Blanche and Oakes Ames. Around the mansion pink and white dogwoods, apple trees bloom in profusion. Each of the many walking trails opens up new floral delights: a pond full of yellow and white pond lilies; and wildflowers of all kinds.
Bradley Palmer State Park
This 721-acre former estate features pine needled paths through woods, acres of sunny rolling meadows, and spectacular rhododendrons which line the old carriage roads. Peak bloom is usually mid-June.
Elm Bank Reservation
The 182 acres of woodlands, fields, and old estate property is surrounded on three sides by the Charles River. The reservation is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its many elements of estate landscaping. A variety of wildlife, including deer, thrive in the upland habitats and along the river. The reservation is also home to the headquarters of the Mass. Horticultural Society.
Maudslay State Park
The former Mosley family estate on the Merrimac River, this 476-acre park features 19 th century gardens and plantings, rolling meadows, towering pines, and one of the largest naturally occurring stands of mountain laurel in Massachusetts. Most breathtaking are the ornamental trees and masses of azaleas and rhododendrons that bloom in May and June. An exquisite place for walking, biking and informal picnics.
Moore State Park
A peaceful 400-acre retreat in Central Massachusetts, Moore was the site of grist and saw mills from 1747 through the early part of the century. It then became a private estate. What remains today is the best of both: gorgeous stone mill foundations, and mountains of glorious rhododendrons, azaleas and mountain laurel. The flowers cascade down hills, line wooded paths, and decorate the already stunning waterfalls.
Pittsfield State Forest
This Berkshire County forest offers a wealth of recreational opportunities – camping, fishing, swimming, and picnicking, hiking – but it also hides a spring treasure. Sixty-five acres of wild azaleas bloom in the midst of the forest each June. The best time to view the azaleas is late May to early June. Visitors may hike in amongst them, or view their glory from the comfort of a car. The forest also offers a ¾ mile accessible wooded trail for people who use wheelchairs.
Waterfalls & Gorges
Best visited in spring and early summer for most dramatic viewing.
Bash Bish Falls State Park : Mt. Washington
Beaver Brook Reservation : Belmont & Waltham
Chester-Blandford State Forest : Sanderson Brook Falls, Chester
Granville State Forest : Hubbard Brook Rapids, Granville
Monroe State Forest : Dunbar Brook, Monroe
Mount Everett State Reservation : Race Brook Falls, Sheffield, contact Mt. Washington
Mount Greylock State Reservation : Money Brook, March Cataract and Deer Hill Falls, Lanesboro
Natural Bridge State Park : North Adams
October Mountain State Forest : Schermerhorn Gorge, Lee
Pittsfield State Forest : Lulu Brook Cascades
Savoy Mountain State Forest : Tannery Falls, Savoy
Wahconah Falls State Park : Dalton
Willard Brook State Forest : Trap Falls, Ashby & Townsend
Windsor State Forest : Windsor Jambs, Windsor