Blue Hills Reservation

Transit friendly
Accessible
Dogs Allowed
Historic site

Details of Blue Hills Reservation

Overview of Blue Hills Reservation

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.

Hours for Blue Hills Reservation

Dawn to dusk

Parking at Blue Hills Reservation

Visitor parking is free at the Houghton's Pond parking lot.

Maps and information are available at park headquarters. (10 minute parking)

Activities at Blue Hills Reservation

Hiking and walking 

Explore hiking trails that will take you up rocky summits, through forests and meadows, and along scenic waterways.

Mountain biking 

Blue Hills Reservation has a huge network of wide carriage roads and rolling rocky trails that are perfect for all levels of mountain biking.
Two boys playing and laughing in a pool

Swimming

Visit scenic Houghton's Pond Recreation Area for a fun day of swimming, fishing, or a family picnic.
Person holding skiing polls ready to take off

Skiing

Cross-country ski on park trails if snowfall allows or head to the Blue Hills Ski Area for downhill skiing. The season generally runs from mid-December to mid-March

All Activities at Blue Hills Reservation

  • Hiking
  • Mountain biking
  • Horseback riding
  • Camping
  • Swimming
  • Boating (non-motorized)
  • Canoeing and kayaking
  • Golfing
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Downhill skiing
  • Rock climbing

Facilities at Blue Hills Reservation

  • Athletic fields 
  • Educational programs
  • Grills
  • Historic sites
  • Lifeguard
  • Museum
  • Observatory 
  • Pavilion 
  • Picnic areas
  • Restrooms
  • Science center
  • Visitor center

Accessibility at Blue Hills Reservation

  • Hiking
    • Paved trails
  • Picnicking 
  • Restroom
  • Swimming
  • Visitor center

Restrictions at Blue Hills Reservation

  • Boats are only allowed on Ponkapoag Pond, Canton.
  • Dogs must remain on-leash
  • Dogs are not allowed on beach at Houghton Pond

More info for Blue Hills Reservation

Visit Houghton's Pond inside Blue Hills Reservation for some summer swimming and fishing activities!

Find park programs and events

Blue Hills Deer Management Program

Learn more...

About 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.

 

Blue Hills Planning Unit

Blue Hills Complex

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