Best 5 Places to Go Winter Hiking South of Boston, Massachusetts

Live in Beantown and want to get outside and enjoy a winter hike? I know of five places within an hour or so drive of Boston, Mass., that are great spots for winter hiking.

Hiking boots.

Here they are:

1. Norris Reservation

The Norris Reservation is located 30 minutes from Boston in Norwell. It features two miles of marked, winter hiking trails that may also be used for cross country skiing, should the weather be accommodating. What makes it a great spot to go is the varied terrain. You'll enjoy both woodlands and wetlands along the way. I'd suggest that history buffs take Eleanor's Path as it goes past the remnants of an old mill. The River Loop Trail is best suited for those that want a more challenging hike. Admission is gratis, and it's open daily from dawn until dusk.

2. World's End

The World's End in Hingham is anything but. It's a 35-minute drive from Boston and offers winter hikers over four miles of well-worn carriage paths to choose from. If you feel like carrying your ice skates, there's a nice pond along the Rocky Neck Trail that sometimes freezes over. Admission is $5 per person, and it opens every day from 8 a.m. until dusk.

3. Whitney and Thayer Woods

The Whitney and Thayer Woods are also located in Hingham and are well worth your time. You'll find 10 miles of marked hiking trails that are also suitable for cross country skiing. The Boulder Lane Trail, Ode's Den, and Rooster Rock make for an interesting hike courtesy of rock formations created during the ice age. It opens daily from dawn until dusk and admission is gratis.

4. Wompatuck State Park

Hopefully, you're not sick of Hingham yet because there is one other winter hiking spot in town that you should consider: the Wompatuck State Park. It features over 10 miles of trails both paved and unpaved. One of the best aspects of the park is the Mt. Blue Spring. Be sure to bring a cup with you so you can sample the spring water. Some trails you may want to consider are Prospect Hill and the Burbank Boulder. It's open daily.

5. North River Wildlife Sanctuary

The North River Wildlife Sanctuary is located 40 minutes from Boston in Marshfield. The price of admission is typically $4 per person. You'll have a choice between two looped trails. I'd suggest that you try them both and bring along your binoculars so you can catch sight of the abundant winter wildlife.

Killeen Gonzalez enjoys winter sports and has traveled extensively.

More from this contributor:

Top 5 Massachusetts Ski Areas for Vertical Drops

Top 5 Places to Go Snow Tubing in Massachusetts

Top 5 Places to Go Ice Skating in Massachusetts

Barnstable, Massachusetts' Best Ice Fishing Spots

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Updated Monday, Feb 13, 2012