Friday, July 22, 2011

Hopkinton State Park

Hopkinton State Park is really
two separate places: the
popular reservoir & trails for
dog-walking, jogging, boating,
swimming, fishing and
picnicing to the east of
route 85, and the State Park
headquarters with hiking
trails to the southwest. The
latter is free, with parking
around the side of the park
headquarters. Also free is the Reservoir Run trail section to the south of the reservoir, with roadside parking on the unnamed drive off Rafferty Road, also with canoe access. The reservoir beach, boat launch/rental & trails cost money to enter during the warmer months.

Maps from the Massachusetts
Department of Conservation &
Recreation are available here.Link
Hopkinton State Park is a
nice place to spend the day.
But if you're trying to get
away from the crowds, either
go during the off-season or
head down to the state
park headquarters trailhead.

It's a decent hike out to Duck
Pond and back. I tend to avoid
the Pipeline Trail as it's buggy
and deadends into private
property, but it is fun to
explore once.

Reservoir Run is one of
the most root-filled trails
I've ever encountered.
Much of it is lined with
cedar trees, and the views
are nice, but you must
pay attention to your feet.

The main section of the
park has many trails,
roads & picnic areas.
The trails here are
generally well-traveled,
and most of them well-
marked. In the warmer
weather you can boat
out to a couple of islands
in the reservoir, and on
the coldest winter days
I have visited them over
the ice (watch out for ice fishing holes!).

If you're looking for a
longer hike here, try
the Long Trail, which
begins at the eastern
end of the swimming
pond, and skirts the
northern edge of the
park ending by the
entrance. There are
fun rocks to climb in the main section of the park along many of the trails, which make it more interesting if you've got kids along. Also (not sure if this is technically "allowed") people have a lot of fun turning the back side of the reservoir's earthen dam into a sledding hill in the winter!

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