Great Outdoors

Explore the great outdoors in Concord

Concord is rich in wildlife and hiking and conservation land. Concord’s Natural Resources Division manages nearly 1,500 acres of conservation land in Concord. Some of the more popular areas include the Hapgood Wright Town Forest, Mattison Field, October Farm Riverfront, Punkatasset Preserve, and the White Pond Reservation.

Spend a day enjoying the outdoors in Concord. Start your day at Walden Pond, once home to the renowned author, Henry David Thoreau and now part of the Massachusetts Forests and Parks system. Walden Pond State Reservation includes 462 acres of protected open space so that visitors can experience the pond that inspired Thoreau, as well as to hike, swim, fish, canoe and cross country ski. A replica of Thoreau’s house and the location of his former cabin are available for viewing by the public. Year round interpretive programs and guided walks are offered as well as a gift shop, bookstore and the Tsongas gallery. Hike one of the trails and go for a swim if the weather allows. Keep in mind that during the summer the parking lot fills up quickly and there is a fee for parking. Check Walden’s Twitter page for parking lot updates @waldenpondstate.

After you’ve built up an appetite hiking, head over to nearby West Concord for a bite to eat. Some of your options include West Village Tavern, Saltbox Kitchen, or Woods Hill Table. Afterwards, grab a dessert at Nashoba Brook Bakery, Concord Teacakes or an ice cream from Reasons to be Cheerful or Bedford Farm Ice Cream.

Next, head over to the South Bridge Boathouse (open seasonally) for a little kayaking or canoeing on the Sudbury River. Open since the 1940s, this kayak and canoe rental offers relaxing paddling on calm waters.

If you’re like many a nature lover, you haven’t had your fill yet of the outdoors. There are a variety of public trails to explore throughout Concord, including the Annursnac Trail, Barrett’s Mill Finigan Way Trail, Emerson-Thoreau Amble, Harry Beyer Assessed Trail, Rivers Confluence Trail, Town Forest Trail, Mattison Field Trail, October Farm Riverfront Trail, Old Rifle Range Trail, Powder Mill Trail, Punkatasset Trail, Reformatory Branch Trail, Thoreau Leave No Trace National Historic Trail, West Concord Park Trail, Westvale Harrington Trail, White Pond Trail. While hiking, keep your eyes out for the many species of wildlife in the area from the fairly common raccoons, beaver, coyotes, fisher, otter, to the occasional black bear and moose. Many birds nest, migrate, and overwinter in the diverse habitats of the area. Amphibians and reptiles can also be found by looking closely in appropriate habitats. Other exploring options include Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge where over 220 species of birds have been recorded. Or visit Brewster’s Woods Wildlife Sanctuary, a 130-acre property located along the banks of the Concord River that was formerly part of the country homestead of William Brewster, an early leader in American ornithology and the first President of Mass Audubon.

West Concord bike share bike rack

Finally, if you’re in for a really long walk, consider the Battle Road trail, a five mile trail connecting historic sites from Meriam’s Corner in Concord to the eastern boundary of the park in Lexington. Much of the trail follows the original remnants of the Battle Road: Where thousands of Colonial Militia and British Regulars fought a bloody engagement on April 19, 1775. In some areas the trail leaves the historic road to follow the route of the Minute Men traversing farming fields, wetlands, and forests.