BLUE HILLS RESERVATION
695 Hillside Street, Milton
The Blue Hills Reservation includes 7,000 acres of varied terrain. It ranges from woodlands to marsh to rocky hills. There is an extensive, well-marked and maintained trail system with miles of fire road, double and single track. There are great views of Boston and the South Shore from several hilltops. Other activities available include hiking, swimming, rock climbing, canoeing, fishing and horseback riding. At Houghton’s Pond, there is a designated swimming area and a refreshment stand.
The terrain open to mountain bikers at Blue Hills consists of the Houghton’s Pond, Great Blue Hill, and Little Blue Hill sections, as well as a portion of the Fowl Meadow. Trails in the Chickatawbut section, east of Route 28, are closed to bikes. The Ponkapoag section is also off-limits. Even with these restrictions, the amount of terrain available to riders is significant. Within the open areas, approximately 95% of the double-track and 50% of the single-track is open to cyclists. Watch trail intersections for white and red signs that designate closed trails.
Blue Hills is a big place! There’s a lot of stuff to ride here and plenty to explore. Much of the double track is gravelly fire road but significant portions are rocky and quite challenging. The variety of single track is more limited than the double track but there are enough trails that even the experienced rider will not run out of terrain quickly.
Riders visiting the Blue Hills for the first time should stop at the Reservation Headquarters on Hillside Street to pick up a free copy of the DCR’s Mountain Biking in the Blue Hills brochure. It has a map of open trails and shows closed trails in red. For $2 you can purchase a beautiful color map showing the entire reservation.
Two marked loops offer an easy way to explore the reservation without too much route finding. The White Loop in the Houghton’s Pond section is a 6-mile route of intermediate difficulty. The Yellow Loop in the Great Blue Hill section covers 4.5 miles and offers greater challenges and steeper hills.
Blue Hills has a limited amount of novice terrain open to mountain bikers. The flattest and easiest trails are the short loop around Houghton’s Pond and “Old Route 128,” which is actually a paved road through trees on the edge of the reservation. The Burma Road trail in the Fowl Meadow is another beautiful dirt road that passes through the Neponset River marshes. Some of the double track in the reservation is not difficult from a technical standpoint but is still quite hilly. If you are not reasonably fit, you may want to build up conditioning riding someplace flatter for a while before trying Blue Hills.
Blue Hills TrailWatch is a group of nearly fifty volunteers who hike and bike through the reservation, keeping an eye on trail conditions and encouraging safe and cooperative trail use. TrailWatch volunteers lead rides, from Beginner through Advanced levels, from April to December. They also assist with the DCR’s annual Blue Hills Mountain Bike Day. This event, begun in 1996, offers rides, skills training, contests and prizes in a family-friendly environment.
Mountain bicycles are prohibited on Blue Hills trails between January 1st and April 15th. During the winter months, Ragged Mountain operates the Blue Hills Ski Area on the western side of Great Blue Hill.
Click here to view trail map
The Blue Hills Reservation is headquartered in Milton, 8 miles south of Boston.
From north or south: Take Route 93 to Exit 3, Houghton’s Pond. Turn right at the stop sign onto Hillside Street. Houghton’s Pond parking lot is located approximately 1/4 miles on the right. There is plenty of parking in this lot. Reservation headquarters is 1/4 mile further up Hillside Street. You can stop here for a map but there is little or no visitor parking.