Category Archives: Get Outdoors

The corner of a wooden dock, overlooking a pond. Plant poke out of the water, and the pond is surrounded by green trees.

10 Fall Hikes in Massachusetts

In the distance, a Red-bellied Woodpecker drums on a tree for food while a plump squirrel scampers through the browning leaf litter on the forest floor. A Broad-winged Hawk shrieks somewhere in the grasslands beyond the tree line, and a small garter snake slithers quietly through the commotion. What other sights and sounds can you experience during a fall hike? Find out by exploring these 10 trails. 

Trail with Still Waters 

See a cloudy sky reflecting off the glass-like waters of the Grassy Pond at Ashumet Holly Wildlife Sanctuary in Falmouth along the Grassy Pond Trail. Walk around the entire pond while listening to birds high in the trees. Before heading back, take a break on the wooden benches of the Grassy Pond Overlook to soak in the tranquility of the site. 

Along the bank of a pond stands a mix of green pines and bare trees. Yellow Brown stick and leaf litter cover the area near the water.
Grassy Pond at Ashumet Holly Wildlife Sanctuary

Ponds, Saltmarshes, and Beaches 

On Martha’s Vineyard, almost every trail at Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary passes some form of water—combine three of the trails to circle the perimeter of the Sanctuary. Start on Sassafras Trail to cross over Turtle Pond, then continue along Shad Trail to stand on the shore of Major’s Cove on Sengekontacket Pond and meander along the beach. Link back with the Sassafras Trail to rest on a bench overlooking the Pond, then discover the Marsh Trail with dramatic views of State Beach and Moffett Cove beyond the tidal salt marshes. 

Take the Boardwalk Less Traveled 

Walk along almost half a mile of boardwalks, over a marsh and a river on the River Walk at the Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary in Marshfield. Look for fall and winter sparrows like the White-throated, Field, Swamp, American tree, and Song sparrows, in the maple forest and shrubby thickets. 

Wooden boardwalk curves to the right between bare trees.
Boardwalk at Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary

A Fall Sense for Sensory Trails 

Watch waterfowl like Hooded Mergansers and American Black and Ring-necked ducks cruise the shallow waters of Kingfisher Pond and Teal Marsh from the boardwalk on the Sensory Trail at Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Norfolk. The boardwalk also has a deck that overlooks both the pond and marsh, before continuing to Beech Grove Trail. 

Rock and Roll 

You could easily spend the whole day wandering through the 12 miles of trails at the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary in Topsfield, but make sure you spend some time in the Rocky Grotto on the Rockery Trail. The narrow caves and spiraling rock pathways were built in 1905 by Thomas Proctor, who started living at the estate in the late 1890s. The loop around the Rockery Pond is surrounded by a mix of native and non-native trees, which was once a private arboretum built by Proctor.  

Two adults and a child smile as they pass under a passage made of large rocks.
Rocky Grotto at Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary © Jared Leeds

Lone Wolf Legend Walk 

Massachusetts has plenty of predators like coyotes, bobcats, and black bears, but our forests are free from the howling packs of hungry wolves. According to local lore at the High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary in Shelburne, the last wolf that lived in the area lived at a geological feature named Wolve’s Den, found at the corner of North Trail and Wolve’s Den Loop Trail. As you travel along the trail, think of how different our wildlife and ecosystems may have been just 200 years ago, when the last wolf sighting in Massachusetts was recorded.  

Enchanted by History 

Other evidence of life from 200 hundred years ago can be seen from the Enchanted Forest Trail at Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center & Wildlife Sanctuary in Worcester. Weave between remnants of stone walls built in the late 1700s and early 1800s, then make your way to the Sagatabscot Ridge Trail where a small quarry is located on the western end near the Piggery Trail.  

Looking at a path that crosses over a crumbled part of a rock wall. The treetops have some green, but the forest floor is covered with orange and brown leaves.
Stone wall at Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary

Don’t Overlook This Spot 

At the overlook site on Fox Trail at Boston Nature Center & Wildlife Sanctuary in Mattapan, you can feel right in the center of the wetlands by being surrounded by native cattails. Make sure to bring (or borrow) binoculars to look out across the area for any Red-tailed Hawks. 

Seven Viewing Areas, One Sanctuary 

There are seven observation sites at the Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary in Natick, six of which are in the first half mile from the nature center. To get to the seventh overlook, you have to get on Little Farm Pond Trail, which starts at the 3-car parking lot off Farm Road just east of the intersection with Lake Street in Sherborn. The trail leads you to a 0.3-mile loop, with benches on the eastern lookout of Little Farm Pond. 

The corner of a wooden dock, overlooking a pond. Plant poke out of the water, and the pond is surrounded by green trees.
Overlook area at Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary

A Special Habitat 

Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary in Wellfleet is home to some of the rarest habitats on Cape Cod. Take the Try Island trail to pass Mockernut Hickories and Black Oak trees that are nearly 100 years old. This trail is a short loop that offers salt marsh overlooks and expansive views of Wellfleet Harbor. 

To find more trails, visit

Fall Fun at Mass Audubon

Fall is in full swing, and Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries across the state are hosting a variety of fun programs for people of all ages to get outside and experience all the sights and sounds of fall. From fall foliage-themed hikes to spooky Halloween night walks, there are numerous ways to experience the changing of the seasons with Mass Audubon. 

Experience Fall Foliage  

Fall foliage at Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary

Join a trees through autumn program at Canoe Meadows in Pittsfield on October 22 or High Ledges in Shelburne on November 5 and take a guided walk through a sanctuary as you learn to identify trees from sugar and stripped maples to yellow birch to American beech and various oaks.  

Or, discover why the leaves change color and then fall to the ground and which animals scour the forest floor for acorns and pinecones to snack on during Nature in Fall Family Hike at Laughing Brook in Hampden on October 16. 

Nature-inspired Halloween  

Carved pumpkins at Drumlin Farm

On October 14 and 15 Ipswich River in Topsfield transforms into a magical forest lit with glowing luminaries for Into the Woods, a guided Halloween night hike for families. And on October 28, encounter silly and strange creatures of the night during Long Pasture’s Enchanted Forest in Barnstable.

For an accessible and spooky lantern-lit evening walk, visit Broad Meadow Brook in Worcester on October 22 to experience Boo Meadow Brook, which features costumed characters and the opportunity to look high and low on the All Persons Trail for hidden creatures.  

Boston Nature Center’s Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Pumpkins! takes place over two days, October 22 and 23, and features pumpkin-themed games, scavenger hunts, the history of pumpkins, and the opportunity to carve your own Jack-O-Lantern.  

And on October 29, take a hayride and a night hike at Wachusett Meadow in Princeton and end the evening with a tasty treat by a campfire! 

Fall Birding 

Northern Mockingbird

Every Friday through the month of October, go on a Fall Bird Migration walk at Blue Hills in Milton to learn how to identify birds by sight and sound.  

Look for migrating songbirds in their subtler fall plumage and wintering ducks who are just arriving in beautiful breeding plumage during a guided fall birding experience at Broadmoor in Natick on October 23.  

Experience Fall Online 

Learn about the unique aspects of nature in fall, from the changing of leaves to how animals prepare for the long winter ahead, from the comfort of your home during Nature in Fall on October 15 and Autumn Wildlife on October 19. 

These programs are just a sample of all the incredible programs that Mass Audubon offers. Explore our program catalog to discover all of the programs being offered this fall.