Henry David Thoreau lived at Walden Pond from July 1845 to September 1847. His experience at Walden provided the material for the book Walden, which is credited with helping to inspire awareness and respect for the natural environment. Because of Thoreau's legacy, Walden Pond has been designated a National Historic Landmark and is considered the birthplace of the conservation movement. Park Interpreters provide tours and ongoing educational programs. The Reservation includes the 102-foot deep glacial kettle-hole pond. Mostly undeveloped woods totaling 2680 acres, called "Walden Woods," surround the reservation. thoreau's statue at walden pond Now part of the Massachusetts Forests and Parks system, Walden Pond State Reservation includes 462 acres of protected open space so that visitors from near and far may come to experience the pond that inspired Thoreau. In summer the Reservation is a popular swimming destination. In the spring and fall, many people hike the trails that ring the pond and visit the replica of Thoreau's one-room cabin. Year round interpretive programs and guided walks are offered as well as a gift shop, bookstore and the Tsongas gallery.
Parking is now $8 for MA residents and there are fewer spots due to construction of the new visitors center. Water level is lowest I've seen, and you can still walk around the pond on the shoreline. Mosquitoes are already out in full force but they're still young and not biting.
Such a great area. I just visited my sister in Boston, and we decided to go check out Walden Pond. It was amazing to take in the same views that Thoreau experienced as he was writing his classic book. The fall foliage was beautiful, and made for a very picturesque landscape. If you are in the area, definitely check this one out.
Walden Pond can turn out to be either a great experience or a complete bust. It gets SUPER crowded in the summer. Like, you have to get here before 9am or you'll be turned away - and that means no walk-ins, no bike-ins, nada. Parking is $5, like already mentioned, but the Mass ParkPass works - that's the one that costs $35 and lets you get into any state park for free. The trail is VERY well traveled and gets muddy in spring/fall from all the activity. By the way, NO JOGGING ALLOWED! The pond is a hotspot for triathlon activity, so you'll see a lot of swimmers. Lots of fishing (and it's pretty great!) and kayaking. So, if you are looking for tranquility, find it elsewhere, OR: get off the beaten path. There is Goose Pond Trail leaving right from behind the main parking lot. On the other side of the pond, cross the railroad tracks and you'll find yourself in Adams Land/Wright Woods - plenty of awesome trails here, you can trot down to Fairhaven Bay on the Concord River and take in the nature in pretty much complete solitude, save for a kayaker or two.
I highly recommend reading Henry David Thoreau's book before going, it's just adds to the magic.
It's huge crystal clear blue pond and you can swim anywhere around it. When we set up we walked to the other side of pond away from main beach and went swimming. It's was beautiful. There was also hiking areas all around it and historical information.
Parking - $5 for MA residents and $10 for out of state
Important note: out-of-state parking fee is $10, $5 for MA residents. Didn't know that until we got there. The gift shop is great and full of Thoreau memorabilia. The replica of his house is really intriguing as well. I'm a huge Thoreau fan so to finally be at Walden Pond was a really spiritual experience for me. Yes, it's a beach so there's going to be a lot of people, but it doesn't take away from the experience. Take a walk around the lake to visit the site of HDT's house and take pictures of the sign with one of his quotes on it. The water was so nice and warm. I didn't bring a suit, but I went in up to my knees and it felt really nice. Take some time for contemplation on the shore.
Was here last week and noticed copious signs warning of deer ticks. Sure enough, after taking a swim in the pond, I looked down at my leg and noticed a red spot with a tiny black round thing next to it. It was a deer tick. Read up on these. I found the pamphlets at the park very helpful. These ticks can transmit some nasty diseases.
Kelly C. on Walden Pond State Reservation
$5 per car, beautiful, educational, clean water, and has many spots on the waters edge to have a quick picnic.
I went on a Saturday and it was packed!! I'm looking forward to going back on a week day so I don't feel rushed through my hike and I can take in more of the scenery. :)
Walden Pond Reservation is one of my favorite parks in central Massachusetts. It is perfect for a summer beach day, if you don't mind the crowds, it is beautiful and quiet for a quick swim on a fall morning, and it is beautiful for a walk when the weather is too cold for swimming. It's easily accessible from Route 2, and parking is $5 per car. It turns out it is also amazing in the fall. Walking trails wrap all the way around the pond.
Walden Pond also has the unique opportunity to see a replica of Henry David Thoreau's cabin, the place where he wrote Walden. The original cabin site is there too, further into the woods on the other side of the pond.
We went west along the pond from the main beach and then went up to the Esker trail when we reached the boat launch area. There were tons of families with young kids, couples, teens and other, larger groups all around the pond, but once we got up to the Esker trial, people were more spread out and it was a very nice walk. The leaves remaining on the trees were beautiful, and so were the golden leaves all over the trails.
We followed the pond around to Thoreau's Cove and the site of his original cabin. Apparently people bring rocks to the site to commemorate...something... This is where they thought the original house was, until they found the remains of the chimney in 1945.
From there we crossed a cute little boardwalk, then accidentally ended up back at Route 126. We ducked back into the woods and took the Ridge Path and the Sherwood Trail (maybe?) back to the beach. Anyway, I highly recommend this as a day trip. In the summer, DCR recommends that you call ahead and make sure they haven't hit their cap of 1,000 visitors at a time. I've never had this problem, but I avoid going when it's super hot. The main beach features a building with bathrooms and changing areas. There is often an ice cream truck on site when you're all heated up from swimming or hiking.