Hopkinton State Park is located in the towns of Hopkinton and Ashland and includes the picturesque Hopkinton Reservoir. The park offers a variety of year round recreational activities including 2 life guarded swimming beaches, stocked fishing, 1 reservable group picnic site (see Split Rock below), 12 tree shaded, first come first served, picnic areas (300 picnic tables and 165 charcoal cooking grills), 10 miles of marked trails, open field space and a concrete boat launching ramp for non-motorized watercraft. Outdoor Recreation of Hopkinton Inc. provides seasonal boat rentals (508) 435-3965. Environmental Educational programming is offered during the summer. Public restrooms are available during the spring, summer and fall months.

I would happily give it 4 or 5-star rating, for it is a beautiful stroll through the woods, easy to barely moderate, but for the signage/logistics. It's nominally called the Pepperbush Trail, but that name showed up nowhere until we'd walked about 2.5 miles. It's also the Long Trail in parts, the Hardwood Trail, also the Caesar Trail. To hike it without getting way off trail, make sure your phone is well-charged, and that you have the mapping function in pedestrian mode. Just assiduously adhere to the red trail indicator on the map. I really don't like hiking with phone in-hand, and constantly consulting it. After all, one of the main reasons I'm in the woods hiking is to get away from technology and to enjoy nature.

9 months ago

Easy trail through wooded area and partially on pavement. Some pretty stone fences.

11 months ago

Decent loop (mostly) through beautiful younger forest crossing lots of old stone fences. Never completely out of hearing of cars, and the southern part is all on roads or through (often) crowded beaches and picnic areas (but compensated for by lovely views of the two reservoirs.

The trail recorded here starts from the boathouse and you'll be immediately confused, as there is no trail there! Follow my directions below for doing this loop clockwise:

From the boathouse, turn left on the main park road and walk uphill a short distance to parking area B. About halfway up the left (north) side of the lot you'll find a small path (unmarked). Take this a short distance and you'll join the Loop Trail, a much broader path.

Turn left on the Loop Trail (north - red blazes) and stay on the broad path. Don't take any of the smaller paths leading off it, which are mostly connectors to the road or parking areas.

Soon you'll come back to the road (Ash St.). Cross the road and turn right. Ignore that the path recorded here seems to go off into the woods to your left; it doesn't. Just a GPS error.

At the three way intersection, cross the Main Entrance Road, turn right, and in a few yards you'll come to the trailhead for the Aiken's Trail. Turn left onto that trail and follow the yellow blazes to a junction with the Long Trail. Turn right on the Long Trail. You'll follow that trail (yellow blazes) all the way across the northern end of the park, and most of the up-and-down of this loop is on this section.

Eventually you'll come to a grass-and-gravel road (Aiken's Road, though it is not marked here). To follow this loop, turn right here. You could extend the hike a small bit (and stay in the woods longer) by going straight and continuing on the Long Trail until it comes to a t-junction. There you'd turn right and come back to Main Road. Cross Main Rd., and watch for and take the Oval Trail to the left after a short distance.)

Aikein's Road comes to Main Road, and diagonally across you'll see the Oval Trail heading up and diagonally-away from the road. Take that and enjoy the lovely overlook of the swimming pond below the dam.

Just before the dam, the Oval Trail turns right uphill and almost immediately left. The recorded trail here continues straight uphill but brings you quickly to a parking area and the park road. I would take the left turn of the Oval Trail and stay in the woods a few minutes more. It will rejoin the same road further down.

If you followed the straight uphill route, go to the end of the parking area and turn left on Dogwood Dr. You'll follow that road until it ends just after the trail across the dam. The rest of your way back to the boat house is via beaches, picnic areas, and parking lots alongside the main reservoir.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Great hiking spot. We love the beaches too!

Thursday, October 06, 2016


1 month ago

on Long Trail Loop

4 months ago

7 months ago

7 months ago

Wednesday, October 26, 2016