Walden Pond State Reservation

EASY 96 reviews

Walden Pond State Reservation is a 1.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Concord, Massachusetts that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from April until October.

DISTANCE
1.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
49 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

beach

forest

lake

views

wildlife

bugs

snow

no dogs

Walden Pond is a kettle pond famous for being home to Henry David Thoreau. Part of the Massachusetts Forests and Parks system, Walden Pond State Reservation includes 335 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. $5 Parking Fee

hiking
1 month ago

Super trail!

2 months ago

Love this very easy trail. There’s more than just the loop around the pond. One can expand the hike up into the hills above the pond. Be sure to check out the old cabin site.

walking
3 months ago

I walked around Walden Pond, last night, in the rain. It was a transcendent experience. If you have not already, please read Walden by Henry David Thoreau, before visiting this pond.

5 months ago

Nice, easy walk around Walden Pond, great views of the water.

walking
7 months ago

trail and beach both make a great walk. easier to rest and enjoy the view on beach, perfect for a snack. very clean and popular but not busy when i visted on a beautiful early winter saturday. folks on kayaks and fisherman looked like they were having the most fun.

walking
8 months ago

wicked coooool

walking
8 months ago

Nice spot but way too crowded. Have to pay to park unless you have a DCR pass. It’s very pretty and historical but it’s like walking around on a busy street in Boston . I was here on Friday. It must be a zoo on the weekend

hiking
8 months ago

Easy walk on the beach or by dirt path around the pond. Path isn't very wide at times.

hiking
11 months ago

Walden Pond is a fun little hike for all ages and abilities, I hiked this trail with my parents when I was 6 years old and I still hike it now. Hiking the loop and then changing into a swim suit and enjoying the water makes for a good day.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Awesome trail, but is usually pretty busy during the summer months. Walden is truly iconic, don't forget to take a dip while you're there!

hiking
Thursday, May 18, 2017

Fence around the loop unless you want to walk down on the beach. Like everywhere else in MA, it costs money to park. Given the other stuff that's nearby, I wouldn't go back.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Great trail for an easy and scenic run.

hiking
Monday, October 31, 2016

Easy and very serene hike near a beautiful pond.

walking
Thursday, September 15, 2016

Love this place. We are seniors and bought pass for $9 I think which allows parking in all DCR property.

hiking
Tuesday, April 19, 2016

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.

walking
Saturday, January 02, 2016

Anyone that reads Thoreau must see Walden Pond. Its an easy hike around the famous lake. A replica cabin is also a feature worth seeing.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Nice, relaxing place to swim, fish, or walk.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Walden pond is a beautiful place and its waters are quite clear and lovely to swim in. The trail around the lake only takes about half an hour to walk around, but it's a lovely little trail and it's great to walk before taking a dip.

birding
Sunday, August 09, 2015

Picturesque and peaceful walk around the pond.

hiking
Tuesday, November 04, 2014

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.

hiking
Friday, October 17, 2014

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.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Wonderful place!
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.
Highly recommended!!
Parking - $5 for MA residents and $10 for out of state

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

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.

hiking
Saturday, November 23, 2013

Great place for an easy amble. Wonderful history. Nice to place to swim especially if you go in not near the main beach. May be crowded on a nice day.

hiking
Monday, July 15, 2013

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.

hiking
Saturday, December 08, 2012

Beautiful place!!! Great place to connect with American history and nature.

hiking
Saturday, October 13, 2012

$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. :)

hiking
Saturday, January 14, 2012

This place is not only beautiful and a great place to hike and swim, it is of such historical and literary and philosophical significance that there is no choice but to give it five stars. Plus it is just a fun place to hike.

walking
Monday, November 14, 2011

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.

scenic driving
Wednesday, March 09, 2011

I know of no bad scenic drives in New England. This is a little more built up since the Revolution and the time of Thoreau, but it has the scenery of the less busy roads (Compared to Rte 128 and Rte 2), combined with some great history - the stuff you read about in school but may not have placed in a real context. By the way, I'd need some explanation from whoever put this in as a 1.7 mile walking loop. Each of these three locations is over a mile from the others, and walking requires a lot of contact with fairly busy roads.

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