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Middlesex Fells South Reservoir

What to Bring

Walking shoes   Backpack
Hat   Sunglasses
Sunscreen   Windbreaker
Insect Repellent   Water
Snacks   Comfortable pants


  From Boston, take I-93 north
  Take exit 33 for Middlesex Fells
  Take the roundabout halfway and take first exit on the right (sharp turn)
Parking lot is about 1 mile on the right (information board)
  Good to know in advance

Reservation closes at sunset

  No restrooms
  Open fires prohibited
  You can buy a very good map of the Reservation by mail from the Friends of the Middlesex Fells Reservation, PO Box 560057, West Medford, MA 02156, 781 662 2340 ($5).
  Stay on trails to minimize erosion
  Do not tread on the Reservoir shores
  Removing, disturbing or cutting plants is strictly prohibited
  Take your trash back with you
  Please do respect pet regulation: dogs allowed on leash not exceeding 7 feet
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Middlesex Fells South Reservoir

ID Card

Overall rating: Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating Four-Star Rating
Difficulty: 3/5
  Time from Boston: 20 mins.
  Duration: A few hours or half day


  Main activity:


  What do our ratings mean?
Where else could you walk across woods, boulder and ponds . . . 20 minutes from downtown Boston?

Middlesex Fells is as close to wilderness as you can get— a reservation less than 30 minutes away from one of the country’s largest cities. Some trails in the Fells may have you believe you are scrambling up a New Hampshire White Mountains peak, but this walk will take you through the best of the Reservation with only minimal effort.

From the parking lot, take the main trail, leaving Bellevue Pond on your left and just follow the red signs! Be careful to identify Bike Loop signs as you proceed—you may lose the trail easily if you do not pay attention.

Canoes are a great way to explore the Charles with family and friends: All canoes can take two adults, and many families add an extra kid per canoe in between. You do not need any particular instruction to go out on the water: if this is your first time, you may feel uncomfortable climbing down in the seemingly unstable canoe, but after a few seconds you will be more at ease and eager to start.

Middlesex Fells is part of the public water supply system, which explains why actual access to the three lakes, or reservoirs, in the Reservation is restricted. However, public use of the fire roads surrounding has been tolerated, and you will meet many joggers and riders on these roads on summer weekends. Using these roads is a great way to discover the heart of the Fells and find silence away from the city. We even saw a fox crossing the South Reservoir one winter when ice had replaced water.

From the parking lot, take the main trail, and look for white and orange blazes on the left, facing a fire road coming from the right. Follow the trail up the hill (this is a short ascent) and hike it down the other side (do not use cutbacks to prevent erosion) to cross the gravel road that leads to the building on your right. Continue to follow the white and orange blazes up the hill, until you see the white and orange marks separating. Stay on the orange trail but watch for a trail that cuts away from it shortly afterward and heads down on your right. Follow this trail until you cross another larger fire road and take the trail to your left. This is West Dam road, and you will follow this road for most of the walk.

After a bit more than 0.5 mile, you will cross the dike that separates the South Reservoir (on your right) from the Middle Reservoir (on your left). Stay on the trail until you walk again in the woods and reach another large fire road that crosses it (at this point you will again see both Reservoirs on either side of the trail). Take this road on your right to follow the shores of the South Reservoir. Always stay on trails as close as possible to the shore until you reach a lovely cove where other trails meet. Watch for orange blazes on the trees, on the other side of the clearing, slightly to your right (if you cannot find them, take the second trail facing you, right before the chain gate on your right, and watch for orange blazes immediately on your right). From that point you will follow the orange blazes again back to where you started to follow them. Turn left to walk back to your car.
Allow about 2:30 hours to complete the hike.

You can also check our other destinations in the Fells:
· The Skyline Trail at Middlesex Fells
· Mountain Biking at Middlesex Fells


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