Things to Do in Central Massachusetts During the Fall
Instead of heading to a well known fall destination such as Salem, we opted to go for a more rural adventure up in North Central Massachusetts.
Specifically we stayed in the town of Ashburnham, Massachusetts located in Worcester County.
Ashburnham is the quintessential small New England town. It was the perfect spot for a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Our goal was to simply enjoy the foliage and check out some of the local hiking spots in the area where we wouldn’t have to worry about being in a crowd of people.
Great Hikes in Central Massachusetts
Hiking to the Summit of Mount Watatic
The first hike we did was Mount Watatic in Watatic Mountain State Wildlife Area. I was excited about this hike because I knew the views would be exceptional and we were not disappointed!
However, one thing to know is that the parking situation isn’t always ideal. I recommend heading there early before the small lot along Rt. 119 fills up.
If there aren’t spots available in the parking lot, don’t panic. There is more street parking on the next road down just a short walk away. Or if you don’t mind a .4 mile walk, there is another lot on the right side of Rt. 119 (if driving from Ashburnham) which is where we chose to park.
Before setting out on the 2.1 mile trail, I admit I felt a bit nervous because I was still recovering from a minor surgery. I knew I’d have to take breaks throughout the hike.
While I got tired during the inclines, it was totally doable and worth it! To help you gauge, there were plenty of small children hiking to the peak with their parents.
Just wear proper footwear since there are inclines with rocks. The trail is also dog friendly if you’d like to take your pup.
As you venture up the trail, note there are two false summits before you reach the actual summit of Mount Watatic. Definitely go to the final summit so that you don’t miss out on the panoramic views!
Trail Head Address: Mt. Watatic Trail head, ASHB-0029-00008, Ashburnham, MA 01430
Hike to the Summit of Wachusetts Mountain
Wachusetts Mountain State Reservation is located in Princeton, Massachusetts. Unlike Mount Watatic, this park requires an entrance fee per car.
For Massachusetts residents, it is $5.00 and $20.00 per car for non-residents.
Tip: If you are coming from Boston in a rental, be sure to let them know you are a resident to pay the in-state price. Also, parking is free in perimeter parking lots on roads outside of the park.
Since this is a major park there are far more options in terms of the activities, handicap accessible views, and more.
For hikers, there are 24 trails to choose from. If you want to see the panoramic views, then you will want to choose a trail similar to the Wachusetts Mountain Loop.
This 6.1 mile trail includes the summit which has stunning 360 views at 2,006 ft.
Want to visit the summit, but need to skip the hike?
No problem! At Wachusetts Mountain you can drive straight to the summit. They have handicap accessible parking there as well. We were told parking can fill up quickly at the summit. Be sure to check with the rangers as you enter the park.
We opted to park one level down from the summit at the first overlook. Then we walked up the remainder of the trail to the summit. It was super easy and no more than 0.2 miles.
Address: Mount Wachusetts, Princeton, MA
Both summits are completely worth visiting if you are ever in central Massachusetts. If I could only choose one, I think I would pick Mount Watatic. This is purely personal preference, but I liked how it was less crowded and the fall foliage was more plentiful. While it is less in elevation than Wachusetts Mountain, I feel like the views were less obstructed. You also have a lot of room to just relax and take in the view from the clifftop.
Hello everyone! I am a Boston based blogger that loves all things travel and lifestyle. You can usually find me working away at my university job, snapping pictures, thrifting, or trying out some new recipes.