Hitting the Trail is a weekly feature here at Mud Puddles to Meteors. In each post we will share trails, parks, and museums from around the country (and sometimes even beyond). If you would like to join in and share a special nature location please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the details listed at the bottom of the post and links to the photos. We would love to share your nature adventure!
Walden Pond (Concord, Massachusetts)
This week we take a trip to a famous historical site that also just happens to be one of the most beautiful natural areas that Massachusetts has to offer: Walden Pond. Made famous by transcendentalist writer Henry David Thoreau, who lived in a tiny cabin on the pond and wrote about his life there, Walden Pond today is a popular place to visit for hiking, swimming, canoeing, and even winter snowshoeing.
Location: Concord, Massachusetts (just north of Boston)
Habitat: Primarily undeveloped woods with oak, pine, hickory, and sumac. The pond is 102 feet deep, and is a glacial kettle-hole pond.
Favorite Animal and Plant Life: The diversity of wildlife in and around the pond is incredible. Turtles, frogs, snakes, and a wide variety of small mammals such as chipmunks, squirrels, and voles can all be seen. There are also coyotes, beavers, and porcupine. The pond is home to a variety of fish, and fishing is allowed.
Special Features: Walden Pond was the site of Henry David Thoreau’s cabin at the time that he lived in the woods and worked on the writing of Walden. Today the pond is used for a number of outdoor recreational activities such as canoeing, swimming, and hiking. You can also visit the site where Thoreau’s cabin once stood, as well as view a replica of the original cabin which has been set up closer to the parking area. Near the original house site, there is a small “monument” of sorts where visitors have written on or painted rocks and stones and left them for others to see. Many of the stones have inspirational sayings or reflections on Thoreau’s work on them, and reflect his call for people to find ways to live more closely in harmony with nature.
Best Time of Year to Visit: We have only lived nearby long enough to visit the pond in summer and autumn. That being said, it has a great local reputation for being a wonderful place to visit year round. The pond is clear and clean for summer swimming, and has nice little beaches to stretch out in the sun afterward. The trail around the pond is well-maintained, and is flat enough that it can easily be walked by even very young children. It is possible to walk around the entire pond in less than an hour, and the path is reportedly maintained for purposes of winter sports as well. We plan to snowshoe there soon.