Walden Pond + Adams Woods

Walden Pond State Reservation

Greater Boston Area, Massachusetts

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Walden Pond + Adams Woods


  • Path to the main beach.- Walden Pond + Adams Woods
  • The main beach at Walden Pond.- Walden Pond + Adams Woods
  • The north shore start of the Walden Pond Path.- Walden Pond + Adams Woods
  • Walden Pond Path below Emerson's Cliff.- Walden Pond + Adams Woods
  • The Esker Trailhead.- Walden Pond + Adams Woods
  • Rail crossing between Walden Pond and Adams Woods.- Walden Pond + Adams Woods
  • Fairhaven Bay on the Concord River.- Walden Pond + Adams Woods
  • Club moss (Lycopodium obscurum).- Walden Pond + Adams Woods
  • Walden Woods.- Walden Pond + Adams Woods
  • Between Ice House Cove and Thoreau's Cove.- Walden Pond + Adams Woods
  • Thoreau's Cove.- Walden Pond + Adams Woods
  • Thoreau's Cove swimming beach.- Walden Pond + Adams Woods
  • Cairn at Thoreau's cabin site.- Walden Pond + Adams Woods
  • Thoreau's cabin site.- Walden Pond + Adams Woods
  • Cabin reconstruction.- Walden Pond + Adams Woods
  • Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara).- Walden Pond + Adams Woods
  • Visitor center.- Walden Pond + Adams Woods
Overview + Weather
Tour Henry David Thoreau's house site. Great swimming. Wildflowers. Bass and trout fishing.
Crowded main beach area. Parking lot closes when at capacity. Overflow parking is several miles from the reservation.
Greater Boston Area, MA
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
300.00 ft (91.44 m)
Parking Pass: 
State Park Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
19.00 mi (30.58 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
198.00 ft (60.35 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description


Walden Pond, where Henry David Thoreau wrote Walden,  is celebrated by some as the birthplace of the American conservation movement. You can visit Thoreau’s cabin site, marked by a giant cairn, along with a replica of his cabin as you hike around the pond.

The Walden Pond Path is a loop that begins at either edge of the main beach. Be prepared for crowds on summery days. Heading north and east will lead you past the boat ramp to a forested trail between Emerson’s Cliff and the shoreline. The path skirts Little Cove and Long Cove with slight elevation gains.

The Emerson’s Cliff Trail, Heywood Meadow Trail and Esker Trail all connect with the Pond Path and offer additional hiking. This is a glacial landscape of kettle ponds, moraines, and eskers. It supports a mature forest and many flowering plants. You may see wild turkey, woodpeckers, red-tailed hawks, wood ducks, and hear the calls of eastern phoebe. Keep a lookout for frogs, painted and snapping turtles, and bluegill and pumpkinseed fish.

From Long Cove, head west across the railroad tracks to the Adams Woods Trails. Watch for trains because these tracks are live! Follow the Red Trail markers through forest and kettle ponds to Fairhaven Bay on the Concord River. Abundant waterfowl live in the marshes here. Make a circuit by following Yellow Trail markers to return to the tracks.

Re-cross the tracks (remember to look both ways) and head south on the Walden Pond Path passing Ice Fort Cove to Thoreau’s Cove. A spur trail leads to a giant cairn, created by visitors, marking his cabin site. Return to the Walden Pond Path and head east. If you are seeking some elevation gain, try the Ridge Path and Sherwood Trail instead. Either path will take you back to the Main Beach.

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(8 within a 30 mile radius)

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