The Best Outdoor Spots Near Campus

Written and Photographed by: Anna Legere
With spring around the corner and the warm weather already here, it’s about that time to step away from the stuffiness of campus and get out into the fresh air. Luckily there is an abundance of hiking trails, mountains, waterfalls, and picnic areas near by.

Trap Falls, Ashby MA
Just down the street from campus, this spot is great to explore. Pull off to the side of the road and walk down the path until you come across the falls and a bridge that brings you right over the river. It’s a perfect place to have lunch or read a book at. The best part, climbing to the top of the water and following the river up stream.
The Squannacook River, Ashby MA
Across the street from Trap Falls is the Squannacook River. Take a stroll into the woods that follows the river or lay out on the sandy beach and take a dip into the water.
Leominster State Forest, Leominster MA
You couldn’t ask for a better place. It has so much to offer. You can get lost on the Wolf Rock Trail or sit on the beach and take in the view of the lake. Within Leominster State Forest is Crow Hill, home to an abundance of rock ledges. It offers hiking trails that lead you up and around the ledges or you can take the alternative route and climb straight up them as many local climbers do.
Doyle Conservation Center, Leominster MA
If you are looking for somewhere to get out in the sun that takes your away from the city but with little effort look no further. Park your car in the parking lot of The Doyle Conversation Center then choose from is many walking paths, each one leading to a picturesque bench located on a small island in the pond.
Horseshoe Falls, Wilton NH
Not so close to campus but well worth the drive. There are two sets of falls one leading into the other and both are great swimming holes. Jump off the rocks of the first fall or hide under the water wall of the second. If you are not looking to get your feet wet take a seat by the falls and enjoy the sound of rushing water.
Walden Pond, Concord MA
Hang out in the nature that Henry David Thoreau once lived in and wrote about. You can walk the entire perimeter  of Walden pond. The water is amazingly clear and there is no doubt that you will see a swimmer even in the chilly temperatures of fall.
Mount Watatic, Ashburnham MA
For those of you who want a little more height in their lives, look no further. There are two possible routes you can take the reach the double peaks. Either head straight to the top on the rock filled path or meader of the back of the mountain. Both trails will lead you to a breathtaking view.
Wachusett Mountain, Westminster MA
Right next door to Fitchburg is Wachusett Mountain, home to a recreational playground in every season. During spring, summer, and fall you can hike one of the trails to the peak that offers breathtaking views of the surround areas. If you are lucky enough to be at the top on a clear and sunny day you can see the Boston Skyline. Don’t fear about being stuck inside all winter, Wawa has you covered with 26 skiable trails and 8 lifts.
Mount Monadnock, Jaffrey NH
For those of you who need a little more challenge there is Mount Monadnock. With an elevation of 3,166 feet it is one of New Hampshire’s only rock faced mountains. Grab a few friends and plan a full day trip up to the summit where you are truly the tallest in sight. Stop along the way and add a rock to the many rock towers or build your own.
So on the next sunny day set down your homework, grab your hiking shoes and get outside! Remember to bring a water bottle and stay hydrated.
For more information about trails, waterfalls and swimming holes in this area visit: