Boston Unveiled: A 27-Mile Hike Through Nature and Neighborhoods
In Late Fall of 2022, my friend and publisher of the Mountain Gazette, Mike Rogge, reached out with an intriguing question: “Want to go for a hike?” That hike turned out to be on the newly minted Walking City Trail, where I’d join its creator, Miles Howard, on a 27-mile journey through Boston’s diverse neighborhoods.
Miles is a Boston-based author, journalist, and urban trail designer. Passionate about outdoor recreation and urban landscapes, he’s an advocate for equitable access for all. Inspired by San Francisco’s Crosstown Trail, Miles crafted a route through Boston’s urban forests and valleys of buildings, in part, motivated by a desire to escape pandemic boredom.
Where to start…
Our hike started on the shores of the Neponset River, a location that feels remote yet is right in the heart of Boston. The air was crisp, and the city was still asleep. As we walked, Miles pointed out hidden gems and provided historical context about Boston’s parks.
Exploring the Trail’s Two Distinct Halves
The First Half: A Journey Through Nature and Neighborhoods
The initial part of the trail offers an experience that feels surprisingly remote, given its urban setting. Starting from the Neponset River, we traversed through the residential areas of Mattapan and Hyde Park. But it’s not just homes and streets; the trail took us under the enveloping canopy of Sherrin Woods and into the expansive forest at Stony Brook Reservation.
These natural sanctuaries offer a peaceful escape and make you forget you’re in a bustling city.
The trail would pass through more polished natural assets like the Arnold Arboretum and the Southwest Corridor Greenway, each offering its own unique blend of flora and fauna.
The Second Half: From Bustling Streets to Iconic Landmarks
As we made our way along the second half of the trail, the atmosphere changes noticeably. The quietude of nature gives way to the lively neighborhoods of Mission Hill and the Back Bay, but the urban adventure doesn’t stop there as the trail winds through some of Boston’s most iconic spots, including the Esplanade Park, Boston Public Garden, and Boston Common. We walked along the Boston Harborwalk and finally concluded our journey at the historic Bunker Hill.
The Mountain Gazette Feature
It was great to see the photos in print along Mile’s words featured in issue 199 of the (sold out!) Mountain Gazette. The next issue, 200, will be shipping soon. I’d say — subscribe if you dont want to miss out!
The Walking City Trail proves that urban outdoor adventures in Boston are not only possible but incredibly rewarding. Adventures await in the most unexpected places, even those well-traveled—just not usually in hiking boots.