Wherever you live or work on the South Shore, chances are good that a variety of good walking places are nearby. Here are a few suggestions if you're looking to get out for a walk or hike this summer.
Ames Nowell State Park: A 700-acre park managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Open year-round. Daytime recreation, several miles of trails, ballfield. Cleveland Pond is popular for boating and fishing. Linwood Street, Abington. Phone 781-857-1336.
Pond Meadow Park: 320 acres with a meadow, woodlands, a marsh, a 20-acre pond and Smelt Brook. Fishing, hiking, non-motor boating, picnicking, Scout camping, horseback riding, biking, jogging and walking on a 2-mile paved bike path. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing. 470 Liberty St. 781-843-7663.
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D. W. Field Park: In the heart of Brockton and south Avon, this municipal park has gentle slopes, ponds and native trees covering more then 650 acres, with seven miles of paved roadway. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and his son, John Charles Olmsted. The landscape is dominated by a chain of seven water bodies, all but one of which are man-made, impounding Beaver Brook. The park's most prominent landmark is a fieldstone observation tower, built at the park's high point, known as Indian Cave Hill or Tower Hill. 331 Oak St., Brockton. (508) 580-7855
Brockton Audubon Preserve: This 126-acre Wildlands Trust property features 3 miles of woodland trails and boardwalks, as well as old stone walls, and a 20-foot-tall glacial erratic boulder. Located in a quiet corner of an otherwise busy urban community, on the Brockton-Easton line.1160 Pleasant St. 774-343-5121
Ponkapoag Pond Trail: A 6.7-mile loop trail on Ponkapoag Pond on the Canton/Randolph line in the Blue Hills. Hikers, joggers, bicyclists and horse riders use the trail. The section of trail that loops around the pond is just under 4 miles long and passes Fisherman’s Beach. Park at the golf course at 2167 Washington St.
Whitney and Thayer Woods. 824 acres, woodlands, 10 miles of trails, glacial erratics, vernal pools, a hermit's shelter, holly grove. Connects to Weir River Farm, Turkey Hill, Wompatuck State Park, Whitney Spur Rail Rail, Brass Kettle Conservation Area. 380 Chief Justice Cushing Hwy. 781-740-7233.
Wilson Mountain: 207 acres in a state recreation area and protected woodland park. Varied terrain. Large tangled thickets of rhododendrons on a hillside. Wilson Mountain is the highest point in Dedham at 295 feet. State Department of Conservation and Recreation. 384 Common St. 617-698-1802.
Noanet Woodlands: Nearly 600 acres of trails across woodlands and ponds, a former mill site, and Noanet Peak with views of the Boston skyline. Trustees of Reservations. Powisset Street. 508-785-0339.
Duxbury Beach Reservation. This 7.5-mile barrier beach between Duxbury Bay and the Atlantic Ocean extends from Marshfield to the north, to Gurnet Point and Saquish to the south. Day parking at Duxbury Beach Park by going through Marshfield, Canal Street to 287 Gurnet Road in Duxbury. Parts of the beach and the Gurnet access road are closed during the summer to protect the wildlife including piping plovers.
Lansing Bennett Forest: Former Trout Farm Conservation Area. Intersecting trails, boardwalks and footbridges through a pine and oak upland forest, some steep sections. 262 Union Bridge Road. 781-934-1100 ext. 5471.
O'Neil Farm Trails: Woods with about 1.75 miles of trails on the Historic O’Neil Farm property past grazing pastures, a vernal pool, interpretive signs, a brook crossing and wildlife habitats. 349 Autumn Ave.
Duxbury Conservation Trails: Online trail maps and guides to nine properties for walking. Each map has detailed information about dogs, terrain, vegetation, history. Conservation Department, 878 Tremont St.. 781-934-1100 ext. 5471.
Bay Farm Trails: An 80-acre land preserve along Kingston Bay in Kingston and Duxbury. 100 Park St., Duxbury.
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Borderland State Park: Historical mansion open for tours. More than 20 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding. Fishing and boating. Facilities for tennis and disc golf. 259 Massapoag Ave., North Easton.
F. Gilbert Hills State Forest: 1,027-acre state forest with 23 miles of trails through pine and oak. Walking, mountain biking, canoeing, fishing, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, hunting, picnicking. Department of Conservation and Recreation. 45 Mill St. 508-543-9084.
Forge Pond Park: 40-acre, multifield athletic complex with miles of wooded walking trails. 245 King St. 781-826-5000.
Luddams Ford Park: Walking trails at Elm and Water streets. The Hanover Conservation Commission owns 22 acres of open meadow and forested upland. 243 Elm St.
Burrage Pond Wildlife Management Area: A state park in Hanson and Halifax. Over 2,000 acres of ponds, marsh, retired cranberry bogs, several miles of walking trails. Hiking, biking, mountain biking, birding. Hunting is permitted except on Sundays. 382 Pleasant St. 508-759-3406.
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Wompatuck State Park: 3,526 acres of forest, streams, ponds. Mount Blue Spring. A campground with 250 sites,12 miles of paved bike paths and 40 miles of forest trails. Mostly in Hingham, portions in Cohasset, Norwell and Scituate. Several entrances. Off-road trails for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing. 204 Union St. 617-895-8245.
World's End: 251 acres on a peninsula bordered by the Weir River and Hingham Harbor. Trek along Frederick Law Olmsted-designed carriage paths over rolling hills and rocky shorelines, and discover sweeping views of the Boston skyline. Four coastal drumlins or hills formed by glaciers extending into Hingham Harbor. At the end of Martin's Lane in Hingham. 781-740-7233.
Nantasket Beach Reservation: A mile of Atlantic shoreline popular with walkers in all seasons. Department of Conservation and Recreation. Concerts in summertime. 212 Nantasket Ave. 781-925-1777.
The Nook: 17 acres at the mouth of the Jones River, owned by The Wildlands Trust. A quiet refuge in the Rocky Nook peninsula. An easy walk and a beautiful vista as an old cart path leads you through pine and red cedar thickets. 66 Howlands Lane.
Bay Farm Trails: An 80-acre land preserve along Kingston Bay in Kingston and Duxbury. 100 Park St., Duxbury.
Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary: Owned by Mass Audubon. More than 3 miles of trails through red maple swamp and open grasslands. Boardwalks, viewing platforms and two observation blinds bring you close to wildlife, from shorebirds to turtles to muskrats. End of Winslow Cemetery Road. 781-837-9400.
North River Wildlife Sanctuary: On the North River, the sanctuary's fields, oak forest and salt marsh attract a wide variety of birds, and seals are often visible from the riverside platform. 2000 Main St. 781-837-9400.
Two Mile Farm: 68 acres. Easy walking on a 1-mile loop trail. Follow cart paths and foot trails through resurgent woodlands and past stone walls to the broad meadows and grassy banks of the North River and the Stetson Meadows beyond. Union Street in Marshfield.
Blue Hills Reservation: Over 7,000 acres and 125 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding from Quincy to Dedham, Milton to Randolph. Houghton's Pond for swimming and fishing. Department of Conservation and Recreation park headquarters. Great Blue Hill, at 635 feet, is the highest of the 22 hills in the Blue Hills chain. 695 Hillside St. 617-698-1802.
Norris Reservation: 129 acres with trails and a half-mile of river frontage passing a former mill pond, a wetlands boardwalk and a boathouse on the tidal North River. Popular with families. Trustees of Reservations. 18 Dover St., Norwell. 781-740-7233.
Willow Brook Farm. 73 acres with trails and ancient farm lanes through old fields and dense woods. Wildlife, an unusual freshwater tidal marsh with tidal fluctuations some 11 miles upstream from the Atlantic Ocean. The Wildlands Trust. 99 Barker St. 774-343-5121.
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Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary: More than 3 miles of trails across the ongoing restoration of a former 481-acre cranberry bog. Ponds, cold-water streams, red maple and Atlantic white cedar swamps, grasslands and pine-oak forest. 60 Beaver Dam Road 508-927-1200.
The Salt Marsh Trail: A half-mile long self-guided nature walk, showcasing the major plant and animal species in and around the Quincy salt marsh, leads to a cemetery with the remains of US Navy veterans housed at the National Sailors’ Home.
Red Diamond Trail: a hiking area located at 2003 Falls Blvd in Faxon Park. There is a playground at the entrance. The trail passes more than 30 stone benches created during the Depression through a public works program.
Squantum Point Park: This former Naval airfield is on Victory Road on the Squantum peninsula in Quincy. It is now a waterfront park with views of the Boston Skyline across the harbor and of the mouth of the Neponset River. This park is a popular spot for birdwatching. There are also opportunities for picnicking, canoeing, and shoreline fishing as well as paths for running and in-line skating. Markers describe the aviation history of the area.
George Anderson Rockland Town Forest and Conservation Land. Some 40 acres with trails around the stream and through the wetlands for walking and hiking only. The wider fire lane and access road are open to mountain bikes. North Avenue. 781-871-0579.
Ellis Estate Trails: Woodlands near the historic Bailey-Ellis House. Two miles of well-marked, intersecting trails through the woods and around Deke’s Pond. Continues east behind the Scituate Public Safety Building between Mann Lot Road and Booth Hill Road. 709 Country Way. 781-545-8721.
Scituate Town Forest: This 18-acre pine forest on Route 3A in North Scituate offers 1.5 miles of trails and connects to others. Look for the large property sign across the road from Scituate’s police headquarters. It is just one of many local trails suggested by the North and South Rivers Watershed Association. 789 Chief Justice Cushing Hwy.
Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary: Mass Audubon’s oldest wildlife sanctuary, with protected forests, fields and wetlands. Diverse hiking trails, red maple swamp boardwalk. No dogs or other pets. 293 Moose Hill Parkway. 781-784-5691.
Hale Reservation: 1,137 acres of forests, ponds and meadows. More than 20 miles of trails attract hikers, trail runners and mountain bikers. Hale Education, a private nonprofit group that runs youth development and family programs for Greater Boston, invites visitors to enjoy the land. 80 Carby St.
Webb Memorial State Park: Easy walking trails with scenic views of Boston's harbor and skyline on a grassy peninsula between Weymouth’s Back and Fore rivers extending half a mile into Hingham Bay. This state park is the only mainland portion of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. 361 River St. 781-337-8264.
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This article originally appeared on The Patriot Ledger: The best hiking and walking trails on the South Shore, town by town