Lifestyle

Walden Pond offers a haven to busy Bostonians

Walden Pond is a gorgeous outdoor state reservation with what seem like never-ending immense trees and beautiful nature. Located in Concord, Massachusetts, Walden Pond State Reservation includes 335 acres of open, protected land, as well as mostly undeveloped woods totaling 2,680 acres, called “Walden Woods,” which surround the reservation. Walden Pond is perfect for visitors, tourists, and locals alike and can be best experienced in the fall and spring time due to the blooming abundance of colorful nature, but it is a great place to visit all year round.

Thoreau's cabinThe pond became famous due to the book Walden, by Henry David Thoreau, a New England transcendentalist, in which he reflects on and describes the nature surrounding him. The book is the record of Thoreau’s two years living at Walden Pond in a one-room cabin.

I visited Walden Pond in late October over Columbus Day weekend, which was a great time to visit. It was not too crowded, and the colors of the autumn trees were amazing. I would definitely recommend visiting during the fall. My whole family walked around the pond, and later my mom and dad went off on a small hiking path while my brother and I stayed on the beach and threw a football around. It was a great way to get some exercise and also to get outside and take a break from hectic schedules.

There are many hiking paths, with different lengths and difficulties, perfect for both small children and experienced hikers. In the spring and fall, many people hike the trails that ring the pond, and year-round interpretive programs and guided walks are offered. The reservation also includes a gift shop, bookstore, and the Tsongas art gallery.

To make your trip more enjoyable, keep in mind that the following are prohibited: pets, fires and grills, camping, bikes on trails, alcoholic beverages, gasoline engines, wind-powered sail craft, hunting, metal detectors, and novelty inflation devices. There are no trash cans on the beach, so be prepared to bring everything out that you brought in, but there is water located in the gift shop. Visitors are also welcome to picnic; however, picnic tables and pavilion facilities are not available.

The reservation attracts hikers, swimmers, and others seeking an outdoor adventure escape. Visitors are welcome to swim, hike, fish, use canoes and boats (not provided), and in the winter, cross-country ski and snowshoe. Just make sure to have a boat permit for any motorized vehicles. Floating beach wheelchairs are also available to rent at no charge for the day, which is a perfect way to navigate the beach or water terrain.

Walden Pond State Reservation is open year-round for day use only. The daily parking fee is $8 for Concord residents and $10 for non-resident per vehicle, and there are no other parking options available, as street parking is prohibited.Walden leaves

As you enter the reservation, the first thing you will see is a recreation of Thoreau’s famous pond-side one-room cabin. Thoreau wrote in his 1859 journal entry, “I think that each town should have a park, … a common possession forever, for instruction and recreation.” The comment applies to the Walden Pond experience now as much as it did then.

Photo credit: Elizabeth Harvey.