|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
A popular winter destination for skiers, Mt. Wachusett also tempts hikers with its rugged, challenging trails. Start this 15-mile loop by hiking northwest on the Balance Rock Trail to its namesake rock formation, then pick up the Semuhenna Trail. Head east around the peak’s western slope, then take the Bicentennial Trail to the Loop Trail. Climb to the summit and check out Mt. Monadnock to the north, the Berkshires to the west, and the Boston cityscape far off to the east. Descend on the Old Indian Trail and retrace your steps past Balance Rock to return to the base. Cross the parking lot to connect with the Midstate Trail, then enter Leominster State Forest, passing Redemption Rock. Make a 4-mile loop around Bald Hill and Crow Hill Pond to return to the start, or take a 12.8-mile detour to the north by following the Midstate Trail to a campsite in Willard Brook State Forest.
-Hike provided by Helen Weatherall, author of "60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Boston" (Menasha Ridge Press)