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Preplanned Hike for Great Blue Hill: Red Dot Trail
Quick Facts I
Trailside Museum
1.5 miles
1 hr. 30 min.
Moderately Steep
* View of Boston from Eliot Tower
* Ski slope just 10 miles south of Boston
Hike Rating 4 Stars
Quick Facts II
635 ft.
Milton, MA
10 miles south of Boston
Best Map
Blue Hills Reservation
Metropolitan Parks System
Feb. 1999




      Blue Hills Reservation is a natural beauty south of Boston. Located primarily in Milton, only a half hour from Boston, Blue Hills encompasses 7000 acres, 125 miles of trails, and 22 hills, the most notable being Great Blue Hill (635 ft.). Great Blue Hill is a pleasant hike that offers a clear view of Boston from Eliot Tower on the peak. A 10-mile day hike across the park offers many fine views. Just outside the Trailside Museum is a sizable zoo where a variety of wildlife - from otters to foxes - reside. A swim at Houghtons Pond or Ponkapoag Pond after your hike is a great way to top off the day. In the winter, skiers and snowboarders can hit the slopes at the William F. Rogers Ski Slope. The state government reduced Blue Hills budget by 1/3 in year 2000. Among other things, it has had to close restrooms by the parking lot and close the Trailside Museum on Monday and Tuesday in order to maintain operations. Blue Hills encourages visitors to contact state legislators to restore funding for this natural treasure so close to Boston. The Trailside Museum is worth the very affordable entrance fee. The $1 map is well-detailed and a useful purchase for hiking in the Reservation.

Preplanned Hike 

     The trailhead for the Red Dot Trail in front of the museum entrance and it is marked by red circles. Wooden steps start you upward. It is a .5 mile hike to the peak of Blue Hill.  You will be walking gradually upward on big, flat rocks surrounded by a pleasant mixture of deciduous and coniferous trees.  In about 5 minutes you'll break out of the trees enough to catch your first view.  On the peak (635 ft.) is Eliot Tower, which offers an excellent view of Boston as well as the hills and ponds on the Reservation. There are tables and ample space for a picnic.  If you walk across the Eliot Bridge and follow the blue blazes, you will soon arrive at the weather observatory towers.  Blue Hills Observatory was constructed in 1885 and the National Park Service designated it a National Historic Landmark in 1989. Back at Eliot Tower, instead of returning via the Red Dot trail, if you're up for a challenge, consider walking down the ski slope. Pass the Red Dot trailhead on the right and continue walking on the gravel road.  When you reach the paved road, turn right and walk down the paved road for a very brief time.  When you encounter another gravel road on your left, turn left onto it and you will soon see the top of the ski lift in front of you. Behind the top of the ski lift is a plaque dedicated to Daniel M. Casey, Oct. 20, 1968- July 25, 1994.  The poem on it is both poignant and uplifting.  It is a steep descent down the ski trail on a straight dirt path that is rough on the knees. The soda machines outside of the ski lodge below offer a nice reward.


Great Blue Hill is located with Blue Hills Reservation, Milton, MA, just 10 miles south of Boston.

Trailside Museum parking lot:

I-93 Exit 2B, 138 North, Milton
Cross over the highway
Pass gas stations on left
Straight through intersection
"Blue Hills Reservation" and "William F. Rogers Ski Slope" signs on right
Pass Trailside Museum on right
At 1.1 miles, immediately after Trailside Museum, take right into parking lot.

Submitted by: Mark, MountainSummits.com, age 30, athletic male.

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