Worcester, at the northern end of the Blackstone River National Park Corridor, might not be thought of in terms of hiking and biking due to its urbanization, but both historical walking tours and natural, scenic hiking areas and bike trails are awaiting! In fact, the City Manager's Office of Planning and Economic Development has been partnering with the Worcester Regional Trails Consortium to create a network of 50 trails connecting over 2000 acres of recreation areas, conservation land accessible to the public. There is a map available and more information can be sought by contacting 508-799-1400.
Hiking & Biking & Snowshoeing: Broadmeadow Brook Sanctuary Audubon's Broadmeadow Brook 400 acre Sanctuary is alive during spring, summer and fall with wonderful wildflowers, wildlife, hiking trails and fascinating programs for children and adults. Over 160 bird species, 78 types of butterflies and plenty of frogs, deer, fox, wild turkeys, muskrat and even rare turtles grace this largest Audubon urban sanctuary. Four miles of trails, going in seven different paths, introduce you to wetlands, grassy marshes, woodlands, and fields. Trails are open dawn to dusk daily. Even in the winter, though, activities and wildlife can be seen and enjoyed. Broadmeadow Brook also offers numerous classes, hikes, and presentations on birding, snowshoeing and educational resources to help us learn what's in the environment right around us in the Blackstone Valley. Excellent lectures are offered weekly or monthly and are generally free to Audubon members. Broadmeadow Brook's Educational Center is filled with gifts and educational materials as well as coupling as a Visitors Center for the John H. Chafee National Park Service with area attraction brochures. Restrooms are available. Admission to Audubon members and Worcester residents, general admission is $3 with children 3-12 or seniors $2. 414 Massasoit Rd, Worcester 508-753-6087, email firstname.lastname@example.org Nearby Broadmeadow Brook is the site of Worcester's last working farm - the 80 acre Perkins Farm offering a wonderful view of Lake Quinsigamond from its hiking trails. This conservation area is located behind Stop n Shop off of Jolma Road with parking allowed behind the market for easy access to the area. There six trails throughout this lush ecosystem which includes vernal pools, glacial boulders and oak forests. Guided field trips can be arranged through Mass Audubon Society at 508-753-6087.
Hadwen Park "A dramatic glacial escarpment runs the length of Hadwen Park dividing the western hill from the lowlands leading down to Curtis Pond - one of headwaters of the Blackstone River". (WRTA April 2001) This 55 acre park, donated by Worcester Parks Commission's longtime member, Obadiah Hadwen, is a treasure of specimen trees and a magnificent beech grove. This park is also part of Worcester's existing bike trail and the Tetasset Hills Regional Trail. This has been noted as a great birding area with much waterfowl as well as deer and wildlife. Hadwen Park is home to the New England Orienteering Club's Worcester Chapter which has established an orienteering course at the park with maps available.
Parson's Cider Mill Park The 60 acre Parson's Cider Mill Park is another link to the Tetasset Hills Regional Trail and offers trails around two ponds, Parson's Pond and the Cider Mill Pond. These cartpaths provide a relaxed setting while you imagine the past of the Parson family who were strong abolitionists with their home being part of the Underground Railroad.
Green Hill Park
Green Hill Park's huge expanse and multiple assets include: a large pond, golfing facilities, the memorable Vietnam War Memorial, a barnyard zoo, and plenty of playground equipment, and acreage to roam. Its diverse plant species were planted by the Green family, donors of the extensive parklands. Cascades Parklands 313 contiguous acres of open space comprise northern Worcester's, Holden's and Paxton's Cascades Parklands which includes Boynton Park, Cascades West and Cascades Park. A three mile walking trail network, natural landmarks including kettle ponds, Silver Spring, and a gigantic split boulder named Wunneompset by the Nipmucks and an extensive wildlife habitat. A stone amphitheatre overlooks Silver Spring Brook and the trail system ties into the larger Tetasset Hills Regional Trail. One of the largest apple presses once created plenty of cider from the apple orchards on the east side. The remains of the apple press mill can still be seen onsite along Aprocot Street near the retaining pond and small brook. So step back in history and enjoy! Other Conservation or Worcester Parks Department Land in southern Worcester: Greenwood Park off Greenwood Street, Middle River Park at the northern tip of Millbury and Ballard Streets, Cookson Field near Holy Cross College, Union Park at Canterbury Street, God's Acre abutting the southern tip of Worcester Airport, Crompton Park between Millbury St, Canton St and Quinsigamond Ave, Vernon Hill Park between Vernon Street and Holcombe, Banks Street Playground, Mulenty Field at Rice Sqaure (the location of Worcester's first settler!), Crow Hill between Harrington Way and Hamilton St, Harrington Field near the Ecotarium, Conservation land at Coes Pond Village, Conservation land between Lovell Road and Fairlawn Hospital, Beaver Brook Park and Foley Stadium along Chandler St, Holmes Field, and the Quinsigamond State Park along Lake Avenue and Lake Quinsigamond. Other Conservation or Worcester Parks Department Land in central and northern Worcester: Elm Park at Park Avenue and Highland St, Doherty High School fields and open space, Logan Field on Airport Drive, Patches Pond , bike trail and open space on Mill Street, Rockwood Playground on Chandler St beyond Worcester State College, Salisbury Park off Park Ave., Institute Park and Salisbury Pond, Christofor Columbo Park on Shrewsbury Street, Burncoat Park next to Allmerica on North Parkway, Dodge Park near Burncoat Street, Roberto Clemente and Tacoma St Playgrounds in Great Brook Valley Housing, Kendrick Field off of West Boylston Street.