I've got the most fun little forest scramble to share with you -- Boulder Park in Chester. This spot looks like nothing more than a rest stop on the side of Route 20 in Chester but it's actually an old recreation site built by the Civilian Conservation Corps back in the 1930s. The kids will have a great time exploring the site and looking for the old ruins.
The trail is open and clear -- it's basically just a straight line from one end of the trail to the other. Along the way you can cross a few stone and wood bridges, find the old outhouses and a pavilion and see how many stone grills you can find which are slowly being reclaimed by the forest. The trail is marked with blue blazes -- it's hard to get lost. There are a few trails that head up into the hills; however, they are not marked and are pretty overgrown. We explored a bit but there was not much to see so we headed back down to the base trail.
There's a large parking lot for Boulder Park, just pull in and take any of the stone stairways up to the trail. The kids will love scrambling up and down the stone steps. However, if you take the grassy slope from the parking lot the trail is considered Universal Access.
Boulder Park is named for the large rocks scattered through the property which were left by glacial ice sheets. Many are too big and shear to climb, but some fun bouldering can be done here. There is a stream that runs through the property but it was pretty dry when we visited.
This was a solitary trek -- we were the only ones on the trail. And although it was peaceful in the woods, it was not quiet. You can hear the traffic from Route 20 as the trail runs parallel to the busy road. I've driven past this site dozens of time and have never seen a single car in the lot. I'm surprised since it's a such a fun explore. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
This hike makes a great stop on the way out to the Hilltowns or Berkshire attractions, or you can pair it with a hike at Sanderson Brook Falls which is a few miles down the road or with a visit to the Chester Railway Museum.
There are no amenities on site but it such a short explore you don't even need to bring anything with you -- your car is only a few hundred feet away at all times. Don't forget the bug spray and wear long pants -- we're pretty sure we spotted poison ivy along the trail.
Boulder Park is located on Route 20 in Chester. See you on the trail!