Snowy Hike on the Blue Hills Skyline Trail
Last weekend, after weathering a (not even close) historic winter storm Jonas, we found ourselves wanting to get outside and play in the 4-6 inches of fresh snow we received over night.
On top of wanting to get outside, Megan’s friend Kelly had wanted us to go hiking with her to get her ready for some more challenging and fun hikes. We opted for the Blue Hills Skyline trail just south of Boston, MA.
This “relatively” short trail, (we hiked the western section) offers a good range of steep inclines and declines along with varied rocky terrain.
We had never done this trail in winter, let alone with a fresh coat of 4-6 inches of snow. So we we’re a bit excited to keep our winter hiking going.
Starting the Blue Hills Skyline Trail
We met Kelly at the Blue Hills State Reservation Parking lot just south of the Massachusetts State Police Barracks, after donning our winter gear complete with proper layers, our REI Alpine Gaiters and Kahtoola Micro-Spikes.
We locked the truck, and headed north towards the State Police Barracks and the official start of the western portion of the Skyline Trail.
Starts with a Bang
One of the best parts of the Skyline trail is that it immediately climbs upwards for some amazing views. You start with a bang that gets the heart racing.
Since we’ve never done this hike in snow and ice, and only Megan and I had micro-spikes we took our time on the short climb enjoying the process.
Up and Down
What comes up, must go down. Blue Hills are known for their rolling hills and this trail certainly doesn’t disappoint.
The skyline trail is named after two features, the first being that it has amazing views of the Boston skyline along its route. The second is the fact you’re walking the ridge of the hills all the way through the park.
Often with steep inclines and declines, offering very rocky and slippery descents. It was fun making our way up and down as we trudged through the beautifully just fallen snow.
Winter Wonderland and Cold Snow
After a bunch of ups and downs we finally hit a level section of trail that looked absolutely gorgeous, the fresh snow was stuck to the trees which offered a winter wonderland kind of feel.
Megan has a fun moment of walking all crazy. (check it out in the video above too)
Also, I learned the hard way that snow-covered trees can be a blessing and a curse.
While descending down a slope I grabbed onto a tree for stability and felt the rush as a ton of snow fell on my head and pack making its way down my neck and shirt. Talk about super cold! Megan and Kelly decided it was more appropriate to laugh instead of patting snow off me. Enjoy that clip in the video too!
Great Blue Hills Eliot Tower
Soon after we began the vertical ascent up the Great Blue Hill to probably the most touristy section of the Blue Hills Reservation. This old lookout tower called Eliot Tower was built-in 1905 as a memorial. It’s a wonderful mid-point to the hike, and offers incredible views of the Boston skyline.
Because of the fresh snow and cold temperatures we only saw about 5 people at the tower, which is usually more like 25-30 in the summer months.
Hiking Back to the Parking Lot
After Megan and Kelly made their way to the top, I stopped and grabbed a snack at the base. Soon after they descended and we headed back down the Skyline trail on our way back to the parking lot.
The second half of this Skyline Trail loop is a lot less exciting, it ascends and descends a lot less, and is relatively flat as you wind your way back to the starting point.
We enjoyed some great conversation and jokes as we walked through the fluffy snow.
Right before exiting the trail, there is one last big drop as you descend 150 feet down a rocky and slippery slope. It offered a little bit of excitement and a great way to end the hike!
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