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Hiking and Biking in the Greater Boston Area

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There are a number of Nature Preserves/Sanctuaries in the Greater Boston Area that are wonderful to visit. Whether you're into biking, hiking, bird watching or just strolling through nature with your children, here are some terrific places to spend a nice sunny afternoon:

Drumlin Farm part of Mass Audubon, is both a real working farm and a wild life sanctuary. Here you can visit the animals, learn about gardening, hike the trails, take a hay ride and even pick up dinner at the farm stand on your way out.

Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is one of 8 national wildlife refuges in Eastern Massachusetts; Great Meadows is located in Concord. This is a great place to observe wildlife, take pictures and introduce kids to nature. They also have a hunting and fishing program.

Minuteman Bike Trail is an 11 mile bike trail that stretches from Bedford to the Alewife T station in Cambridge. Although called a bike trail, it is used for cycling, walking, jogging, in-line skating, and in the winter cross-country skiing.

If you enjoy hiking or other outdoor sports check out TrailLink.com. Once you indicate the geographic area you're interested in, you can narrow down your search by surfaces, trail length and activity. Summer time activities include biking, swimming, hiking, walking, and fishing. The trail summary will give you a description of the trail, information on parking and trail access, reviews by site users who have used the trail, nearby trails, a link to a trail map and a link to download GPS Data to a Garmin compatible device ($9.99).

If instead of a Garmin you have an iPhone or an Android phone, another good hiking/walking resource is EveryTrail. Each trail guide summary indicates the level of difficulty, length of the hike, and how long it will take to hike the trail. There are maps (better than those on TrailLink.com) and photos available and you can download the trail guides to your phone for free. When you view trail details, you will see whether the trail is dog friendly and where parking is located. You'll also find trails created by other hikers using the EveryTrail app on their phone. These typically include only a map and photos. This site is easier to navigate than TrailLink.com, but doesn't have as many trails or as much information about a trail as TrailLink.com.

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