The Acorn Trail at Great Brook Farm State Park - Hiking

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Soft footing in the idyllic, Massachusetts countryside makes the Acorn Trail at Great Brook Farm State Park a favorite destination among local nature lovers.

Written by

Allie Aylward


3.0 miles

The Acorn Trail is divided in three sections: Acorn Trail, Acorn South, and Acorn North. The combined length of all three is 3.0 miles. Hikers can opt for a shorter trip by choosing to walk just the main Acorn Trail.

Destination Distance From Downtown

20.4 miles


1 of 5 diamonds

Trails are short, well-marked, and never too far from civilization, making it almost impossible to lose your way. The terrain is mostly flat and with easy footing, making the trail suitable for hikers of all abilities.

Time To Complete

1 hours

Able adults walking at a consistent pace should manage this 3-mile loop in under 1.5 hours. Those with younger children may want to set aside 1.5 hours or more.


All Seasons

Great Brook Farm State Park is open year round and accommodates several types of outdoor sports beyond hiking, including horseback riding, trail running, and mountain biking. During the winter, the park is ideal for snowshoeing and cross country skiing.

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Fees Permits


Parking is $2.00 per vehicle.



Located 25 miles from downtown Boston in Carlisle, MA, Great Brook Farm State Park contains 1,000 acres designated for hiking, running, biking, horseback riding, and cross country skiing. The state park is located on the ground of an active dairy farm, which has run in Carlisle for over 60 years. Don’t mistake this for an antiquated operation though—Great Brook Farm has the first robotic milking system in Massachusetts and a top notch creamery, too. 

Its acreage includes over 20 miles of trails, most of which are loop hikes with varying entry-points across the reservation. Great Brook Farm State Park offers visitors a humble display of Massachusetts’ natural beauty, taking hikers along farmland, marshes, swamps, natural forests, and fields of ferns. Along the 3.0-mile Acorn Trail, these natural features are showcased in each of its three sections. Secluded from the many other trails around Great Brook Farm, Acorn Loop is ideal for a peaceful walk in the woods.

What Makes It Great

While other trails at Great Brook Farm State Park see their fair share of visitors during their peak seasons, Acorn Loop often remains secluded. The park has been fairly busy when I’ve visited, yet I rarely see another hiker, biker, or runner on Acorn Trail. Hikers who seek solitude, will have found the right place.

Unlike Blue Hills Reservation or Mount Watatic, there is no spectacular overlook, no unique outcroppings, no glacial structures along Acorn Trail. What remains is an opportunity to walk without distraction; other than the farm’s beautiful landscape, there is nothing to steal your attention.

For hikers that feel unfulfilled without a designated “lunch spot” to divide the afternoon, several benches around a small pond near the visitors’ center will fulfill that need. The pond sits below the creamery and is an idyllic spot to admire the countryside and lick an ice cream cone.

Who is Going to Love It

It cannot be overstated how suited this destination is to families with young children. From the short time commitment it takes to hike Acorn Loop to the farm animals to the creamery; this place is made for kids (and kids at heart). At mention of the creamery, I feel compelled to recommend Graham Central Station, a graham cracker-infused ice cream with a graham swirl and chocolate-covered Honey Combs cereal.

Hikers and trail runners will enjoy Acorn Trail the most. Its almost entirely flat path brings adventurers through natural and shaded woodlands, along open corn fields, and grassy paths that fall somewhere between the two. From its gentle footing and lack of incline, Acorn Trail is uniquely suited for those who wish to channel Thoreau and saunter through the woods, pondering man’s relation to nature.

More experienced hikers, or those simply looking for a challenge, may not find this trail enjoyable.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

To get to Great Brook Farm from downtown Boston, take I-93 N and US-3 N. Take exit 29 from US-3 N and then drive along Mill Road, to Concord Road, to Lowell Street in Carlisle to reach the farm. A sign for the park entrance will be on your right. 

Great Brook Farm State Park is accessible via public transit, but not that easily. Visitors can take the Lowell Line on the Commuter Rail from North Station and walk to the number 15 bus in Lowell to Chelmsford Center. From there, you'd have to walk or hire a taxi for the remaining 3 miles. 

Instead of that trek, I recommend taking the commuter rail as mentioned, but bring along your bike and skip out on a bus ride.

Parking at Great Brook Farm State Park is $2 per vehicle. Hiking, biking, and trail running are free, but those who visit the park for cross country skiing in the winter must purchase a ticket to access the grounds.

Dogs are permitted on Acorn Trail, but not on every trail during every season at Great Brook Farm State Park. Check with park administration if you’d like to bring your furry, four-legged friend along for a hike and are not sure if the trail allows it. 


Great Brook Farm State Park - Hiking

984 Lowell St
Carlisle, MA, 01741
42.555821, -71.353423

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