Wachusett Mountain - Hiking

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With a mild elevation gain, well-kept trails, beautiful views, and fewer crowds than other popular peaks nearby, Mt. Wachusett is great for hiking and trail running.

Written by

Allie Aylward


2.5 miles

One of Mt. Wachusett's longer trails, Harrington Trail, is about 2.5 miles from parking to the summit and back. Shorter, steeper trails like Pine Hill Trail or Mountain House Trail are approximately 0.25 and 0.5 miles, respectively.

Destination Distance From Downtown

43.4 miles


3 of 5 diamonds

There are enough trails that reach Mt. Wachusett's summit for hikers to choose a preferred ascent, steep or more gradual. Along each trail, the need to scramble up a rocky face is infrequent and footing remains relatively easy, especially on Mt. Wachusett's connecting trails. The rocks and roots embedded in many sections of its trails can quickly become slick on a humid day, even before actual rainfall. If sure footing is a concern, bring trekking poles for stability.

Time To Complete

1 hours

The time it takes to complete a hike on Mt. Wachusett is highly dependent on the route you choose. Few trails are longer than 1.0 miles; however, many trail combinations will take under two hours to complete.


All Seasons

A popular ski mountain, Mt. Wachusett is bustling during ski season. For that reason alone, parking will be easier for hikers during the off-season. For those planning to hike, bike, run, or drive up the service road that leads to Mt. Wachusett's summit, know that the road closes from November through late May.

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Fees Permits


Parking at the main lodge costs $5 for MA residents and $6 for non-MA residents. Small lot and street parking near other trailheads is free.



At 2,006 ft, Mt. Wachusett is a worthy rival to the more well known peaks in Central and Northern Massachusetts. Its 3,000 acres is home to 17 miles of trails, all varying in length and grade. Hikers can easily customize an outing on Mt. Wachusett to fit their physical goals or the day’s agenda. Popular routes to the summit include Mountain House, Pine Hill, and Old Indian Trails, but it is Mt. Wachusett’s connector trails that truly shine.

What Makes It Great

On a clear day atop the summit of Mt. Wachusett, hikers can spot the distant peaks of Mt. Monadnock and Mt. Watatic. While Mt. Wachusett cannot boast the same panoramic views that other mountains do, scenic vistas nevertheless punctuate the trails on their way to its summit. A notable outlook off Harrington Trail has a picnic table and looks out on rolling hills and two wind turbines at a nearby Wind Farm. 

Wachusett Mountain State Reservation features native forests, alpine meadows, streams, ponds and a perched bog. On the mountain’s northern face off of Bolton Pond and Balance Rock Trails, visitors will find Balance Rock, a site at which the glacier movement that shaped the mountain is particularly evident. On Mt. Wachusett's southern face is Echo Lake. Not a notable destination in itself, the area has a picnic table, an outdoor grill, and is easily accessible to parking areas, making it a convenient spot to stop for lunch.

Who is Going to Love It

With clearly-marked trails and infrequent rock scrambling, Mt. Wachusett is a great destination for families looking for an adventure in the great outdoors. For more serious hikers, I suggest ascending via one of the steeper routes to the summit and descending by a combination of any of the trails along the mountain's southern face.

The hiking trails on Mt. Wachusett are often secluded, even on summer Saturdays, so hikers seeking solitude will enjoy its many quiet outlooks. At the risk of ruining a favorite escape, I personally recommend the bench along High Meadow Trail. Its vista may never appear on a postcard, but High Meadow Trail's sparse foot traffic makes it an ideal spot for quiet contemplation.

Despite the rocky, New England terrain, several trails on Mt. Wachusett are ideal for trail runners. Any of the unpaved service roads are especially suited to runners, along with Echo Lake and Stage Coach Trails.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

There are are several small parking areas to choose from when hiking Mt. Wachusett, depending on the  trail you plan to take. 

To hike Pine Hill Trail, the shortest and steepest route to the summit, park at the lot on Mountain Rd. off Pine Hill Road at 345 Mountain Road, Princeton, MA. This lot is open seasonally from 9 a.m. to sunset. 

To hike Mountain House Trail, park at 254 Mountain Road, off Gregory Rd.

To begin at Echo Lake Road, park in the small lot at 227 Mountain Rd. 

To take Echo Lake Trail, Stage Coach Trail, or Administration Road, there is limited parking at the trailhead at 84 Westminster Rd. 

To hike Harrington Trail, park at the trailhead further along at 138 Westminster Rd. 

On the opposite side of the mountain are Bolton Pond, Balance Rock, Old Indian and Semuhenna Trails. Parking for these trails is available at the ski lodge or at 42 Boston Rd, Westminster, MA. 

To reach Mt. Wachusett from Boston, take Rt. 2 West until it meets Rt. 240 South, then take a right onto Mile Hill Rd and a left onto Mountain Rd. 

Additional directions are available on the Wachusett Mountain State Reservation website.


Wachusett Mountain

499 Mountain Rd
Princeton, MA, 01541
42.503554, -71.885433

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