We offer many kinds of guided walks: themed educational walks and social hiking for adults; Babes in the Woods for new parents and caregivers who carry children; and Hike ‘n’ Seek for families with toddlers and young children. All have fun and knowledgeable guides.
Groups are no larger than 15 and cover just about every section of the reservation. Guides are volunteers with varied expertise and familiarity with the trails. Walks cover such topics as plants and animals, geology, history, climate impacts, invasive species, birding, and seasonal changes. Social hikes are open to all, although several may have targeted themes and audiences (women, newcomers). Hike requirements such as binoculars or crampons and level of difficulty will be indicated in the description of each event. The walks are timed and well-supported.
We ask that you pre-register. This will allow us to send reminders, process cancellations, and ensure that people on the waitlist are contacted.
These walks are a great way to get yourself out in the woods without worrying about finding your way. What better way to meet up with friends old and new with lots to talk about and see! We look forward to having you join us.
Babes in the Woods & Hike ‘n’ Seek
Since 1999, Babes in the Woods is the Friends of the Fells’ popular weekday family hiking program. Caregivers and babies are welcome on these fun guided hikes through the Middlesex Fells Reservation. Babes in the Woods is an adult-paced hike designed for parents who carry their children. These hikes are not recommended for young children who walk. Hikes are offered every week, all year long, weather permitting.
Created with the graduates of our Babes in the Woods program in mind, Hike ‘n’ Seek outings are geared towards toddlers and kids. Families enjoy slow-paced, educational walks that give young children the chance to explore independently while building knowledge and appreciation for the outdoors. These walks typically run weekly year round, weather permitting.
For both programs, we recommend that you bring along snacks and drinks, and make sure to dress for the weather—depending on the season, some trails may be muddy or icy in spots. Please note that hikes are not accessible for strollers. No dogs, please. Our walks are canceled only if it is raining or snowing hard, if there is a wind chill of 25° or less, or a heat index of 90° or above.
There is no fee. Pre-registration is required. We ask that you agree to our short liability waiver form during the registration process.
Frequently Asked Questions About Babes in the Woods/Hike ‘n’ Seek
Babes in the Woods is our hike for adults who carry children during the entire hike. It runs all year round, once a week, starting from a different trailhead each week. In the summers the hike is an hour, and the rest of the year it is an hour and a half. Older children who are used to keeping up with adults for up to an hour and a half hike are welcome to join.
Hike ’n’ Seek is for families with children who are too heavy or too curious to carry. Any age is welcome, although children around the age of seven and up might get bored. This program runs every week in the summer (May—September) and often on school vacation weeks. It runs for about 45 minutes to an hour.
We hike from 10:00 am – 11:30 AM or so.
You can login/register here. We will check you in when you get to the trailhead. If you can’t make it, try to cancel through the events page so those on the waitlist can join.
If we cancel, we will do so by 9:00 AM on the day of the hike via a post to our Facebook page. You should receive an automated cancellation email from our registration system, but it is best to also check our calendar.
If the calendar entry has not been updated, that means the hike is still on. As the saying goes, “there’s no bad weather, only bad gear.” Make sure you are ready for the weather; in New England, it can change on a dime and doesn’t always align with the forecast. If you’re not feeling prepared, then don’t feel obligated to come—we’ll be happy to see you next time!
Yes. We don’t take scheduled breaks, but if you need one, just let a hike leader or assistant know. If you need to breastfeed, we will stop with you (or one of our experienced mothers will help you learn how to breastfeed while walking). If you need a break for any reason, we are happy to wait with you. We don’t take scheduled breaks since many of our participants like to keep moving, but we’ll often pause at a scenic vista, or to take a group picture.
Not for the Babes in the Woods hikes, nor most Hike ‘n’ Seek hikes. Unfortunately, trails are not accessible. Some more robust strollers can navigate on dirt paths for Hike ‘n’ Seek hikes at Greenwood Park and Botume House. Check out Fresh Pond Reservation in Cambridge or Breakheart Reservation in Saugus for paved trails.
Sorry, no. Some of our participants and volunteers have phobias, so for their comfort we do not allow dogs.
As long as you can carry your child for an hour and a half (an hour in summer), and they don’t get too fussy, you’re welcome to join us on a Babes in the Woods hike! We find most kids get too heavy or want to get out and explore around age two.
Hike ‘n’ Seek hikes are slow-paced for families. Any age is appropriate, although children around the age of seven and up might get bored.
Not at this time. Our hikes are based on volunteers’ availability. Weekends are especially difficult to secure reliable, committed volunteers. We would like to offer more programming on weekends and are looking into how we can make it happen. If you’re available on a weekly basis on another day and are interested in leading or assisting a hike, get in touch!
The hikes usually begin sometime in May and run through September. The start date depends on many factors. First, volunteers’ schedules. Second, the weather. For example, if it’s been an especially wet spring, we will probably push back the start date of the Hike ‘n’ Seek hikes. Third, the DCR’s schedule. We try to coordinate with the Visitor Services Supervisor and their schedule changes a lot, too. Once we know when we’ll start, we’ll post and promote.
We usually post about two months of hikes at a time. Sometimes, there is construction that influences where we meet up for our hikes. We’ll get to it, but it doesn’t hurt to give us a nudge via our Facebook page.
You might check out Hike It Baby. You must pay for continued membership. Otherwise, these programs are very similar to Babes in the Woods and they can be anywhere, not just the Fells.
And check out the variety of the DCR’s programs here.
Facebook messaging is broken; the best way to get in touch is to email us at email@example.com, but for immediate concerns you can call our Google Voice number at (617) 334-5383 as well.
Babes in the Woods is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Middlesex Fells, Medford Family Network, the North Suburban Family Network, the Malden/Everett Family Network, and the Department of Conservation and Recreation.