Borderland State Park offers over 1800 acres of beautiful land in Easton and Sharon. The heart of the park is the Ames Mansion, built in 1910. Various movies have been filmed in the park/mansion, including Mermaids, Shutter Island, the 2015 Ghostbusters, and, most recently, Knives Out. Droves of disc golf players and dog walkers visit this park every weekend.
In large part because of its popularity, we used to dislike Borderland. It seemed so overrated–it was always crowded, parking was sometimes difficult, and the views were nice but didn’t seem to warrant the masses flocking here. During Pre-COVID summers, we attended the free learn-to-fish program at Borderland near Pud’s Pond off Mountain St. (The rangers provide rods as well as bait–all you have to do is show up! It’s a great way to try out fishing without having to commit to purchasing the equipment!) This program gave us glimpses into other parts of the park, and we were intrigued. In summer of 2020, Friends of Borderland organized geocaches and scavenger hunts, and we spent numerous days navigating areas of the park we had previously not explored with a compass looking for the clues. In fall of 2020, Amy and a friend set a goal of hiking every single trail in Borderland–so they did. Now Amy knows the park like the back of her hand, and it is her favorite hiking spot. There are flat trails, hilly trails, rocky trails, wooded trails, grassy trails…you just need to know where to go in the park. This hike mixes hills and rocky terrain with the flat and easy Pond Walk. It is a perfect blend of easy access and off-the-beaten path. We highly recommend you give Borderland a chance–just don’t follow the crowds!!
HOW TO GET THERE
259 Massapoag St.
North Easton, MA 02356
TRAIL DESCRIPTION & MAP
From the main parking lot, with the Visitor’s Center in front of us, we headed to our left, picking up the West Side Trail. (The crowds follow the Pond Walk.) From the West Side Trail, we went left on the French Trail and then left again on the Northwest Trail. Then we went right onto the Split Rock Trail and followed it to the Granite Hills Lower Loop Trail, which leads to the Pond Walk. We headed right back towards the park entrance.
Rated on a scale of 1 (difficult/not good) to 5 (easy/awesome!)
P – Parking & Access – 5 (There is a massive parking lot here that probably fits at least two hundred cars. However, it often fills up and people are turned away. It also costs $5 for a day pass. Note: DCR parking passes can be used here.)
I – Interest Level – 4 (This is a pretty fun trail. There are bridges, huge boulders to climb, a geocache, Leach Pond, a small dam, and The Lodge located along the trails we took. You can also explore the mansion near the parking lot–there are some fun finds located behind it!)
N – Navigation – 4 (The trails are well-marked and easy to follow.)
T – Terrain – 2 (The Pond Walk is wide and flat and can be done with a stroller or wheelchair. The West Side, French, Northwest, Split Rock and Granite Hills Lower Loop trails are all very rocky and hilly–pretty much impossible with a stroller.)
The P.I.N.T. Score represents our opinions on this trail. It reflects our experience, perception, and physical health. Therefore, the scores are not intended to be expert advice, nor will they be accurate for everyone: we cannot judge what may or may not be appropriate for each individual’s different abilities. Consult a physician or medical expert before attempting any new physical activity. Hiking contains inherent hazards, so hike at your own risk. You should always make your own decisions about what level of physical activity is appropriate for you and your family. Weather and other factors may affect trail conditions. Remember, trail conditions may change suddenly and drastically at any time.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- The turtle rock. We call it this because the head kind of reminds us of a turtle’s head and mouth. The kids love to lay down on it, sit on it, pose on it…
2. We call this section of the French Trail “Boulder Alley”. There is a cluster of large boulders together that the kids love to climb on.
3. Further along the French Trail and off to the left is a ginormous boulder. The trail continues straight, so you have to go a few feet off the main trail to find the boulder, but it’s worth it. You’ll know you’re at the spot when you see the huge rock with a dead tree sticking out of the top of it. For this reason, we call it Narwahl Rock. It’s great fun to climb up to the top, take pictures with the tree trunk, and rest. As the cousins say, “This would be a great spot for a picnic!”
4. Split Rock (along, of course, the Split Rock Trail). See if your kids can pick out Split Rock. 😉 Climb to the top for some cool views. Also, right near it, is a tree that looks a lot like a marking tree. We’re not sure it actually is an authentic one, but it has all the right features–it’s bent at a 90 degree angle in two spots!
5. The Fireplace Tree. This feature reminds us of a fireplace/chimney. The kids love to pose with this tree…
6. The little dam and the log bridge. The cousins love to stop and throw pebbles into the water and watch the water rush over the dam.
7. The Lodge–this is an iconic spot in Borderland, as everyone who takes the Pond Walk goes by it. Kids love to go inside and check it out. If you’re lucky, you might spot a wedding going on here in front of the pond!
Here are some pictures from the rest of our hike!
Borderland is 11 minutes away from Crescent Ridge–a delicious ice cream place! This farm is the perfect ending to a Borderland hike!