NewEnglandTravelPlanner.com Logo   Walden Pond, Concord MA Travel Guide
Until Henry David Thoreau wrote "Walden, or Life in the Woods," Walden Pond was just another deep, chill kettle pond scooped from the New England countryside by glaciers. Now it's a favorite swimming, fishing and walking destination.

Fisherman, Walden Pond, Concord MA


 

Walden Pond is a 400-acre (162-hectare) state reservation offering hiking trails, swimming, fishing and historical sights (map).

It's one of the most famous and popular state parks in Massachusetts. At all times of year people come to follow the 1.5-mile (2.4-km) trail around the pond and to visit the site of Thoreau's little house. The walk all the way around the pond takes about an hour at a comfortable pace, less if you walk briskly and don't linger at the site of Thoreau's house too long.

In summer, visitors from as far away as Boston come to swim in its cool water and take the sun on its few narrow sand public beaches.

In 2016, a new eco-friendly Visitor Center is being constructed with solar power and other up-to-date technologies. Fires, alcoholic beverages and dogs are prohibited in Walden Pond State Reservation at all times.

The state park's parking lot—the only legal parking available within a mile of the pondcosts $8 per carload for Massachusetts residents, $10 per carload for others, in summer. When this lot is full, the parking lot is closed and cars are turned away. On any warm day in summer—especially weekends and holidays—this means cars will be turned away by mid-morning at the latest.

There's a boat ramp for launching your boat, canoe or kayak. Internal combustion motors are not allowed, only quiet electric motors.

Walden has unique ecology and geology as a 103-foot- (31-meter)-deep kettle-hole glacial pond. More...

Henry David Thoreau

Thoreau, a school teacher, surveyor, pencil-maker, writer, folk philosopher and social critic, moved from Concord to Walden in 1845 and lived here in a simple one-room cabin for two years, two months and two days. During his stay he basically founded the study known as ecology.

His observations of plants, animals, the passing seasons and his naturalist philosophy were published as Walden, or Life in the Woods, in 1854. Over the years, his life and work have come to exemplify living in harmony with nature.

Thoreau's philosophy derived from the Transcendental philosophy of his friend and mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson, who in fact provided the land (part of his firewood lot at Walden) for Thoreau's little house. In essence, Thoreau lived a life that Emerson, because of his eminence and family ties, could not. More...

The replica of Thoreau's house (photo) is next to the parking lot, near the path down to the pond. The actual site of Thoreau's original house is a 15-minute walk around the pond, marked by granite posts (photo) (map). In previous years it was marked by a cairn built up by Thoreau pilgrims who left stones in commemoration of their visits.

Getting to Walden Pond

Walden Pond State Reservation, open all year, is near the intersection of MA Routes 2 and 126 (map), a 30- to 40-minute walk south of Monument Square.

The beach and circumambulation path are free, so if you walk or bicycle from Monument Square in Concord to Walden as Thoreau did (1.8 miles/2.9 km, 30 to 40 minutes' walk, each way), you can enjoy the pond at no cost.

If you come to Concord by train from Boston, you will actually pass right by Walden Pond: look for it on the right side of the train a few minutes before arriving at the Concord station.

You can walk from the center of Concord to Walden Pond along Walden Street (1.3 miles, 2.1 km, 20 to 25 minutes) or, more historically accurate, you can follow the Emerson - Thoreau Amble, a recreation of the footpath Emerson and Thoreau may have followed on their strolls to the pond. More...

If you're driving or bicycling, from Monument Square in Concord Center, follow Main Street south and turn left onto Walden Street at the first intersection. Follow Walden Street (Route 126) for two miles (3 km), cross a major highway (MA Route 2), and look for the Walden Pond State Reservation parking lot entrance on the left a short distance farther along. The pond is on your right, on the opposite side of the road from the parking lot. (Photos)

Walden Pond State Reservation
915 Walden Street (MA Route 62)(map)
Concord MA 01742
Tel: 978-369-3254


Geology & Ecology of Walden Pond

Henry David Thoreau

Thoreau's House Site

Thoreau's Birthplace

Photo Essay: Walden in Winter

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Transcendentalism

A Walking Tour of Concord

Sightseeing Map of Concord

What to See & Do in Concord

About Concord

 

 

Walden Pond, Concord MA

Walden Pond in Concord MA.





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Swimming beach
The swimming beach at Walden Pond.

 

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