A hidden world in the heart of Wellesley

By Alex Oliveira
Hometown Weekly Reporter

At the end of an innocuous neighborhood road in Wellesley, a network of trails weaves its way through trees, over streams, across meadows, and up and down a rocky ridge. Boulder Brook Reservation is a haven of wilderness amidst the bustle of Wellesley, a must-see during the stillness of winter.

Wandering woods give way to a yellowed field.  Photos by Alex Oliveira

Wandering woods give way to a yellowed field. Photos by Alex Oliveira

Nestled behind houses, backyards, and the grounds of the Bates Elementary School, Boulder Brook is hidden in plain sight. The park has multiple points of entry, each of which connects to a network of roughly two miles of trails.

A walk through the park will take you through three sections of terrain. At one end, a tree-pocked meadow stretches along the woodline, crisscrossed with paths that are cut through the tall field grass. From there you wind up in the woods themselves, which are splashed with the green of moss and shades of red, yellow and orange from other fungi and lichen that cover the damp rocks and trees. The brook weaves throughout the woods, burbling between trees and under a bridge or two, and by winter the sections of white, frozen water pop and creak while the water rushes beneath.

Some of the many colors found throughout the Boulder Brook Woods.  Photos by Alex Oliveira

Some of the many colors found throughout the Boulder Brook Woods. Photos by Alex Oliveira

Keep following the purple dots that mark the trail, and you’ll soon find yourself at the literal high point of the park, an outcropping of rock called Rocky Ledges. Rocky Ledges rises sharply and suddenly out of the woods, and the trail weaves up the sharp stone face with multiple switchbacks. Though it’s a jacket-unzipping kind of hike up to get up the ledge, it doesn’t take long to reach the peak, and when you do, the short effort is quickly rewarded. There, a large stone outcropping sticks out above the tree line and seemingly over all of Wellesley itself. It’s an expansive view of trees and rolling hills, accented by the steeple of the Wellesley College chapel, which rises prominently out of the hills.

Though an objectively small space, Boulder Brook Reservation and its many trails, hidden corners, and terrains feels huge nonetheless. Take an hour or two to find out for yourself.

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