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Trails & Recreation

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Winter Trail

Harvard Forest contains miles of trails. Maps, including a map of roads and trails on the Prospect Hill tract are available in hard copy at the Fisher Museum.

Note: Hunting in accordance with Massachusetts law is allowed on most Harvard Forest properties. Hikers and pets should wear blaze orange from Oct. 16 to Dec. 30 (though no hunting is allowed on Sundays). Learn more about our policies.

History and Ecology Trails

  • A self-guided ecology and history trail (new in 2016) begins at the Fisher Museum and covers 2.5 miles.

Guided tours are available on a limited, staff-available basis.

A field guide to the plants of the Harvard Forest is available, as is a more recent update to include the plants of the Harvard Farm.

An Important Note about the Witness Tree

Some of you may have heard of Harvard Forest because of the Witness Tree (learn more about that project here). We ask that you do not seek to find and visit the Witness Tree for two reasons: 1) it is purposefully located off the beaten track, in a research area that is filled with wires and delicate equipment that can be easily tripped over and dislodged, disrupting the important work underway, and 2) foot traffic is hard on forests. Trampling the plants in the pathway near and around the tree can disrupt our research. We ask that if you visit the Harvard Forest, you stick to designated trails, and marvel at the incredible, 100+ year-old oak trees that surround you there.

Do's and Don'ts

Hiking, cross-country skiing, and snow-shoeing are allowed on all roads/trails. Mountain biking and horseback riding uses are limited; signs on trails designate where biking and horseback riding are permitted.

Motorized recreation is prohibited.

Camping and fires are prohibited.

Dogs are allowed on Harvard Forest, but must be under strict control at all times.

Parking is available in front of the Fisher Museum for the Prospect Hill tract and just off Route 122 at the east and west edges of Harvard Pond for the Tom Swamp tract.

Hunting is allowed on most Harvard Forest properties. Learn more about our hunting policies, and click here to learn the dates of hunting seasons in Massachusetts for various species. People and pets should wear blaze orange while walking on trails during hunting season.

Visitors are requested to stay on the trails and must not disturb any research equipment, materials, or markers.