Connecticut may seem like a bit of a drive from Boston for someone looking for an easy, relaxing day of hiking, but the town of Union (and Bigelow Hollow State Park, which is within its borders) is only about an hour from the city. And the park is beautiful in ways that closer spots such as the Blue Hills and Middlesex Fells are not, since Union itself is in an unspoiled, hilly part of Connecticut.
Bigelow Hollow State Park and the adjacent Nipmuck State Forest together form a huge wilderness area of more than 9,000 acres. The state park itself has a couple of scenic bodies of water. Bigelow Pond (top) is the first one you reach along the road through the state park, and Mashapaug Pond (above and below) is the second one, which is found at the end of the road. Hiking trails go around Bigelow Pond and brush up along the border of Mashapaug Pond, with many more trails winding through the deep woods that extend all the way up to the Massachusetts border.
The trails in Bigelow Hollow State Park might not present much of a challenge to hikers, but if you like isolated ponds and scenic views of wooded hills and wetlands, Bigelow Hollow is definitely worth a trip.