Boston may be short on mountains, but it’s got boulders aplenty. The last ice age left hundreds of glacially deposited granite blocks throughout the eastern Massachusetts, gifting Beantown boulderers with limitless options in a variety of grades.
These zones also stand out for their history. New England was one of the first hotbeds of climbing in the U.S., and climbing began in the Boston area as early as the 1920s. Today, the area’s bullet-hard, textured granite remains a valuable training ground for up-and-coming climbers, and numerous short approaches, easy landings, and shaded hangouts make these zones beloved by locals and visitors alike.
Check out one of these five areas for a taste of Boston’s best bouldering.
Just north of the Tufts University campus, Middlesex Fells is a vast swath of greenspace right in the heart of the city. The quiet woods and ponds make it easy to forget the hubbub of urban life—and the nearly 200 boulder problems make it easy to lose track of time. Warm up at the Hemlock Pool area, which offers around two-dozen problems between V0 and V3. Then walk along the Red Cross Path to find more than enough moderates to fill the afternoon, or head to nearby Wright’s Park for a smattering of routes in the V3 to V5 range.
- No. 6 (V1)
- Pink Paint Problem (V2)
- Grains of Paradise (V3)
- Helios (V5)
Lynn Woods packs a whopping 1,200 boulder problems—mostly on coarse Peabody granite—into its 2,200 acres, making it one of Boston’s most concentrated bouldering zones. Located just a half-hour’s drive northeast of the city center (or closer to 90 minutes on the T), the reservation is a perfect distance for after-work sessions and easy weekend getaways. Approaches can involve up to a half-hour of walking, but areas like Fenway and Stone Tower are just a few minutes from the main parking area off Great Woods Road. (Maps are available online as well as for download with your favorite GPS mapping app.)
- Bear Grease (V1)
- Guillotine (V3)
- Stone Warrior (V5)
- K. the Swell (V7)