Walden Pond

Just out of view of the city nearby lies an ecological haven, the beauty of which once inspired one of the nation’s great thinkers.

Swap the sidewalks and shop floors of the city center for fine white beaches and woodland walks at Walden Pond. Look across the glistening water for kingfishers, deer and other wildlife, and discover the story behind the landmark’s famous literary history.

Happening upon the lake, which is obscured by a large forest, is a magical experience. This large waterway dates back to the last ice age, when it was formed by a huge glacier melting. At its deepest point, the pond reaches depths of more than 98 feet (30 meters).

Pick your spot on the narrow sandy beach and bask in the sun or take a refreshing swim. A great way to explore the lake is on a canoe, paddleboard or small boat, though you will have to bring your own equipment as there are no rental outlets at the pond. The fishing in Walden Pond is superb. Cast your hook for pickerel and sunfish as well as perch and smallmouth bass.

Wake yourself from lounging, set down your line or book and embark on a gentle hike through your leafy surroundings. The Pond Path forms a rugged circuit along the shore and is decorated with clusters of vivid berry bushes, pine, oak and hickory trees. Look for gray squirrels and chipmunks scampering past and spot kingfishers perched on the tips of overhanging branches.

Refresh your love of American literature with a visit to the information center where you will find stories about the area’s most famous resident, Henry David Thoreau. He wrote his book Walden while staying in a one-room home next to the pond between 1845 and 1847. Visit a replica of this small dwelling to see the minimalist lifestyle that helped inspire the American conservationist movement.

Walden Pond is located just a 5-minute drive south of Concord. Drive and use the parking lot or get a ride and be dropped off. The area has a small shop, but no other facilities, so arrive early and come prepared if you plan to spend the full day here.