Prospect Hill Park Trails
Download the Prospect Hill Trails Open Space Guide.
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Prospect Hill Park is located on the west side of Waltham near Route 128 and is accessible by public transportation. It is a large, wooded park with dramatic topography containing two main summits.
The higher summit, Big Prospect, is the second highest point in the vicinity of Boston, at 485 feet. The lower summit, which measures 435 feet, is known as Little Prospect. Both summits provide some of the best views of the Boston basin.
Prospect Hill Park’s trails pass through woodlands that include a variety of flora and fauna. The park also contains several vernal pools that make it a lovely place to take long hikes.
Waltham’s Park Commission, formed in 1892, took on the task of acquiring land for Prospect Hill Park by requesting $20,000 a year later from the Board of Aldermen.
Early improvements included pedestrian paths, stone steps, camp sites, fences, and areas for picnics and other amenities to allow people to enjoy the park. The park was well maintained through the early years. However, after World War II, attention and care for the park began to decline. During this period additions were made to the park that detracted from its natural state. In 1952, the United States Air Force constructed a research building for “observation and radar experimental purposes.” When the Air Force stopped using the building in the late 1990s it was demolished and most of the site was restored to a natural state. However, at the request of the City of Waltham, the radar tower was left standing. Communications equipment for various City departments is now mounted on the tower as well as the Waltham Amateur Radio Association’s repeaters.
A fire tower was originally located on Big Prospect but it was dismantled and a new fire tower was assembled on Little Prospect in 1963. The Little Prospect fire tower was finally removed in 2012.
In 1974, the City of Waltham constructed two water tanks above the ski area. These tanks are prominently visible today.
As the largest and oldest public open space in the City, Prospect Hill Park has been a source of pride and a focal point of the community since its creation. In 1997, A Master Plan for the Restoration and Improvement of Prospect Hill Park was developed. Its ten phases are aimed at improving the park’s condition and encouraging appropriate use. As of 2013, the City of Waltham is in Phase III of this plan.
Owner: City of Waltham
Acreage: 252 acres
Terrain: Hilly, dense woodland with rocky outcroppings and Waltham’s highest hill
Trail rating and elevation gain: Moderate to steep. Elevation gain up to 485 feet.
Highlights: Little Prospect has a beautiful view of Boston at 435 feet above sea level. Great Prospect, at 485 feet, has a view to west and on a clear day one can see New Hampshire’s Mount Monandnock. • Dinosaur rock • Well-developed trail network • Views east and west • Picnic tables • Old stone walls • Old stone steps
Hazards: Steep cliffs
Special rules: Park closes at sunset. Closed to vehicles in winter. Off-road motorized vehicles, including snowmobiles and ATVs, are not allowed at any time.
Access & Parking:
- North Entrance: From the parking lot on Totten Pond Road, vehicles may drive into the park in season. Parking is allowed in designated parking areas found along the roadway.
- South Entrance: Parking on public streets close to the entrance (gates locked).
- From east – public streets.
Handicapped accessibility: Park roadways are all paved. Little Prospect Trail and numerous picnic shelters are handicapped accessible.
Bus #70 – Main Street & Everett Street stop. South Entrance.
Bus #556 – Tomlin St. & Summit Street stop, east side of the park
Contact: Waltham Recreation Department: (781)314-3475; Prospect Hill Park Advocacy Group: www.phpag.org
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The Waltham Land Trust (WLT) disclaims responsibility for damages or liability that may arise from the use of our maps. Maps and information are provided by WLT as a public service. All information is provided without warranty of any kind. Information is derived from many sources and due to reasons outside of our control, may or may not be correct, complete or current. It is the responsibility of the user to confirm the data, which may be totally wrong.
Neither the City of Waltham, DCR, GIS, WLT nor anyone else warrants the accuracy of the information, data or maps.
If you use a Garmin GPS, or use GPS on your iPhone, Android or other smart phone that is GPS capable, or want to learn more, read on. Thanks to Dave Perry, who is contributing his efforts to create KMZ files of WLT's trail maps, you can get the KMZ file of the Prospect Hill Park Trails for your GPS device or software.