|Emerson - Thoreau Amble, Concord MA|
|Follow the trail from Emerson's house to Thoreau's cottage on Walden Pond.|
The Emerson - Thoreau Amble is a footpath, a recreation of the route Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott and other Concordians may have followed on walks between Concord MA and Walden Pond (map).
Inaugurated in June 2013, the 1.7-mile (2.74-km) walk from Emerson's house (which is across Cambridge Turnpike from the Concord Museum) to the site of Thoreau's cottage takes 40 to 60 minutes. The unpaved path is uneven in places, may be somewhat muddy after rain (though wood chips and boardwalks reduce this), and requires climbing some short but steepish hills. Sturdy footwear is recommended.
The path may be difficult for those with mobility challenges who may wish to follow paved Walden Street to Walden Pond instead.
You can start your walk on the footpath behind Emerson's house, or from Heywood Meadow by the Concord Independent Battery's building.
The path wanders down to the Mill Brook, which it crosses on a wooden footbridge, then continues to the edge of a large cultivated field. You must turn right and walk around the field (which is often muddy after rain) to an unpaved road that goes by the Concord Ice Company. At the end of this straightaway, the path turns left and enters the Hapgood Wright Town Forest, crossing wooden footbridges when necessary.
The Amble wanders through the forest, skirting the edge of Fairyland Pond and following the rill fed by Brister's Spring, the source of water used by Brister Freeman, who lived on the hill above in the mid-19th century.
Climb the hill past Brister's Spring and turn right to reach Walden Street and its intersection with MA Route 2. There is a pedestrian crossing, and a walk signal, to cross this busy four-lane highway.
On the south side of the highway, turn left and follow Walden Street (MA Route 126) for a few yards and look for a path into the forest. A few yards into the woods is a signboard and map.
A network of paths and rough tracks meander through the forest here. Favor left-hand and downhill paths to reach Walden Pond at Thoreau's Cove, and the site of Thoreau's house, marked by signs.
A replica of Thoreau's house stands by the Walden Pond parking lot and Visitor Center—worth the walk.
Other paths lead around Walden Pond both along the shore and on the glacial esker ridges above. One path goes up to Emerson's Ridge to a point known as The Lookout which may have presented rewarding long-distance views in Emerson's time, when the landscape was more heavily cultivated and the forests smaller, but now the forests have grown, obscuring the views.
—by Tom Brosnahan