Hiking – Scarboro Hill

Perhaps the most peaceful place in Franklin Park, Scarboro Pond is home to a large collection of water and migrating birds and is a favorite spot for walking or relaxing.

Olmsted changed his original park designs after the public demanded a waterway in the park. It took two years to excavate the pond, but plans to connect it to Ward’s Pond in Brookline failed and it remains isolated and stagnant, though quite beautiful. Water for the pond comes from underground pipes leading from Jamaica Pond, a natural body of water.

In addition to the large flocks of Canada geese, the pond is home to mallard ducks, cormorants, and great blue heron. Many migrating birds make their way here each spring; red wing blackbirds and other songbirds are common. You can often find a Baltimore oriole’s nest hanging from a tree. An adjacent grove of white pines houses great horned owls. You can find their pellets at the base of the trees.

Next to the pond is a sloping hillside of huge, century old beech trees. Two beautiful old stone bridges cross over the pond in different locations. Scattered park benches allow one to relax and enjoy the landscape.

Scarboro Hill, along the west side of the pond, was originally intended by Olmsted to house a dairy with sheep and cattle. The path on the way up the hill has a large stump cut into the shape of an armchair. A classic Olmsted set of stone stairs leads to a plateau at the top where one can look out over the expanse of the Golf Course. Around the open area are plaques with information about the park and its history.