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Spring has sprung, and the great outdoors beckon. You could pull on your calf-high muck boots and go splashing in the puddles or tackle a muddy trail. Or, better yet, head to one of these elevated pathways through some of New England’s pretty landscapes. These boardwalk hikes are relatively flat and easy to do, meaning you can slow down, listen to the birds sing, and take in the scents and sights of spring. Bonus: Boardwalks provide access to sensitive and scenic areas, without causing damage to the environment.

Ponemah Bog (Amherst, N.H.)

Stroll boardwalks and cross bridges over the remains of an ancient lake that has been shriveling and dwindling for more than 6,000 years. What’s left is a beautiful three-acre pond, covered with a floating moss mat, surrounded by wetlands and forests. The 75-acre wildlife sanctuary, located just minutes from neighborhood developments, includes a ¾-mile-long boardwalk with interpretive signs and observation platforms. Ponemah, an Ojibwe word, refers to the “land of the hereafter” from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “Song of Hiawatha.” With a little imagination, you might feel the ghosts of the past lurking in the shadows at this unique, mysterious haven. Or simply enjoy the fresh air and scenic beauty, listen to songbirds sing, and get a closer look at the enchanting bog plants that grow here. Open dawn to dusk. Free. Rhodora Drive, Amherst, N.H. www.nhaudubon.org/ponemah-bog

Parker River Wildlife Refuge (Newburyport)


The popular Hellcat Interpretive Trail at this 4,700-acre wildlife refuge has been recently renovated, and the series of steps that were once there eliminated. It’s now easier than ever to access this North Shore sanctuary located on Plum Island. The 1.3-mile boardwalk trail snakes through the natural barrier island, through wetlands, maritime forest, and sand dunes. From the observation deck, you’ll have sweeping views across the island, with the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and salt marshes and Plum Island Sound to the west. The refuge is considered one of the finest birding sites in the country. In spring, look for raptors and Purple Martins; waves of migratory birds, like flycatchers, thrushes, and warblers, arrive in mid- to late-May. Open dawn to dusk. $5 per vehicle. Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport. www.fws.gov/refuge/parker_river


Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary (Norfolk)

A turtle was spotted from the boardwalk this week at Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary.
A turtle was spotted from the boardwalk this week at Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary. Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Look for ducks, frogs, turtles, muskrats, otters, Great Blue Herons, and more at this peaceful Mass Audubon property, located about 30 miles from Boston. The 104-acre refuge, along with the adjacent 140-acre Bristol Blake State Reservation, sits on a former 18th-century mill site with walking trails leading through forests, fields, and wetlands. Boardwalks weave through the property, with benches and a viewing platform overlooking Teal Marsh and Kingfisher Pond. The universally accessible All Persons Trail travels through marshes, wetlands, and forest, with water views. Large print, audio, and Braille guides to the trail are available. Hiking with children? Play Bingo along the way! Download a Bingo card via the Mass Audubon site with seasonal or nature-specific themes. In spring, see if you can spot a flying bird or signs of a woodpecker. Kids also enjoy the sanctuary’s Nature Play Area, and butterfly and bird gardens. Open dawn to dusk. $4 adults, $3 seniors and children under 12. 108 North St., Norfolk. www.massaudubon.org/get-outdoors/wildlife-sanctuaries/stony-brook

Philbrick-Cricenti Bog (New London, N.H.)

Just over the border in New Hampshire is this unique habitat, known as a quaking kettle-pond bog. Here, some 18,000 years ago, a large chuck of melting glacier ice formed a pond. Over thousands of years, the pond has been covered with a squishy, floating carpet of moss. If you walked on it, it might bounce or quack. Two-plank boardwalk trails provide a safe way to traverse the bog, looping through the 36.2-acre property. You may feel the ground move as you cross through a forest of stunted trees and ferns, leading to the middle of the ancient pond. It’s especially vibrant in spring when the red cranberry moss, yellow marsh marigolds, magenta rhodora, and pink pale laurels are in bloom. Pick up a map at the entrance that corresponds to numbered signposts along the way, describing the plants and wildlife that live in this rare habitat. Open dawn to dusk. Free. Newport Road, New London, N.H. www.nl-nhcc.com/trails/philbrickcricentibogtrail(21).htm


Boston Nature Center & Wildlife Sanctuary (Mattapan)

This urban jewel, located on the former site of the Boston State Hospital, has 2 miles of trails and boardwalks crisscrossing its 67-acre parcel of fields, woods, and wetlands. The Fox Trail traverses a field of grasses and wildflowers, ending with a boardwalk leading into the wetlands. The Rabbit Trail also includes a boardwalk to a favorite birdwatching site. The 1-mile All Persons Trail includes 12 interpretive stops; large print, audio, and Braille guides are available. If you have children in tow, check out the Nature Nook, with a maze, giant xylophone, and seasonal water play area. The sanctuary also hosts a variety of programs and walks, including a chance to see the wild spring mating ritual of its resident timberdoodles. Open dawn to dusk. Free. 500 Walk Hill St., Mattapan. www.massaudubon.org/get-outdoors/wildlife-sanctuaries/boston-nature-center


Diane Bair and Pamela Wright can be reached at bairwright@gmail.com