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With hiking, workout stations and disc golf, Newton Hill great for fitness, relaxation

As the weather warms up, plenty of people are looking to spend more time outside again, while others are more interested in building up muscle in time for tank top season.


If you like the hiking trail and the gym equally, Newton Hill should be on your list, because it is both of those things and more.


Cover to cover


We covered the eastern half of Elm Park as part of the Winter Walks series in early 2023, but this week’s edition is the first time Worcester Walks has explored the half that lies west of Park Avenue.


The unique thing about Newton Hill is that it has something for everyone — a grassy, open area at the summit to hang out and watch the clouds, trails that crisscross the whole hill to get a hike in, 12 outdoor fitness stations for the gym rats, and an 18-hole disc golf course for anyone who wants to test their aim with a Frisbee.


We tried out a few of the workout stations, including the 12-inch bar, the 88-inch bar, and the incline bench. The signs next to each station recommend that visitors looking to get in a full-body workout “do an exercise for one minute at your maximum intensity, then move on” along the trail to the next station.


Strategies and strengths


Each station has a few recommended exercises listed on the sign, along with photos illustrating how to do them. They vary from easy to difficult, and some of them include resistance bands, so if you have them, bring them, but if you don’t, you still have plenty of options.


When we visited, we stuck to bodyweight exercises that didn’t require any other equipment, like hanging knee raises on the high bar and toe taps on the low bar.


Disc golf is another of Newton Hill’s main attractions, and at a time of day where schools and traditional jobs had already let out, many of the people walking the trails were making their way through the course. At one point, while Worcester Magazine’s reporter was doing push-ups at an exercise station, a group of disc golf players passed by, planning their strategies for the next hole.


Even if the disc golf and workouts don’t interest you, walking beneath the trees and exploring one of Worcester’s famed seven hills is a nice way to spend an hour or two on a warm day. You can hike all the way to the top, where a flagpole marks the summit and a circle of benches provide places to sit, or if you’re not in a climbing mood, one of the main trails forms a circle around the hill. There are also smaller, unmarked trails along the way.


Getting there


The East-West Trail, a 14-mile hike that connects Worcester's western and eastern borders, also runs through Newton Hill.


Newton Hill sits between Park Avenue, Highland Street and Pleasant Street, and there are small entrances along each street, with parking behind Doherty Memorial High School on Highland Street.


If you’re coming from the other side of Elm Park, you can enter near the Rogers Kennedy Memorial at the intersection of Park Avenue and Highland Street. If you’re coming from Newton Square, you’ll find a trailhead just beyond the basketball and tennis courts.

To learn more about Newton Hill at Elm Park, visit parkspirit.org.

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