The Freedom Trail

A BSA Historic Trail since 1972

The Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail is sponsored by the Boston Minuteman Council, in conjunction with the Boston Chamber of Commerce. It was officially opened as an authorized Historic Trail of the Boy Scouts of America on May 28, 1972.

Participation in the Freedom Trail is intended to help Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturers, as well as parents and unit leaders become more aware of the historic significance of Boston, Massachusetts and its role in American history.

The Freedom Trail is a five mile hike through two and a half centuries of America's past in downtown Boston. It begins at the Boston Commons Visitor's booth on Tremont Street near the Park Street MBTA station. Park Street can be reached using the MBTA Red and Green lines. The trail ends at the U.S.S. Constitution in Charlestown. This walking tour permits visitors to discover more than fifteen historical sites. The trail is marked by a red line painted on the sidewalk that will lead you from site to site.

Note: You are not required to pay admission at sites to earn the trail awards. Also, on-street parking is hard to find in downtown Boston and parking lot prices can be expensive. We suggest using the MBTA as an alternative to driving into Boston.

Requirements

Registered youth and adult members of the BSA can qualify for the Freedom Trail Awards.All hikers must wear as much of the official uniform as possible. Out of council units must have a BSA tour permit form 4426 or 4419A from their home council.BSA policy requires two (2) adult leaders on all trips and tours. The tour leader in charge must be at least 21 years old and accompany the group at all times.

Freedom Trail Sites

1. Boston Common: The oldest public park in the country; it was once used as a cow pasture for grazing herds and as a training area for the militia.

2. The State House: Designed by Charles Bulfinch, a famed Bostonian architect of the time, the building was completed in 1798. It is considered to be Bulfinch's finest work.

3. Park Street Church: Built in 1809, this was the site of William Lloyd Garrison's first anti-slavery address in 1829. Open July and August for historical tours.Open Tuesday-Saturday from 9:30am-3:30pm.

4. Old Granary Burial Grounds: This 1660 cemetery is the final resting place for a host of historical figures, including three signers of the Declaration of Independence, eight governors and five victims of the Boston Massacre. Open during daylight hours only.

5. King's Chapel: The first Episcopal church in Boston, it became the first Unitarian church in America after the Revolution. Open May-September, Monday-Saturday 10am-4pm; Open March-May and September-October on Monday, Friday, and Saturday from 10am-4pm. Open November-February on Saturday from 10am-4pm. * Donation suggested for groups

6. First Public School & Ben Franklin's Statue: Built in 1636, Boston Latin School was attended by Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Ben Franklin, Cotton Mather and other noted historical figures.

7. Former Site of the Old Corner Bookstore: Now a jewelry store, this building, one of the oldest in Boston, was where many famous books found publication, including The Scarlet Letter and Walden.  Located on the corner of School and Washington Streets.

8. Old South Meeting House: It was here that outraged colonists met on Dec. 16, 1773 for what became known as the Boston Tea Party. *admission fee required

9. Old State House: Built in 1713 as the first seat of the Colonial government. John Hancock, first governor of Massachusetts, was inaugurated here. Open November-April, Monday-Friday 10am-4pm, Saturday 9:30am-5pm and Sunday 11am-5pm. *admission fee required

10. Boston Massacre Site: The site is marked by a ring of cobblestones and shows where the first bloodshed of the revolution took place on March 5, 1770.

11. Faneuil Hall: Built in 1742 and presented to the town by Peter Faneuil, the hall has been a meeting place upstairs and a marketplace downstairs ever since. The fourth floor is now the home of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company Museum. Open daily 9am-5pm.

12. Paul Revere House: Located in Boston's North End is the Paul Revere House. The oldest house in Boston, this is where Paul Revere started his famous ride. Open November to April 9:30am-4:15pm. Open April to October 9:30am-5:15pm. (Closed Mondays). *admission fee required

13. Old North Church: Built in 1723 as a "House of prayer for all people", this is the city's oldest standing church. It was from the steeple of this church that Sexton RobertNewman hung two lanterns to warn of the British attack. Open daily 9 am-5 pm. Sunday services conducted 9 am, 11 am, 4 pm.

14. Copp’s Hill Burying Ground: Founded in 1659, Copp’s Hill is the second oldest cemetery in Boston and contains the remains of some of the most notable Bostonians of the colonial period. Open daily 9 am-5 pm.

15. USS Constitution: Nicknamed "Old Ironsides", the USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship in the world. Launched in 1797 from Boston Navy Yard, she sailed against the Barbary pirates and fought the British in the war of 1812. To this day Old Ironsides has never lost a battle. Open daily 9 am-5 pm.

16. Bunker Hill Monument: The monument was built to commemorate the first major battle of the American Revolution fought here on June 17, 1775. Open daily 9 am-4:30 pm.

Additional Freedom Trail Materials