The writer, transcendentalist, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau lived on the shores of the pond for two years starting in the summer of 1845. His account of the experience was recorded in Walden; or, Life in the Woods, and made the spot famous. Concord Museum contains the bed, chair, and desk from Thoreau's cabin.
Boston's "Ice King", Frederic Tudor, harvested ice yearly on Walden Pond for export to the Caribbean, Europe, and India. In his journal, Thoreau philosophized upon the wintry sight of Tudor's ice harvesters: "The sweltering inhabitants of Charleston and New Orleans, of Madras and Bombay and Calcutta, drink at my well ... The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges."
Now managed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Walden Pond State Reservation is a popular swimming destination in the summer. In the spring and fall, many people hike the trails that ring the pond and visit the site of Thoreau's one-room cabin. In the summer, especially on hot sunny weekends, admission to the park is often shut down for hours at a time to prevent the habitat from being overstressed. Tourists to the Concord area should plan their visits accordingly, scheduling stops at Walden either for early in the morning or for late in the evening.
At one point there was an amusement park built on the far end of the pond but it burnt down and was never rebuilt.