Wanda Mooney

State Forests

Local State Forests Worth Visiting in Franklin County

Living in Franklin County, Massachusetts, we don't have to go far to find pristine waters, gorgeous landscapes, and remote places to relax in nature. In fact, we don't even have to leave the county! Check out these local state forests which offer hiking, canoeing, fishing, camping, and more! 

Kenneth Dubuque State Forest PlainfieldKenneth Dubuque Memorial State Forest

Located on West Hawley Road in Plainfield, Kenneth Dubuque Memorial State Forest (pictured right) offers 35 miles of mixed-use trails. Hiking, mountain-biking, and snowmobiling are all permitted activities in the state forest, as long as you remain on the marked trails. You can also relax and fish at Hallockville Pond, where you will find the remains of an old mill. Other remains of the past include cellar holes from abandoned village of South Hawley and a rare fieldstone "beehive" charcoal kiln. More information here.

Catamount State Forest

Catamount State Forest is a part of the former village of Colrain, Catamount. Catamount was the site of the first schoolhouse to fly the United States Flag in 1812. Now, much of Catamount is public land, although part of it is private property so beware of no trespassing signs. The former roads of Catamount are no mostly accessible by foot, mountain bike, or snowmobile. Trails lead up to a beautiful pond, not suitable for swimming, but great for canoeing to its islands. More info here.

Erving State Forest

Erving State Forest is a beautiful forest and campground located on Route 2 in Erving. The park supports a variety of outdoor recreational activities. You can hike, bike, or snowmobile along the 8-miles of forest roads and trails, go boating, swimming, or fishing at the pristine Laurel Lake, and camp at the easily accessed campgrounds. Camping is $17/night for Massachusetts residents and $27/night for non-residents. Parking fees (only applicable Memorial Day through Labor Day) are $8/day for Massachusetts residents and $15/day for non-residents. More info here.

Mohawk Trail State Forest

Also on Route 2/Mohawk Trail, but on the other side of Interstate 91, lies 6,000 acres of mountain ridges, gorges, and woods that compose the Mohawk Trail State Forest. Right along the Deerfield River, there are plenty of great swim spots and miles of river to canoe and kayak. Bring your own tent to camp or stay in one of their cabins. There are grills, a pavilion, and picnic areas on site. More information here.
 

Local State Forests Worth Visiting in Franklin County

Living in Franklin County, Massachusetts, we don't have to go far to find pristine waters, gorgeous landscapes, and remote places to relax in nature. In fact, we don't even have to leave the county! Check out these local state forests which offer hiking, canoeing, fishing, camping, and more! 

Kenneth Dubuque State Forest PlainfieldKenneth Dubuque Memorial State Forest

Located on West Hawley Road in Plainfield, Kenneth Dubuque Memorial State Forest (pictured right) offers 35 miles of mixed-use trails. Hiking, mountain-biking, and snowmobiling are all permitted activities in the state forest, as long as you remain on the marked trails. You can also relax and fish at Hallockville Pond, where you will find the remains of an old mill. Other remains of the past include cellar holes from abandoned village of South Hawley and a rare fieldstone "beehive" charcoal kiln. More information here.

Catamount State Forest

Catamount State Forest is a part of the former village of Colrain, Catamount. Catamount was the site of the first schoolhouse to fly the United States Flag in 1812. Now, much of Catamount is public land, although part of it is private property so beware of no trespassing signs. The former roads of Catamount are no mostly accessible by foot, mountain bike, or snowmobile. Trails lead up to a beautiful pond, not suitable for swimming, but great for canoeing to its islands. More info here.

Erving State Forest

Erving State Forest is a beautiful forest and campground located on Route 2 in Erving. The park supports a variety of outdoor recreational activities. You can hike, bike, or snowmobile along the 8-miles of forest roads and trails, go boating, swimming, or fishing at the pristine Laurel Lake, and camp at the easily accessed campgrounds. Camping is $17/night for Massachusetts residents and $27/night for non-residents. Parking fees (only applicable Memorial Day through Labor Day) are $8/day for Massachusetts residents and $15/day for non-residents. More info here.

Mohawk Trail State Forest

Also on Route 2/Mohawk Trail, but on the other side of Interstate 91, lies 6,000 acres of mountain ridges, gorges, and woods that compose the Mohawk Trail State Forest. Right along the Deerfield River, there are plenty of great swim spots and miles of river to canoe and kayak. Bring your own tent to camp or stay in one of their cabins. There are grills, a pavilion, and picnic areas on site. More information here.
 

View the Peak Foliage in Franklin County Massachusetts

Foliage Western Massachusetts Franklin CountyMany people’s favorite time of year in Massachusetts is autumn. The leaves turn and the trees become bursts of reds, oranges, and yellows. Now is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the fresh autumn air and epic views of the foliage. There are many ways to witness the natural beauty of fall in Franklin County - by car, bike, foot, or even canoe! Now is the time for peak foliage so be sure to get outside and take in the views!

The Franklin County Chamber of Commerce has a list of Nine Franklin County Foliage Destinations, which you can view at franklincc.org. All of these places are amazing at any time of year, but especially right now! Be sure to check out their article and browse the list of great places for foliage in Franklin County. If that’s not enough, here are some of my personal favorite spots around Franklin County in the fall:

 

Kenneth Dubuque Memorial State Forest, Hawley

Kenneth Dubuque Memorial State Forest is a rich forest with over 35 miles of mixed-use hiking trails. Park your car across from Hallockville Pond and walk or mountain bike through this 7,882 acre woodland. Along the way, you might see relics from the abandoned village of South Hawley, such as cellar holes, a rare fieldstone “beehive” charcoal kiln, and the remains of a mill at Hallockville Pond. Find more information on the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation website.

 

Foliage October Hikes State ForestsCatamount State Forest, Colrain

Catamount was once a village in Colrain, whose claim to fame was that its schoolhouse was the first to fly the American flag in 1812. The village was abandoned in the early 20th century and today it is a beautiful state forest with trails for mountain bikers and hikers. Fishers and canoers are also drawn to the forest for McLeod Pond. Unfortunately, there is not too much information on the web about Catamount State Forest. However, you can easily search for the directions to get there. Once there, it is easy to follow the old logging roads up to the pond. 

 

Mohawk Trail State Forest

Mohawk Trail State Forest is a very popular destination in the summer, with camping available right next to the Deerfield River. However, in the fall it becomes a wonderful place to enjoy the foliage around the river and to take in the sights and smells of the season. The Mohawk Trail State Forest covers 6,000 acres of mountain ridges, gorges, and woods. While camping is no longer available past Mid-October, it is still a great place for a day visit to hike around and enjoy the scenery. Find more information about Mohawk Trail State Forest here

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