Central MA

Central MA

Wendell State Forest, Millers Falls

392 Wendell Rd
Millers falls  Massachusetts  01349
United States

413 659 3797

Easy

20%

Moderate

50%

Difficult

30%

Description

Kona Mountain Bike Adventure Series Ride 8/9


Located south of the Millers River and Route 2, this vast state forest has long offered mountain biking opportunities to regional riders.  Wendell State Forest covers over 7,500 acres of rolling forested hills, streams, ponds, gravel roads and trails. Purchased by the Commonwealth in the 1920s the area was heavily burned during the early 1900s. Some of the park development and most of the road systems, are attributed to Civilian Conservation Corps activities in the 1930s.

The forest's roads, trails and visitors would remain pretty much unchanged from that time until 2004 when a new initiative to rejuvenate this gem of the Pioneer Valley came about. With the active encouragement and mentoring of Park Ranger and Trails Supervisor Bryant Stewart, NEMBA and a sampling of local snowshoeing, cross country skiing and hiking enthusiasts have created some of the best multi-use single track anywhere in New England.

There are several distinct loops that local riders usually take, when embarking on a two hour excursion of Wendell State Forest.  Today we'll take the moderate loop, which misses some of NEMBA's star trails, but is much friendlier to riders of all abilities.  That isn't to say this is an easy loop or that very many riders will clean it without a dab or a do-over!  We begin at Park Head Quarters and duck around the gate onto the Old XC Ski Trail. We follow this across the access to the Event Parking Area and rip over the bridge, through the mild rocky areas out to Carlton Rd.  At Carlton Rd, we head into the park along the road for about ¼ mile until we bang a right onto the M&M Trail. We follow a short section of this 100 mile through trail until it meets the Carlton Dirth trail where the M&M crosses Montague Rd.  Instead of crossing on the M&M, and riding the miles of cool stuff south of the road, we follow the Carlton Dirth Trail all the way to Dirth Rd.

We follow Dirth Rd. about ½ mile looking for a recovered hunters trail now known as Hammerhead's Hiatus.  We take a left onto this smooth winding single track through the principally hardwood forest.  Don't hammer this trail and enjoy the Hiatus, as you probably need to recover before the rocky adventure that waits at the next junction.  As the Hiatus ends back on Carlton Rd, we cross onto the Western Wicket Pond Trail.  This trail was built by the SCA Americorps volunteers about 10 years ago.  We follow it until just before it drops down to the pond's edge and instead attack the rocky, techy climb up the Wicket Pond Escape and out to Brook Road.

We take a right onto Brook Rd. and cruise along the road down to Wicket Pond Rd. where we bear left and then a quick right onto the Maple Leaf Trail.  We skirt the swamp and wind past the old cellar hole before dipping down the flowing and fun Nipmuck Trail.  This masterpiece of Wendell drops down to the bottom of Baker Rd. winding through beech forests until it gets to the evergreen lowlands.  Along the way enjoy the rock jumps, berms and flowing pitch changes.  Mostly downhill, the trail builders still managed to keep your heart rates up by incorporating grade reversals and other surprises scattered throughout this 1 1/2 mile delight.  For every moment of biking, there is a payback.  In the case of the Nipmuck, the pain follows in the form of a mile-long fire road climb up Baker Rd.

From the top of Baker Rd, your 2 hour moderate ride will conclude with a left turn onto the Bob-is-Fat trail and with a right at the junction, a scamper through the rocky section of the Maple Leaf trail as it returns you to the intersection of Damon Camp Rd. and Wickett Pond Rd.  Follow Wicket Pond Rd. to your right back to park headquarters.

If, however you want to test your biking metal, and are up for some examples of prime, rigorous New England singletrack, just before you reach the summit of Baker Rd, you will see a rocky single track heading off to your right.  This 2 year old Mormon Hollow Return trail will take you on an adventure second to none.  With your skills sharpened for this rocky, rooty, twisting excursion set yourself up for a couple miles of generally downhill torture.  But wait, the fun is just beginning, at the bottom of the Mormon Hollow Return, we jump onto another of the stars of the Forest, Hannah Swarton's Remove.  This trail, ridden in this direction, is guaranteed to remove any extra energy reserves you have.  Heading back to the center of the park on this trail provides rocky climbs, a few grade reversing descents and nearly as much rocky fun as the Mormon Hollow.  Winding for nearly 3 miles you eventually find yourself back at the top of Baker Rd.  Had enough yet?  If so follow the conclusion to the intermediate's ride above.

Want some more fun?  Got another hour?  Wait till you see this next piece, take a right for another 100 yards on Baker Rd. down to the junction of Damon Camp Rd. and ride to your right to the Moose Trax Trail which is on your left after about ¼ mile.  Follow this down to the brook crossing and then up through a nice laurel stand to the junction of the Lookout trail.  Take a right on the Lookout Trail (don't miss the lookout while you are here) and follow it to where it merges with the M&M.  Take the M&M all the way to the bottom of Damon Camp Rd., enjoying the smooth descents and twisting surprises.  Be aware though, the M&M may have more hikers and backpackers than most of the trails you have been on, especially along this section.  Always yield the right of way to hikers.  At the bottom of Damon Camp Rd., take a left onto Davis Rd.

Follow Davis Rd. until you see a freshly opened single track off to your right.  Follow this unnamed trail up to another lookout and then along a long rock spine as it winds up and down through the Mt. Grace Conservation Land which abuts the State Forest and again meets up with another section of the M&M.  A right turn back onto the M&M brings you up yet another rocky, sometimes steep, climb to the Ruggles Pond parking area where you will most likely be ready to call it a day.

Have fun and keep exploring the park - we didn't cross Montague Rd to the Robert Frost Trail and other stellar single and double track gems, or venture out to the Bear Mountain area where the fire roads are burly, and the emergence of new single track is imminent. There's plenty more out there for another day.

Directions:

Less than 90 minutes from Hartford and Boston, Take Rte. 2 to Rte. 63 south to the center of Millers Falls.  Go straight onto Wendell Rd. over the iron R.R. bridge and follow the signs up to park headquarters at the top of the hill, about 3 miles.

Before Memorial Day you can park right at the Park Headquarters on Montague (Wendell) rd., but during the summer, you'll have to enter and park at Ruggles Pond. (The state now sells a $35 season parking pass good at all State Parks and Forests or $5 day passes.)

Cautions:

Watch out for hunters during hunting season. (There's no hunting in Massachusetts on Sundays.)  Expect to find lots of kids and dogs running around near Ruggles Pond on summer afternoons.
Watch out for hikers especially on the Trail to the Lookouts, the M&M and the Robert Frost.
Some of the rocky spines can be slippery when wet.

Carry plenty of water, be self sufficient with regards to repairs and bring a buddy.  Rides can take you many miles into the forest which is not regularly patrolled.

Submitted by Liam O'Brien & Harold Green
and Updated from a SIngleTracks Magazine article. Read more about [node:title]

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Wachusett NEMBA Sunday Ride at Leominster SF

Event Date

Repeats every week every Sunday until Sun Dec 01 2019 .
6/9/19 9:00am

Wachuset NEMBA LSF Sunday Ride

Note: This ride is on hold until the Pandemic restrictions change.  Contact the ride's leader for more information.

Leominster State Forest hosts one of the most varied and interesting trail systems in the State.  Join us for a fun though a bit challenging no-drop ride. 

Please contact me for directions, starting times and to let me know that you're coming.

Oh! And why nor save time by signing NEMBA's once-a-year Ride Waiver ahead of time if you haven't already done so.

We meet at 71 Rocky Pond Road in Princeton.  

Please try to get there before 9:00 AM so that we can get ther ride off on time. Read more about [node:title]

Location

Leominster State Forest

Chapter

State

Massachusetts

Ride Level

Intermediate

Ride Types

Ride Style

XC

Ride Leader Name

Jim Wrightson
978-852-4800

Central MA

Robinson State Park, Feeding Hills

462 North St
Feeding Hills  Massachusetts  01030
United States

413 786-2877

Easy

40%

Moderate

40%

Difficult

30%

Description

Robinson State Park is the one of the most enjoyable places to ride in south central Massachusetts. Robinson's 800+ acres offer a diversity of trails ranging from smooth fast flowing singletracks to slightly technical trails. What you'll remember most though are the miles of smooth fast trails. Robinson's location is responsible for this. It's located beside the Westfield River and much of the park consists of a series of drumlins. These drumlins were dropped there by the last glacier and the soil that makes them up contains few stones. Hence, the smooth fast trails.

Check out the MAP to get a feel for Robinson's unique topography. After you've explored Robinson you'll notice that some trails aren't on the map. But you won't get lost. A GPS tracing from a recent Blue Grove Charity Ride gives one a better feel for the park's tral network.

As you ride you'll also notice that a lot of very professional trailwork has been done. Volunteers from Pioneer Valley NEMBA and the Friends of Robinson State Park working with the Park's staff are responsible for this. Expect to discover over 20 miles of trails at Robinson.

Some of Robinson's trails are located high above the Westfield River where you'll see kayaks and canoes in warmer weather. Bring your camera. You'll be able to take pictures here that will convince anyone that they were in the backwoods of Maine or Vermont. Not just a few miles from the center of Springfield.

Directions:
From exit 4 on the Massachusetts Turnpike head south on Route 91. Take route 57 heading west to Route 187 heading north. Turn right on North Street and follow the signs to the Park's entrance.

 

Note:

Despite the caution on the DCR webpage the Robinson'r trails are in great shape.

By Bill Boles Read more about [node:title]

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Central MA

Montague Plains

1 Reservoir Dr
Montague  Massachusetts  01376
United States

Easy

60%

Moderate

30%

Difficult

10%

Description

In the mood for a fast spin on some twisty ATV trails with a little single track thrown in, check out the Montague Plains Wildlife Management Area. This area is a favorite place for family rides, since there are few steeps and virtually nothing of a technical nature. What you will find are some water hazards - highland swamps and seasonally some very deep loose sand. The only prominent elevation features are 'Red Rock' and 'Willis Hill'. Willis Hill's trails are badly eroded and therefore seldom climbable, but can be a fun, not too technical downhill. To get to the top, take the Water Tank Trail or the Kaibukus Trail. 'Red Rock' is good in either direction as a climb or downhill for most riders above the beginner level.
   
Directions:
Parking is either along the common in Montague Center, or along Industrial Boulevard on the North East side. If you park in Montague Center take the road by the cemetery to the Telephone Trail, and if from the Industrial Park, enter the area via the access road to the Water Tank.
Cautions
Watch out for hunters during hunting season. (There's no hunting in Massachusetts on Sundays.)

By Harold Green Read more about [node:title]

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Central MA

Leominster State Forest, Princeton

71 Rocky Pond Rd
Princeton  Massachusetts  01541
United States

978-874-2303

Easy

30%

Moderate

40%

Difficult

30%

Description

Leominster State Forest, located in the Nashua River watershed of the Worcester-Monadnock Plateau Ecoregion, is one of the best riding areas in the Wachusett area. The forest's 4300 acres offer an amazing variety of trails and old dirt roads to explore. The original land was bought by the Commonwealth as part of the State's Forest System in 1922. Other land acquisitions expanded the forest from 1922-1936, from 1951-1973, and in 1989, 1999, 2001 and 2002. If one were to hike around the perimeter of the forest one would travel 32.9 miles. Over the years Leominster State Forest became a pretty big place. The Civilian Conseervation Corps were active in the forest from 1933-1937. They built many of the forest's roads, waterholes and buildings.

From hilly rugged singletracks, to flowing smooth trails, to difficult technical singletracks, to summer swimming at Crow Hill Pond, Leominster has everything that a mountain biker could desire.

A ride here will acquaint you not only with a variety of riding conditions but will serve to showcase a lot of Wachusett NEMBA's trailwork, including bridges and trail stabilization projects.

In the spring thousands of Rhododendron blooms color the forests trails. So many rhododendrons that along some trails it's almost hard to see anything else.

Stray off Leominster's many well maintained fire roads and you'll discover an intricate web of singletracks. These climb and descend a few low hills as they wind their way through the forest. Some are quite difficult, but most can be ridden by a rider with average skills.

I particularly favor the trails south of Rocky Pond Road, especially the ones to the west of Paradise Pond. There are a few hiking only trails near the forest's main parking area. But most of the trails and all of the old roads in the forest are open to bikes.

In the summer I park in the main parking area and use Crow Hill Pond beach to cool off after my rides. For the rest of the year I park in the dirt parking lot about a half mile south of that on Rocky Pond Road. The Wolf Rock Trail links both of these parking areas together.

Every time I ride at Leominster I kick myself for not getting back here more often. Give Leominster a try and you'll see why. There are weekly rides put on by Wachusett NEMBA members. Check NEMBA's Weekly Ride List to get more information.
          
Directions:
From Route 2 take exit 28 and head south. After a couple of miles you'll see the forest's headquarters on your right, and shortly thereafter the main parking area near Crow Hill Pond on your left. This is a good place to park if you're bringing family members who might like to picnic or swim while you ride. However, many people prefer the dirt parking lot about a half mile south of that at the intersection of Rocky Pond Road.

Cautions:
If you park in the main parking area expect to see a lot of people on the trail leading towards Rocky Pond Road. Bring a map with you when you ride as it's easy to get confused and while the DCR map doesn't have every trail in the forest, it will get you back to your starting area. Expect to see hunters during hunting season. (There's no hunting in Massachusetts on Sundays.)

By Bill Boles Read more about [node:title]

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Central MA

Kenneth Dubuque State Forest, Hawley

400 W Hawley Rd
Hawley  Massachusetts  01339
United States

Easy

25%

Moderate

55%

Difficult

20%

Description

Breaking News: NEMBA & DCR PARTNER TO OPEN 15-MILE SINGLETRACK TRAIL NETWORK AT DUBUQUE STATE FOREST

 

Charlemont-Hawley get a $14000 Trail Grant

 

The Kenneth Dubuque Memorial State Forest, (formerly called the Hawley State Forest), is located 25 miles west of the Connecticut river among the northwestern slopes of Massachusetts' Berkshires. At 7,822 acres it is the state's seventh largest state forest. Many of the forest's roads, though unpaved, are maintained for vehicular traffic. There are plenty of hills, a few long singletracks and lots of doubletracks. Dubuque doesn't have a campground and its two small lakes are used mostly for fishing. Although, I have enjoyed swimming in Hallockville Pond. Dubuque is a mountain biker's paradise nicely juxtaposing moderately hard rolling woods roads and technically difficult singletrack trails.

The best place to start riding is forest headquarters. From there head uphill on Klingholt Road and try not to get lost on the hilly paths that keep branching off this old woods road. Clean your glasses because the scenery besides this particular road will forever after define the term "deep woods" in you're mind. After passing through a metal forest gate, check out the abandoned apple orchard right in front of you. In season there are great tasting apples here for snacking. Also, as you'll observe, this area is a very popular deer yard. I suggest bearing left up through the field and then going right onto a usually muddy old jeep road. There are any number of good riding options off that road, including a few singletracks that you won't want to miss.

If you plan things right, or get very lucky, you'll cross Route 8A, on a very steep downhill. This will be at Dubuque's snowmobile parking lot about 1 1/2 miles north of your start. (Or you may come out on Route 8A 1/2 mile north of there in West Hawley Center.)

Watch out for the bridge at the far end of the parking lot. It's usable, but the last time I was there it was missing a few planks. And get ready for a long hill. Now you're in the eastern part of the forest where you'll find the majority of the riding. A simple non-repetitive tour around Dubuque's most obvious woods roads will net you a 20-25 mile ride. But that's only for starters.

I feel that many of the best trails are in the eastern part of the forest north and south of Hallockville road. And because they see little use in the summer, save for mountain bikes, they are quite secluded and private. In particular you want to head North (downhill) on three trails, Gould Meadow Trail, the steep frightening Marsh Trail singletrack and The Moody Springs Trail, which some feel is the best example of a downhill in the Berkshires.

Dubuque has frequent, repetitive, elevation changes of between 200 - 400 feet. These provide an unexpected benefit, interval training compliments of Mother Nature.

Dubuque is a good example of the Second Law of Singletrack Placement which roughly correlates the frequency of singletracks, and their use, or lack of same, with nearby population pressure. Not only does Dubuque lack a nearby population center but it's located just west of the 10,500 acre Savoy State Forest and just south of the 6,547 acre Mohawk Trail State Forest. You would need a motorized vehicle, a mountain bike, hiking boots and a week's time to adequately explore all three of these areas. A fringe benefit of this isolation is solitude. You will rarely meet any other trail users in Dubuque. Therefore smart riders should be totally self reliant, or part of a group.

As Dubuque is surrounded by mostly unpaved woodlands, a town road map, or a geological survey map is essential for keeping yourself unlost. The DEM's latest Dubuque Forest map shows few of the surrounding roadways, but fails to show many of the forest's paths and trails. And some of the trails on the map, don't exist on the ground any more. This is very confusing, especially when you arrive at a 4-way intersection that's not even on the map. Also many of Dubuque's roads and trails extend quite a ways beyond the forests boundaries. So it's easy to ride out of the forest and off the map. I went on one such ride recently, starting at Hallockville Pond, we rode to the forest fire lookout tower in nearby Savoy State Forest and back. About a 21 mile round trip.

In the fall of 1996 NEMBA hosted the Northeast Mountain Bike Advocacy Summit at Dubuque. Spending a four day weekend riding in the forest has greatly improved my impression of the place. As well as familiarizing me with a whole bunch of previously unknown trails. In recent years Pioneer Valley NEMBA members, working with The Staff of the forest, have created some excellent new singletracks. Most of these are located to the north of Hallockville Road in the central part of the forest. Unfortunately the trails are not yet on the map.

You'll enjoy exploring Dubuque.There are plenty of opportunities for easy, as well as, challenging rides. Just don't forget to bring a map.

There are three maps at the top of this page. When the final version of the new DCR map is available it will replace the DCR map.

 

Directions:
The Kenneth Dubuque State Forest is located mostly in the town of Hawley, Massachusetts. From Route 2 go about 5 miles south on Route 8a until you reach forest headquarters. Alternatively, forest headquarters is about 1/2 mile north of the junctions or Routes 116 and 8A on 8A.   

Rules:
There will be a lot of hunters in the forest during hunting season. Wear orange. However, there is no hunting in Massachusetts on Sunday. Don't expect the trails in this forest to dry out until late may at the earliest. Snow can fall, and stay any time after Halloween.

By Bill Boles Read more about [node:title]

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Central MA

Hodges Village Dam, Oxford

40 Howarth Rd
Oxford  Massachusetts  01540
United States

(508) 248-5697

Easy

50%

Moderate

30%

Difficult

20%

Description

 Hodges Village Dam, located less than a mile west of the Sutton Avenue exit (4W) of Route 395, on Howarth Road off Charlton Street, Oxford, MA, has some of the most diverse and interesting trails in central MA. There is no permanent lake behind the dam which was built by the Army Corps of Engineers for flood control. It is filled only temporarily with runoff from rainwater which would otherwise cause flooding problems downstream. The lands upstream of the dam are open to the public providing hundreds of acres of forest, shrub meadows, glacial topography and wetlands, all interlaced with outstanding trails.

Few of the trails are blazed and signed but they are well-used and easy to follow. Exploring the network of trails could take you days as they wind around the tops of glacial terraces, foundations of long-abandoned buildings and travel an old railroad bed and woods roads. The Corps permits properly registered motorized trail bikes and e-mountain bikes on the west side of the French river only. But the moto trails can be dug up a bit and in places sandy or muddy. 

Mountain bikes are welcome on either side of the river. The hardpacked trails are well used and relatively easy to negotiate. The overused sections - you'll find a few - are rock strewn and exposed roots can make even slow oing a challenge %3A(I have the bruises to prove it.) Mountain bikers don't crash, they "bonk".

The entire area can be traversed on woods roads or the west side's old railroad bed in less than an hour, but the meandering trails are far more scenic and challenging. The walk back to our car with a flat or broken bike may take a few hours, provided you know which direction you came from. A helmet, patch kit, pump and water are always good ideas.

The Mid-State Hiking trail runs across the area from west to east, crossing he French River at the dam. It was laid out for foot traffic and maintained by volunteers who would prefer to see it stay that way. There are only a few narrow singletrack sections which leave the relatively wide woods roads, and I recommend avoiding these while biking. The trail is well marked with yellow triangles and signs, so it is easy to avoid.

Parking is available at Hodges Village Dam, at Greenbrier Recreation Area on Route 12 (run by the town of Oxford) and at the motorcycle trailhead on the old railroad bed off Clara Barton Road at the north end of the area. Maps are available free from the Corps By calling the Park Manager, Timothy Russell, at (508)248-5697.

**Reprinted through the courtesy of the Quinebaug Redwing.

--Bob Hancock

   Additiona Thoughts:  This is a fun place to ride. Blackstone Valley NEMBA has done a lot of trai, work here and occasionally holds an event. The singletracks are numerous and quite enjoyable. There are too many trails to ride in one day. You WILL be back.

  Read more about [node:title]

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Central MA

Greenfield, Ma - Green River, VT

32 Eunice Williams Dr
Greenfield  Massachusetts  01301
United States

Easy

90%

Moderate

10%

Difficult

0%

Description

Location:
Greenfield Massachusetts to Green River Vermont


Difficulty:
Easy:90%   Note: This ride requires considerable endurance


Description:
Greenfield, MA to Green River, VT
Dirt Road Ride
   
Summary: The ride is predominantly dirt roads from just south of West Leyden on the Green River up to the hamlet of Green River, VT and back again. A number of alternate routes may be taken to either lengthen or shorten the trip, or to include more or less climbing. The route marked out on the map is about 30+ miles with 3,500 feet of climbing. In the past year a few miles of the route have been paved, but 90% is still dirt. The river and Sweet Water Pond offer many opportunities to soak legs or cool off.


Ride: Head north along the Green River, at Stewartville bear left up the hill on New County Road. This is a very long climb with few respites, but beautiful views (great places to stop for lunch all along this route). At Grove either continue on straight and down the hill to Green River (a very fast downhill, rigid bikes beware of stutter bumps) or turn west on the Jacksonville Stage Rd toward Halifax. In Halifax go straight toward West Halifax or turn North toward Deer Park and follow the road back to Green River. If you go to West Halifax turn right in the village on Brook Road and head north. At Green River Road turn right and ride back toward Green River. Some of this is now paved.


In Green River riders have the choice of either continuing south along the river (the easiest and coolest route), or to head east up Stage Road. This is another long climb with some pavement continue East until intersecting with Sweet Pond Rd then head south and follow toward Sweet Pond Rd (more hill) toward Sweet Pond State Park. If you go all the way to the pond, you will have to turn back to N Belden Hill Rd. towards Packers Corner. At the top of this hill there is a house with a shed on the right which has good well water. Ask if, if anyone is home, but in a pinch just fill up. Keep heading south past Packer's corner (Old County Road). The road along here is very poorly maintained. You may have to walk if it is wet. At the end of the road you will come to a T. Go west toward W. Leyden and the Green River Road and directly back to the parking area, or go east and follow the paved road down to The Greenfield Road. Continue South until you come to Eunice Williams Dr. and head North then East, pass through the covered bridge (stop for a swim at the swimming hole) then up the hill to the parking area. It should take between 4 - 5 hours depending on breaks. Bring lots of water!


Directions:

From the South , I-91 N to intersection with Route 2 in Greenfield, MA, go west under I-91 and take your 1st right at the traffic light on Colrain road. Follow Colrain Rd until you reach a Y in the road. Bear right on Plain Road and continue north. Plain road will intersect with and become Green River Rd. Continue straight north on South Green River Road until reaching Eunice Williams Drive. EWD is a blocked road leading down to a covered bridge (OK for bikes and pedestrians, but not for cars.). Park at the junction of EWD and S. Green River Road at the small dirt parking area.

Cautions:

This is a very long ride. Expect to spend the better part of a day completing it.

By Don Myers Read more about [node:title]

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Central MA

Erving State Forest

94 Laurel Lake Rd
Warwick  Massachusetts  01378
United States

978 544-3939

Easy

50%

Moderate

45%

Difficult

5%

Description

Erving State Forest is located in midwestern Massachusetts in the towns of Erving and Warwick. It's an excellent base for a weekend in the Berkshires, especially during foliage season.

Erving's 4,479 acres support miles of old town and logging roads some of which have degraded to technical singletracks and pleasant woodland doubletracks. In the Summer, a swim in Laurel Lake offers a wonderful break from a hot ride, and its parking lot is a perfect place to ride from. Much of the `trail' activity in the forest is done on snow, and these same well maintained snowmobile trails are great for trail bicycling in milder seasons.

In the Fall leaf lookers will appreciate the foliage, as well as the availability of campsites. Erving is right next door to Massachusett's Northern Berkshires which offer unparralled horizons of multicolored splendor, not only while you ride, but on nearly all of the paved roads from Erving West to New York State.

I have never seen so many varieties of trees in one area as are present in the Erving State Forest. A local naturalist tells me that's because Erving is right on the dividing line between Northern and Southern New England forests cultures. In any case the diversity of woodland flora is pretty impressive. And to my un-educated eyes a lot of the trees appear to be `old growth' in nature.

Riding up through the campground from the Laurel Lake parking lot and then taking one of the two old woods roads leading South provide one with the best of terrain and the least uphill pushing. My favorite trails include Cut Off, Mountain and Pinacle Roads. Returning to the parking lot on the Paved Quarry Road or High Street will save you a lot of uphill sweat. I prefer riding down hard singletracks to pushing up them. Another easy route to the `top' of the forest is on Moss Brook Road. A wondefully secluded, smoothly graded, gentile uphill woodland climb. Take the trail out of the snowmobile parking lot and you'll have a very tdifficult climb, but it is do-able. I particularly enjoy riding "The Chute" in the western part of the forest as a downhill. And linking it with the "Bear Loop" will give you a pretty good look at some pretty remote woodlands. Most of Erving's trails are actually old roads, and for the most part it's a pretty mellow place to ride. Good for families, especially in the summer when Laurel Lake beacons.

North of Laurel Lake Erving borders Warwick and Northfield State Forests. Following the marked snowmobile trails through these three state forests will give you 30-40 miles of riding on wonderful old New England forest roads. These woods roads range in difficulty from graded dirt roads to almost vanishing double and singletrack paths. You could spend more than a few days just riding from the campground at the Erving State Forest without getting bored. Or, you could head 5 miles South and ride in nearby Wendell State Forest.

Riding in Western Massachusetts is fun. There are many large state forests, few people, lots of open spaces and great heaping gobs of unspoiled Mother Nature. But, directionality is important. It makes a lot sense to go uphill on something that's relatively smooth and downhill on something that's relatively technical. The opposite is more work and much less fun. So, in addition to carrying a DCR map, I recommend that you carry a geological survey map. The survey map will clue you in to the relative difficulty of what you'll be riding and also give you advance notice of elevation changes. If you have one of the newer DEM forest maps, you will see contour lines. However the detail on the newer maps leaves much to be desired as many trails and paths are missing.

DCR maps are available on-line. On the map below I've sketched in suggestions for some great riding. 

 

As always, maps are only a guide. Exploring is what follows and that's what's the most fun. Read more about [node:title]

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