This 880+ acre woodland is located in the western and southern parts of Franklin, MA, roughly paralleling Grove Street . There are many trails and dirt roads that wind and loop through the Franklin State Forest. It’s a good place to walk and explore nature – great for kids with a parent or guardian. (Bug repellent and sturdy shoes are a good idea when going deep into the Forest.)
Download trail map
You can use the hotlink in the above image to access a .pdf trail map of the Franklin State Forest.
Allowed uses in the Franklin State Forest include walking, trail-biking, horse riding, and winter snow-shoeing and cross country skiing. There is a special designed trail for off-highway motorcycles (allowed only May – November). Some trails are reserved solely for walkers while other trails are designated for non-motorized multi-use. So trail bikers will find a lot of challenging runs on those paths.
There is a special designed trail for off-highway motorcycles (allowed only May – November). The north section of the forest is crossed by a large power line right of way which many bikers use to get further into the forest.
A seven mile dirt bike trail in the Franklin State Forest was upgraded back in 2008 using a grant from the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Hikers only trails
The hikers only portion of the Franklin State Forest is in the north portion of the forest between Grove Street in Franklin, MA and the power line right of way.
This offers very pleasant walks, past old stone walls and the occasional deer and fox. Trails are clearly marked and well maintained. There are some uphill stretches, but nothing too taxing. So young families and the occasional walker can use this area with confidence.
Parking is limited
Access to the Franklin State Forest in Franklin, MA could be better delineated and parking areas improved.
The best car parking is near the water tower at 80 Forge Hill Road. This parking area is fairly small, but is much better than the other areas discussed below.
There is a small informal car parking area on the shoulder of Grove Street at the welcome sign for the Forest (near Grove Street’s intersection with Beaver Street in Franklin, MA).
You can also access the Forest by parking at the end of Lorraine Metcalf Road, near the intersection with Doe Drive. and also Spring Street in Franklin, MA. This region of the forest appears less used and the trails cross some large muddy areas during wet times of the year. For some, walks in this section of the Forest may be agreeable than in the north portion of the Forest.
Southern New England Trunkline Trail
There is ample car parking off Grove Street for the Southern New England Trunkline Trail (SNETT). You can also use the Trail to access the Franklin State Forest. The junction with the Forest is on the Trail between Grove Street and Spring Street, but it is not marked well and is easy to miss.
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