Visit Harold Parker State Forest, A Tranquil Natural Area North of Boston, Massachusetts

Jan 27, 2021 10:59 PM

Harold Parker State Forest - Photo by Myles Tan from Flickr
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Tripboba.com - Located in Andover, Massachusetts, only an hour north of Boston, Harold Parker State Forest is a state forest with recreational features encompassing more than 3,300 acres (1,300 ha). The forest offers 35 miles of trails, 11 ponds, and dozens of campsites, allowing visitors to experience the best recreational activities in the area.

Some of outdoor activities that you can enjoy at Harold Parker State Forest including hiking, camping, canoeing and kayaking, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, mountain biking, ice skating, cross-country skiing, educational programs, boating, and swimming.

Along with the scenic ponds, you’d find a tremendous variety of habitats within the state forest which will awe you. So, what are you waiting for? If you’re planning a weekend getaway at Harold Parker State Forest, then you’ve come to the right place! In this article, Tripboba has wrapped up the main highlights and key amenities of the forest that you should never miss. Keep scrolling to learn more about this wonderful place!

Harold Parker State Forest MA

Harold Parker State Forest Fishing

Harold Parker State Forest - Photo by David Bruce from Flickr

Some must things to do at Harold Parker State Forest include taking a boat out onto one of the 11 ponds located around the forest including Bear, Berry, Brackett, Collins, Delano, Field, Salem, Stearns, and Sudden; bringing a reel to cast a line while fishing; or simply soaking in the sights and sounds of the water and forest.

If you’re bringing along your kids, try the Frye Pond. It’s a great family fun for everyone interested in learning the basics of pond fishing in New England. Aside from fishing tackle and bait, don’t forget to bring insect repellent, water, sun screen, and a camera. The most popular species caught here is Largemouth bass.

Harold Parker State Forest also surrounds the scenic Stearns Pond, offering some of the finest hiking and forest views in New England along with great opportunities for fishing. The most popular species caught here are Chain pickerel, Yellow perch, and Northern pike.

Harold Parker State Forest Swimming

Harold Parker State Forest - Photo by WoofBC from Flickr

Cool off at Harold Parker State Forest Swimming Area during the hot summertime. The swimming area is at Berry Pond which offers a day use area, swimming, picnic area, grills, changing rooms, and bathrooms. It’s open June through September 5, from 10am to 6pm.

Mind that there’s a daily parking fee $8 for Massachusetts residents by Credit or debit card only. Contact the main office at 978-686-3391 for further information. The swimming area is located at Lorraine Park (campground), 133 Jenkins Road Andover MA. 01810.

Harold Parker State Forest Mountain Biking

Harold Parker State Forest - Photo by Myles Tan from Flickr

The state forest offers some of the best mountain bike trails in Massachusetts. The 35 miles of fire roads and trails are offered—there are almost everything for fellow bikers: some great single tracks, roots, rocks, technical stuff, doubletrack, and enough hills to make for some good climbs.

Most of the riding is geared toward the intermediate mountain bike enthusiast. The trail encompassing Salem Pond, the Yellow Diamond Trial, is located off Middleton Rd. and is one of the best mountain bike experiences on the North Shore. In addition, there are over twenty miles of moderately hard cross-country trails interweaving throughout.

Harold Parker State Forest Hiking

Harold Parker State Forest - Photo by Myles Tan from Flickr

Harold Parker’s many scenic ponds make great hiking destinations. The forest's logging roads and trails (which includes a section of the Bay Circuit Trail) are used for hiking, walking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing.

From the parking areas on Middleton Rd, explore Sudden Pond for a shorter hike, or Salem Pond for a longer hike. Here are some of our recommended trails for you to take:

  • Harold Parker Loop Trail is a 26.7 kilometer heavily trafficked loop trail near Andover that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.
  • Harold Parker Field Pond Loop Trail is a 12.9 kilometer moderately trafficked loop trail located near North Reading that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and mountain biking and is best used from March until October.

Harold Parker State Forest Camping

Harold Parker State Forest - Photo by Myles Tan from Flickr

Harold Parker State Forest Campground, also known as Lorraine Campground, offers 91 campsites spreading out sufficiently to provide a real "forest" camping experience. Each campsite is equipped with a picnic table, fire ring and a pedestal grill. A water spigot is located on each campsite and a dumping station is available.

The forest also now has eleven campsites with 20/30/50 AMP hookups. The restrooms have showers and flush toilets. Address to the campground is 133 Jenkins Road Andover MA. 01810.

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