Harold Parker State Forest: Hiking, Camping and More

         Located in the towns of Andover, North Andover, North Reading, and Middleton, Massachusetts state, Harold Parker Forest is a state forest that is now managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. Harold Parker was established in 1916 and named for the Massachusetts State Forest Commission's first chairman. With more than 3,300 acres (1,300 ha) encompassing 35 miles of trails, 11 ponds, and 91 of campsites, this place provides many recreational features with  wide range of activities such as hiking, camping, canoeing, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, biking, etc... Among them, hiking and camping is the most mentioned activities at this place. Following information will be useful for you when planning your trip to Harold Parker State Forest

Hiking at Harold Parker State Forest

         Harold Parker State Forest provides various routes with different distances that all visitors can enjoy. For those who hike with children or old people, they can explore some single tracks from Harold Parker Road.

         From Harold Parker Road, you can explore the trails and forest roads looping around Brackett, Delano and Bear Ponds. These routes are relatively short and simple that appropriate for most users.

         If you are experienced hiker, you can choose Yellow Diamond Trail that is longer and more difficult but encompasses more interesting features on the way. This is a nice loop with mixed woodlands that takes you to and around Salem Pond.

         Hiking on Yellow Diamond Trail, you can expect scenic water views and peaceful atmosphere.

Some important notes for hiker:

  • Wear weather appropriate clothing when hiking, especially footwear. Wear blaze orange clothing in the hunting seasons for security reasons
  • Bring enough drinking water because it is not easy to find water sources on the trails
  • Bring a map and stay on designated trails to avoid getting lost.

Camping at Harold Parker State Forest

         The Lorraine Park Campground provides 91 sizeable campsites that are spread out sufficiently to offer lots of privacy as well as real forest camping experience. The forest itself is very beautiful. From these campsites, campers can overlook a natural pond that brings you a sense of peace and quiet.

         Many compliments from satisfied visitors for the campground circle clean sites, well-equipped facilities and helpful staffs. Each site is equipped with a picnic table, a grill, water spigot. The campground also provides public playground, restrooms, showers. In addition, the staffs are friendly and responsive that can support for all your needs.

Some important notes for camper:

  • No electric hookups on the campsites

  • Be aware of mosquitoes and poison ivy at your campsite

  • Be careful with your campfire, make sure that you put it out before leaving

         Along with 2 main activities as mentioned, you can combine with other recreational opportunities such as mountain biking, fishing, hunting or even horseback riding to have more interesting experience, especially when you stay here more than a day.

         Before starting, you should Google or refer to recommendations from prior visitors to have more information about suitable activities as well as needed items for your trip. Check the weather before going is also necessary. One important thing to note with all visitors is alcohol is not permitted on site. In addition, you must keep the environment clean by carrying out all trash.

          Provides wide range of interesting outdoor activities with good services and  beautiful landscapes, Harold Parker State Forest could be seen as a perfect destination for those who want to get rid of the urban sounds and find a pleasant place to relax. Only an hour north of Boston, let’s come and enjoy this place as a way to enrich your life.

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