This New England State Forest Is A Great Destination For Enjoying Outdoor Sports

Freetown-Fall River State Forest will delight the most adventurous of outdoor enthusiasts and offers year-round activities. Whether you lace up your hiking boots, grab a set of skis, or saddle up, the New England state forest is a great destination for enjoying outdoor sports.

This breathtaking 5,000-acre woodland is located on the border between Freetown and Fall River, Massachusetts, and is home to a Wampanoag Native American reservation. It makes up one of the largest portions of the southeastern Massachusetts Bioreserve, which protects over 13,000 acres of the state's wilderness. Towering oak, maple, and white pine trees dominate the forest, while small streams and ponds cut through the landscape. There are also forested wetlands where shrubs and moss thrive.  Interestingly, some people believe the forest is a natural hub for paranormal activity. Ghost stories aside, it is a sought-after spot for travelers obsessed with outdoorsy activities, and for good reason.

Summertime adventures among the trees

The New England forest has over 25 miles of trails to explore. Not only are there traditional paved and unpaved hiking trails for backpackers, runners, and cyclists, but there are dedicated bridle and dirt bike trails as well. The 3.3-mile-long Ledge Loop is a popular multi-use route that leads to Assonet Ledge, a granite quarry overlooking the state forest. While hiking and horseback riding are permitted all year long, dirt biking is only allowed from the Monday after the first weekend in May through the last Sunday in November.

As you traverse the majestic Massachusetts woodlands, be sure to take in the scenic views and keep your eyes peeled for animals native to the area. During the spring and summer months, wander near Mother's Brook and Doctor's Mill Pond to discover wildlife such as frogs, turtles, migratory birds, and salamanders. Year-round, you can spot deer, foxes, coyotes, and small critters. Not only do many of the forest paths intersect, but some are not as clearly marked. To avoid getting lost, keep a copy of the official trail map handy.

Snowy activities in the forest

If you are hoping to avoid crowds, the winter months are a better time to visit the state forest. Many of the trails you can explore in summer are also accessible in the winter and become picturesque paths used for cross-country skiing, sledding, and snowshoeing. Snowmobiling and dog sledding (yes, dog sledding) are allowed on certain routes in the forest as well. Less than a half hour away from the forest, The Ski House is a local shop that offers affordable winter sports equipment rentals for both adults and kids.

Camping is unfortunately not allowed in the state forest. However, Massasoit State Park — just 30 minutes away — has gorgeous campsites, cabins, and yurts that you can reserve when you visit. If you're ready to snuggle up indoors after a long day of outdoor sports, you can stay just 10 minutes away at the Holiday Inn Express, or make the drive into New Bedford to book a room at the New Bedford Harbor Hotel. Freetown State Forest is a New England gem — ideal for an outdoor lover's snowy serene getaway or summertime escapade.