FRANKLIN STATE PARK
Forge Hill Road
The Franklin State Forest is one of three DEM land holdings that make up the F. Gilbert Hills State Forest.
Its 883 acres are laced with a few doubletracks and many miles of interesting singletracks. Due to a recent acquisition, the southern boundary now abuts the Southern New England Trunkline Trail. The SNETT is a national multi-use recreation trail that runs from Franklin, MA to Willimantic, CT. The 85 mile “rail trail” is open to bicycles and other trail users.
This forest is, by the standards of Southeastern Massachusetts, very remote. Few people have ever explored the Franklin State Forest. But those who have have discovered a vast array of fast, moderately technical singletracks. Franklin is a FUN ride.
The best place to start is where a powerline crosses Forge Hill Road in Franklin MA. This is about 100 yards from the Franklin YMCA parking lot. Franklin State Forest is located on both sides of the powerline.
The whole forest is laced with trails. The most and best are on the “right” side of the powerline. It is strongly suggested that you bring a local road map, as trails have a way of leading to other trails and you may never know just when you’ve become lost.
The current DEM forest map is not very good. But fortunately there is a better one in the works. The best published map is in the latest edition of Stuart Johnstone’s Mountain Biking Near Boston.
While it’s true that you’ll almost never meet anyone else on the trails. Franklin State Forest is not exactly isolated. It’s only about 1/2 mile from Rt. 495 and and sort of in the middle of a Boston Providence Worcester triangle. Early Spring will find Franklin’s singletracks quite muddy. But the trails are fine for riding by the middle of April.
Click here to view trail map.
Take exit 17 from Rt. 495. Head west and take your first left. This is Grove St. Go for 1/2 mile and turn right on Forge Hill Rd. Go up the hill till you see the powerline and the YMCA. Park at the side of the road and explore.