FREETOWN STATE FOREST
Slab Bridge Road, Assonet
Just 5 minutes from Fall River and Taunton, and 15 minutes from New Bedford, Freetown State Forest is a vast tract of public land acquired over a twenty year period beginning in the 1930’s. Near the main entrance is a day use area, with wading pool, picnic area, fields and restrooms. The remainder of the forest offers 50 miles of unpaved roads and trails. Horseback riders, dog Sledders, mountain bikers, and seasonal motorcycle and snowmobile users are welcome, as are hunters and anglers in season. Rattlesnake Brook, which meanders throughout much of the property, is stocked with brook trout each spring.
The 6,550 acre forest has been a mecca for area mountain bikers since the sport began. At least two races a year are held in the forest, and there is usually a “show & go” ride every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night.
The stoney gravelly soil drains quickly and does not promote the formation of bogs or mudholes. After a rainstorm there is a lot of water in the forest but in most cases you can drive right through it on a firm bottom.
An extensive network of somewhat degraded dirt roads sees a lot of use from motorized vehicles, very little from horses and seasonal use by snowmobilers and nordic skiers. This is one of the few places in Southeastern Massachusetts where you’ll find dogsleds. In all but the warmest weather, the dogs will be barking around the forest as they train for the winter dogsled season. You may also come across hunting dog trials. If you do, you’ll see small groups of dogs running through the forest with numbers painted on their sides and wireless transmitters on their collars.
This is a very remote area. You will need to pick up a map and some directions at the ranger station. Non-trail activity in the forest consists of a small picnic area at forest headquarters and hunting season.
One negative of this area is mosquitos. On evening rides during the bug season you’ll have extra encouragement to keep moving. (Mosquitos rarely bite moving bicyclists.) A good mosquito repellant, or one of those electronic bug-aways helps a lot.
Click here to view trail map
Freetown State Forest is located in southeast Massachusetts.
From the north: Take Rte. 24 south to exit 10. Bear left onto South Main Street. Turn left at four corners onto Rte. 79 north and right onto Elm Street which then turns into Slab Bridge Road; continue for 1.5 miles to the forest entrance.