Barre Falls Dam
Guide

Introduction

Featuring ample recreational activities that will have something on offer for visitors of all ages, Barre Falls Dam is a fantastic way to spend a day out on your next RV holiday. Located in Barre, Massachusetts on the Barre River, Barre Falls Dam was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers to help protect against flooding along the Ware, Chicopee, and Connecticut rivers. Construction on Barre Falls Dam began in May 1956 and was completed a little over two years later. It is an earth-fill dam that has no lake, and the flood storage area (which is usually empty) covers around 1,500 acres. Along with the dam, the site is also part of the Ware River Watershed. Administered by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, this is a 22,000-acre area that gives you the chance to participate in many great outdoor activities. This recreational area is an extra benefit from having such a large space that is designated for floodwaters. There are plenty of activities that you can do here, including picnicking, hunting, hiking, mountain bike riding, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing. There is also an 18-hole disc golf course for those interested in disc golfing. Camping activities are not allowed at Barre Falls Dam so you will have to look outside of the area if you want to stay the night. Despite this, there are some RV camping options nearby, including at two private campgrounds that are under a half-hour drive from the dam. If you are looking to stay at one of the great Massachusetts State Parks in a rented RV or your own rig, try Wells State Park, which is 28 miles south of the dam.

RV Rentals in Barre Falls Dam

Transportation

Driving

Getting to and from Barre Falls Dam is relatively easy thanks to the multiple access roads that lead you to the dam. The most popular way to get to the dam is to take the Old Boston Turnpike and simply turn off at Barre Road. If you are coming from the south another way to get to the dam is to take Worcester Road and turn off at Coldbrook Road.

If you are thinking about getting some supplies before you reach the dam there are many towns that you can stop at. To the north of the dam is Hubbardston and to the south is Rutland. East of the dam is Princeton and Barre is located to the west of the dam. The closest city to the park is Worcester, which is around 24 miles to the south.

The roads in and around the lake are very well maintained by COE so you should have no issues with your RV getting stuck or damaged by overhanging branches or potholes. During the wintertime, the area is known to get a lot of snow, so if you are traveling at this time we recommend that you call the COE staff before you depart to ensure that the roads will be open.

Parking

There are plenty of parking spots available at the entrance of Barre Falls Dam.

Public Transportation

There are no public transport options that will take you to Barre Falls Dam.

Campgrounds and parking in Barre Falls Dam

Campsites in Barre Falls Dam

Reservations camping

Nearby Camping

One of the closest campgrounds to Barre Falls Dam is a private RV resort that is located around seven miles south west of the dam. The resort includes over 50 campsites that have 30 amp full hookups, some sites with 50 amp full hookups, and a few that are just 30 amp and water hookups.

Along with these great site options, there are also many activities to keep you entertained during your stay, including an executive par three Golf Course, 100' round wading pool, Olympic size swimming pool, poolside cabana, a playground, volleyball court, and a basketball court. Other amenities inside the resort include WifI, toilets, hot showers, water collection points, activities hall, and a dump station. The campground is also pet-friendly and you should be able to get phone reception on all of the major networks.

If you are considering staying at this campground we recommend that you book a reservation in advance so that you don't miss out. The campground is open from April until October.

Wells State Park Campground

Another RV friendly camping option is to stay at the nearby Wells State Park. The drive to the park will be further than the private RV resort but it may be worth it.

There are 39 RV friendly sites at the campground that are a mixture of both pull-through and back-in sites on gravel pads. RVs between 15 and 30 feet are permitted at the campground, and some of the sites also have views of Walker Pond.

There are no hookups on any of the sites at the Wells State Park Campground, but each space has a picnic table and a fire ring. Other amenities available nearby include comfort stations with flush toilets and hot showers. Please note that the dumping station is permanently closed and you can contact the park office for information on the closest dump station.

Quiet hours are 10:00 PM to 7:00 AM and during this time all generators must remain off. Campers wishing to bring pets must show proof of current rabies vaccination upon check-in. Wells State Park Campground is open from mid-May to mid-October.

Seasonal activities in Barre Falls Dam

In-Season

Picnicking

Thanks to the great amenities provided by COE, picnicking is a very popular activity for visitors to Barre Falls Dam. The Corps maintains a small rustic picnic area for your enjoyment within the recreation area that is perfect for your picnicking adventure. The picnic area contains twelve picnic sites that include tables and fireplaces. If you have a larger group, there is a covered picnic shelter that has six tables and is suited for larger groups. This shelter is reservable online.

Interpretive Programs

If you want to learn more about the history of Barre Falls Dam, you will be pleased to note that there are interpretive programs available. These programs are held on special occasions and will educate you on the cultural and natural resources, water resources, water safety, and flood risk management that are provided by Park Rangers. If you are wanting to participate in one of the programs you can give the park a call or email them for more information.

Disc Golf

Another great recreational activity available at Barre Falls Dam that is suitable for all ages is the disc golf course. Located opposite the COE building, the disc golf course at Barre Falls Dam is renowned for its elevation changes, abundant diversity, and plenty of water obstacles. The course has 18 holes, and many discs have been lost, so make sure that you are throwing on target. If you want to use the course, you need to remember to bring your own discs as there may be none available for rent.

Off-Season

Hiking

Getting out and exploring the trails is one of the best ways for you to get the most out of your visit to Barre Falls Dam. There are many trails around the dam that are suitable for hikers of all ages and abilities. One of the more popular trails is the Barre Falls Dam Trail. This is a five-mile moderately trafficked loop trail that features beautiful wildflowers and will give you the chance to see the dam up close and personal.

Fishing

Fishing is a great way to enjoy your time in the great outdoors. There are plenty of places around near Barre Falls Dam where you can cast out a line to try and land the big one. The various waterways near the dam (including the Ware River and many other small streams and ponds) are stocked with fish at various points throughout the year. Before you head out on your trip, remember that you will need to purchase a fishing license in order to legally fish.

Birding

As part of the Ware River Watershed, Barre Falls Dam is a well-known birding destination no matter what time of the year you visit. The Ware River Watershed contains a mixed forest with sizable stands of conifer and hemlock, while the open areas that feature scrub are known for attracting the warbling vireo, prairie warbler, and eastern towhee. You may also have the chance to see some uncommon birds, including the northern goshawk, red-shouldered hawk, barred owl, and yellow-billed cuckoos.