Beartown State Forest is spread over 11,000-acres of pristine deciduous forest, ponds, brooks and hilly terrain. Around 200 acres of this extensive park is reserved for entertainment purposes only. It is a public property that stretches along the towns of Great Barrington, Monterey, Lee, and Tyringham, Massachusetts.
There are a lot of opportunities available at Beartown State Forest for exploring and adventuring all year round thanks to its vast area and many types of terrain. Beartown State Forest has trails for hiking, mountain riding, horseback riding as well as motorized off-roading. The lush areas of the forest surround Benedict Pond which is mostly used by visitors for fishing, swimming and/or non-motorized boating. You can also cross-country ski, ride snowmobiles and snowshoe during winters at the park.
For RV and camping enthusiasts, the park also offers campsites, picnic areas, a beach front and bathrooms convenient located around the park and made accessible for disabled people as well. There is limited cell service in this area and most campgrounds allow pets as long as they are leashed.
Beartown State Forest is located at the crossroads of Brett Road and Blue Hill Road in southern Berkshires, Western Massachusetts. Taking Route 23 from Massachusetts gets you directly to the park whether you are coming from the north, south, east or west. The roads leading to the park are wide enough for RVs and Trailers but once inside the park the gravel trails get much narrower. Perhaps the most convenient way to get around in the park is on ATV trailers or bikes so don't forget to bring yours along!
The trails at Beartown State Forest mainly consist of mud puddles, tree roots, chuck and loose rocks, with steep uphill and downhill areas. The campsite is just a couple of minutes drive from the main entrance of Beartown State Forest.
There are twelve campsites that are perfect for campers who are looking for a small campsite with chances of fishing, swimming and hiking. Each campsite has a fire pit with a barbecue stand and a picnic table that is surrounded by the serene tranquility of the Benedict Pond. However, there are no flush toilets or showers available at the campground. These campgrounds are sufficiently far from town to provide an isolated feel, yet near enough that you a ten minute car ride from the nearest town if you forget to bring something along.
The campsites vary in size and amenities offered. Site 1 and 2 are nearer to the road and are usually reserved for larger groups. Site 11 is one of the more popular sites as the Benedict Pond is right in front of it but it is smaller in size, ideal for only four people. Sites 1-7 are standard non-electric and big enough for smaller RVs and campers . Each camp site has its own unique allure that makes it desirable for people of differing taste.
Camping reservations should be made in advance. Some sites are also available on first-come first-served basis. No cabins are available and accessibility for the disabled is limited to only a couple of campsites inside Beartown State Forest. One can stay for stretches of up to 14 days and generator use is prohibited between 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
There are quite a lot of trails in Beartown State Forest that are accessible all year round. There are three mild trails in Beartown State Forest that range from three miles to nine miles at an elevation of around 960 to 2,010 feet. It is an absolute necessity to the trek the one and a half mile long Benedict Pond Loop Trail as it is a fairly easy walk with amazing views of the surrounding landscape. The chances of spotting wildlife consisting of small mammals and reptiles is also extremely high on this trail including salamanders, deer, toads, and various other attractive birds, plants and flowers. The historic Appalachian Trail crosses roughly seven and a half miles of the forest passing close to Benedict Pond for those who want to take on a hike that is more of a challenge. The trails are accessible for horseback riding, off-road vehicles and mountain biking, and in the winters for snowshoeing and snowmobiling as well.
Beartown State Forest has a lovely lake for fishing, swimming, and boating. At the Benedict Pond, which is a lake spanning over 35-acres, fishing and non-motorized boating are but a few of the recreational activities you can enjoy. The lake is surrounded by beautiful vegetation, a rich ecosystem and the Benedict Trail that encircles it. Only electric engines are permitted on the lake ensuring that you don't miss any of the natural sounds. It is a serene and calm experience. The lake is delightful with an easily accessible fishing dockside and boat launch area. Ice fishing is also possible in the winter. Furthermore, at a specified site, unguarded swimming is also allowed around the fringes of the lake.
The widespread structure of trails offers guests an opportunity to see wild animals such as bobcats, deer, fishers, beavers and the occasional encounter with a black bear. All through the park, there is stunning flora and fauna, streams, beaver filled ponds and lakes, lavish ephemeral forest, and blossoming wildflowers along with fallen leaves in autumn, making the forest look simply stunning! It is possible to encounter wild bears near the campsites. Ensuring that you keep all edibles, coolers, cooking utensils in the storage lockers available is highly recommended. DO NOT try to feed or go near bears or any other wild life as it poses a threat to both you and the animal.
Perhaps one of the best ways to explore this vast landscape is on the back of an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV). Exceeding over 16 miles, Beartown State Forest contains difficult trails for off-road lovers to tackle and test there off-road driving skills. The off-road trails have everything an off-road/ATV lover wants including mud puddles, boulders, lumps of rocks, steep slopes, and towering trees. Even though off-road vehicles are not allowed on the campground, it is possible to ride ATVs on the trials after getting special permits. All ATVs are allowed to roam during sunlight and on specified trails only.
Nothing is as delightful as spending a nice warm summer day on a picnic with your loved ones and Beartown State Forest has not one but many spots available to chill out, relax and soak in the weather and natural beauty. You can choose between shady or sunny picnic tables and areas depending on your preference and each picnic site is equipped with a flame pit and a barbeque stand. There are a number of picnic tables near the beach area as well for you to get a tan on and enjoy the sights and sounds of your surroundings.
You can visit and explore Beachtown State Forest during the winter months for some cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling near Benedict Pond, if the conditions allow it (i.e. if the foundation of the snow is minimum four inches). The trails offer simply majestic views of snow covered woods, frozen ponds and open skies. The trails are also well-maintained which make for effortless winter hiking and snowmobiling.