Erving State Forest
Guide

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Introduction

Situated on a hillside above Laurel Lake, Erving State Forest offers amazing year-round views of beautiful oak, maple, and hemlocks interlaced by eight miles of forest roads and trails that lead to scenic overlooks. Located along Laurel Lake Road, about seven miles northeast of Erving, Massachusetts, this easily-accessible forest is a great place to visit on RV trips.
Erving State Forest offers terrific opportunities for campers to enjoy fishing, swimming, grilling, horseback riding, mountain biking, boating, and hiking. If you schedule your vacation around mid-June, you can witness the abundant Mountain Laurels in bloom.
There are 27 campsites in Erving State Forest campground nestled in the woods of central Massachusetts. Each of these campsites is equipped with a picnic table, pedestal grill, and fire ring for your enjoyment. Even though there are numerous amenities, there are no RV hookups or dump stations at the Erving State Forest. If you crave a picnic, try setting up at the small pavilion. The pavilion has a large charcoal grill, and picnic tables available for anyone visiting the day-use area. The facilities in the forest include flush toilets and hot showers. If you have a kayak, canoe, or small motorboat, a boat ramp is available for launching them.
When you combine the resplendent vegetation of Erving State Forest with the camping, picnicking, hunting, skiing, ice-skating, and horseback riding possibilities, you’ll realize that Erving State Forest is a destination with something for everyone.

RV Rentals in Erving State Forest

Transportation in Erving State Forest

Driving

Erving State Forest, located along Laurel Lake Road, about 7 miles northeast of Erving, is easy to access by RV, trailer, or car. The campground is 56 miles northeast of Springfield, Massachusetts, via I-91 and US-5. The forest features locally paved and unpaved roads, which lead to the different parts of the forest, making it easy for you to go anywhere you want, regardless of whether you’re in your car, trailer, or RV.

Parking

There are various parking options for RVs and trailers in Erving State Forest, as the forest has four different parking lots strategically positioned within it. You’ll find two parking spaces by the Laurel Lake, and one each at the Bear Claw and Walts Way Trailheads in the western and eastern parts of the forest, respectively. If you are staying at the Erving State Forest overnight, you can also park at the campground.

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Erving State Forest

Campsites in Erving State Forest

Reservations camping

Erving State Forest campground

The campground in Erving State Forest features 22 standard campsites, four tent-only campsites, and a pavilion. All the campsites in the campground are pet-friendly and accessible by small RVs or trailers via local paved and unpaved roads. The standard campsites are not equipped with hookups, and the RV length limit at the campground is 14 feet. Amenities at the campground include restrooms, showers, flush toilets, a woodshed, a storage shed, picnic areas, a boat ramp, and RV-friendly parking lots. Some of the campsites in the campground are wheelchair accessible. Laurel Lake is close to the campground, offering campers easy access to the lake for swimming, boating, fishing, and other recreational activities. Food storage lockers are provided at the campsites. Make sure to store your food correctly, as it is common for visitors and RV campers to see black bears. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited in the campground, and quiet hours are 10 PM to 7 AM. Generator use is not permitted during quiet hours, except if it is to operate a medical device.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Erving State Forest

In-Season

Hike to Hermit's Castle

From 1867 to 1899, Scotland native John Smith lived in a cave under the overhang of a large cliff. He called it his castle, and the name stuck. Visitors can hike to the site but are cautioned that the path is quite strenuous. The trail is roughly a 4.5-mile loop accessed from Mountain road and offers breathtaking views from the top. Rangers remind backpackers and backcountry campers that Briggs Brook and Packard Brook are contaminated water sources. The water must be filtered, boiled, or chemically treated before use.

Ranger Programs

Park rangers at Erving State Forest frequently lead a variety of educational programs throughout the peak season months for campers and daily visitors. Check the schedules at the park offices for information on times and locations. Topics include the natural and cultural history of the area, native plants and wildlife, survival skills, and more. Younger guests can participate in Junior Ranger programs. Take advantage of the wealth of knowledge these rangers have about this pristine and scenic area of Massachusetts.

Mountain Biking

Erving State Forest is a biker's paradise. Both mountain bikers and road cyclists can find exciting, scenic routes to explore and enjoy. Paved park roads throughout the forest welcome road cyclists. They are advised to exercise caution as they share the roadway with vehicles. Mountain bikers can trek across eight miles of trails that weave through the groves of oak, maple, and hemlock trees. All bikers 16 years and younger are required to wear a helmet, but helmets are suggested for all bikers.

Grilling

Visit Erving State Forest on your RV holiday and enjoy your grilled meals with a view. You may grill or barbecue using the charcoal grills at the campsites. Using these stationary charcoal grills, where available, you can cook lunch or dinner with your family and friends while you are on your holiday. Where the charcoal grills are available, they are generally on a first-come, first-served basis. Grills can be found throughout the campground and in the day-use areas. Guests are required to bring their charcoal and properly dispose of hot coals before leaving the picnic area.

Swimming and Boating

Swimming and boating are common and popular activities for campers at Erving State Forest. So, pack your swimming gear in your RV for your trip to the forest. Laurel Lake's crystal-clear waters make the perfect swimming conditions. The boat launching ramp at the lake is available to all campers to enjoy the water, whether you paddle, kayak or you have another small nonmotorized boat. Before putting in your boat, please make sure that you have personal flotation devices for each member of your crew. Everyone should practice safe boating practices on Laurel Lake.

Horseback Riding

If you’re a horseback rider, then you’ll love the equestrian trails in Erving State Forest. These trails pass through various parts of the forest, along gentle and steep mountain slopes, resulting in different levels of difficulty for the rider. Horseback riders are required to control their horses while on the trails, and not to ride their horses in the campground or on the campground roads.

Off-Season

French King Bridge

The breathtaking French King Bridge connects the towns of Erving, Massachusetts, and Gill, Massachusetts. This three-span cantilever arch bridge was built in 1931 and offers a striking look at the era's architectural feats. Visitors can cross the bridge by car, bicycle, and on foot. It offers spectacular views of the Connecticut River below. Stop by in the fall months for picturesque views of changing foliage colors. Be sure to bring your camera and capture the memories.

Explore Scenic Erving

Erving, Massachusetts, is the perfect example of a quintessential New England town. Located just a few miles outside of Erving State Forest, visitors can enjoy charming shops and lamp-lined streets. A variety of restaurants are available for flavorful exploration. Be sure to walk near the beautiful Millers River. During the fall months, the leaves change to vibrant colors and reflect off of the water. Chat with locals to learn more about the hidden treasures this small town has to offer.

Hunting

During designated hunting seasons, hunters can search for game in the wooded hills of Erving State Forest. With over 4,500 acres to explore, there are plenty of places to set up shop and enjoy the hunt. Hunters at Erving State Forest can bag deer, turkey, grouse, and other small game. Valid Massachusetts hunting licenses are required. Call the park for more details on in-season hunting months, designated hunting areas, and additional information before setting out on your hunt.

Fishing

Laurel Lake is an excellent site for fishing and ice fishing while on your RV trip to Erving State Forest. The lake has a regular supply of trout, and it is one of the few lakes in the region stocked with broodstock salmon. As a result, campers find it a favorite destination for broodstock salmon fishing. Before heading to the lake to fish, make sure you have the appropriate fishing license. A valid Massachusetts fishing license is required for all anglers 15 years of age and older. Younger anglers are not required to have a permit.

Hiking

In the summer, Erving State Forest provides RV campers the opportunity to hike on eight miles of forest trails that pass through lush vegetation such as oak, maple, and hemlock. Some of the trails lead to scenic vistas that leave hikers with unforgettable views and experiences. With more than 10 hiking trails to choose from, you cannot miss out on the fun and spectacular views provided while on the walk. The trails vary in difficulty as some, such as the Bear Loop Trail, require climbing hills within the forest.

Winter Sports

In winter, Erving State Forest is the place to visit for the ultimate experience of snowmobiling and skiing. In Erving State Forest, snowmobile trails are found along Camp Road, Mountain Road, and Pinnacle Road. If you like ice activities, you can even have the chance to ice-skate on Laurel Lake. As a result, you are in for a great time in the forest during winter, where you can, with the right gear, enjoy the best skiing, snowmobiling, and ice-skating experiences.

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