Covering more than 2,400 acres of dense forest near the Massachusetts-Connecticut border, Granville State Forest is an excellent spot for outdoor enthusiasts to escape the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle.
Immerse yourself into this wooded wonderland, and you might find it hard to believe this quiet forest was once home to a farm and pasture! In the mid-18th century, colonial settler Samuel Hubbard bought part of this expanse for agricultural purposes. The Hubbard River, a sight you'll almost certainly see on your strolls through this breathtaking natural area, is named for him.
In the early 20th century, a local lumber company purchased the land before it was acquired by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and converted into a state forest as part of President Roosevelt's New Deal. Many of the improvements and structures the CCC established in the area are long gone, but some remnants of the old restrooms remain, and most of the internal roads have stood the test of time and extreme weather.
Now that you're all up to speed on the area's history, you're probably wondering what kind of activities you can enjoy here. The possibilities are practically endless! If you're visiting in the summer, you can hike, fish, and do a little stargazing. Fun off-season activities include birdwatching, winter sports, and hunting.
Planning a camping trip to Granville State Forest? Be aware that black bears occasionally come to call at this campground! Practice standard camp safety measures and lock all food, toiletries, and other items with a strong scent in your vehicle or animal-proof locker.
Traveling in an RV or trailer 25 feet or shorter? You'll be accommodated with basic amenities here. If you're traveling in a big rig and you're willing to cross state lines, you're just a stone's throw away from Connecticut and the surrounding Tolland State Forest, which has a larger campground and more amenities for RV road-trippers.
Internal roads through Granville State Forest are paved, but some are quite narrow. Practice caution when traveling through this area in a truck or RV. Granville State Forest is convenient to Highway 57, which leads to the town of Southwick. Here, you can pick up some fast food and camping supplies, before refueling your campervan and heading north into Westfield to hit I-90.
A gravel parking lot is available for day-use visitors at Granville State Forest. The lot is signposted, so you should have no trouble finding a parking spot before heading out on your Granville excursion. No parking fees apply.
Traveling through southern Massachusetts in a big-rig? Unfortunately, Granville State Forest isn't the most RV-friendly place to rest your head for the night. Only 20 reservable sites are available here, and most of them are designed for tent campers. Seven primitive tent sites can accommodate vehicles between 15 and 25 feet long, while three sites welcome pop-up trailers up to 20 feet long. The remaining ten sites are tent-only.
Although there aren't any hookups here, the restrooms and showers are kept clean. Other campsite amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, and grills. Sites are gravel, back-in, and well-shaded. Generator use is allowed, except during the campground's quiet hours between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Reservations are accepted up to six months prior to arrival. Bringing your trusty canine sidekick along for your camping trip? They're more than welcome to accompany you as long as you keep them leashed. Just don't forget to bring proof of current vaccinations -- you'll need to present it when you check in.
Two of Granville State Forest's campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Pack your hiking boots in your trailer, because you'll find plenty of opportunities to clock some trail mileage at Granville State Forest. The Hubbard River Trail is a must-see at just over six miles long out-and-back. Do be careful if you're planning to trek this trail during the off-season or after inclement weather. Trail hazards are common and can make certain areas unpassable. The views of the burbling river are well worth the walk, though!
Looking for a quiet place to cast your line? Head down to the Hubbard River, home to freshwater species including bass, perch, and bullhead. Note that you'll need to acquire a state freshwater fishing license before you arrive. The state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife stocks the river each season. If you reel in a record catch, you could even win a state award!
Kinglets, juncos, and ravens, oh my! Don't forget to pack your binoculars in the RV to see what species you can spot in Granville's tall trees. If you're really lucky, you might snap a shot of a barred owl! Remember, though, that birds aren't the only animals that roam these woods -- leave the trail snacks behind to avoid attracting a black bear to your birdwatching spot.
When the weather is just right, Granville State Forest becomes a winter wonderland. If you're visiting during the quiet off-season, bring your snowshoes to experience the park from a different perspective! The Hubbard River Trail is one of the best options for snowshoers and offers a stunning view of the frozen river.
Skiing is permitted along the park's hiking trails during the winter. The Hubbard Trail is the best and most scenic option for winter wanderers, but Hartland Hollow Road is a little shorter for those looking for a quick excursion. Come prepared for a backwoods skiing experience, and stay on marked trails.
During hunting season, restricted hunting is permitted. In fact, folks have been hunting these woods for centuries -- before colonial times, the land that's now Granville State Forest was prime hunting real estate for the Tunxis tribe. Be sure to obtain a state hunting license and check rules and regulations for hunting in state-managed lands on the official government website.