Harold Parker State Forest
Guide

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Introduction

Located in Andover, Massachusetts, Harold Parker State Forest surrounds the scenic Stearns Pond, offering some of the finest hiking and forest views in New England. Whether you’re hiking for the day or planning a week-long RV trip, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy.

There are dozens of hiking trails that will lead you through some of the finest forests in the northeast. Come in spring and see the world come back to life right in front of your eyes. Or visit in fall as the leaves turn for a blast of New England autumn color.

If your legs begin to tire out from hiking, the forest has plenty more on offer. Take a boat out onto one of the 11 ponds located around the forest. Bring a reel and try your luck at fishing, or simply soak in the sights and sounds of the water and forest. Visit during the summer to take a refreshing dip into one of the ponds, and enjoy a waterside picnic.

There are nearly 100 campsites for you to choose from for your RV, with full amenities, including restrooms, showers, and picnic areas.

RV Rentals in Harold Parker State Forest

Transportation in Harold Parker State Forest

Driving

Harold Parker State Forest is located near Andover, Massachusetts, making it easy to access from most parts of eastern Massachusetts.

The forest is located just about 20 miles north of Boston. You’ll be able to reach Andover in less than an hour, and then Harold Parker is just a short drive along local roads.

Once you arrive, it is easy to park at the campgrounds. Day parking is also easy to access. Daily parking is charged Memorial Day through October 31.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Harold Parker State Forest

Campsites in Harold Parker State Forest

Reservations camping

Lorraine Park Campground

You’ll find plenty of space for your RV at Harold Parker State Forest, with 89 campsites in the Lorraine Park campground. There are plenty of different sites depending on the needs of you and your family. Most are fairly spread out, so you’ll get a sense of privacy and seclusion throughout your trip. Every campsite has a picnic table and a grill, so you’ll have no problem preparing and eating your meals.

Not all of the campsites offer electricity, so check before you book. 11 of the 89 have electrical hookups. You will also have access to water spigots and a dumping station. Restrooms and showers are centrally located. Pets are allowed at almost all of the campsites.

Bookings can be made for a max of 14 days. The camping season is usually from early May to Columbus Day weekend, so plan your trip accordingly. All campsites can be booked online. You’ll also find a map of the campgrounds, as well as the amenities, and the max length of each site.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Harold Parker State Forest

In-Season

Fishing

There is more to Harold Parker State Forest than trails. Take a boat out onto one of the 11 ponds and try your hand at fishing. There are plenty of largemouth bass swimming around the ponds, as well as other varieties of fish to keep you busy throughout the fishing season. All fishing must be done in non-motorized boats.

Have lunch before or after you fish at one of the many picnic areas found throughout the forest. The fishing is great from April through October. You can head out onto the water during the winter, but fish are much less active. Don't forget to pack your fishing gear in your camper.

Biking

The trails around the forests can be used for biking as well. If you want a fast-paced tour around the area, bring your bike in your rig and enjoy the many miles of trails awaiting you. Whether you want to take a slow spin around the ponds, or do some more strenuous and exhilarating mountain biking, you’ll find the right trail for you. Most of the trails will be shared with hikers, so always be cautious, especially when going around corners.

Biking is excellent year round, but at its best from March to late October.

Hiking

This is where Harold Parker State Forest stands out. With over 35 trails to choose from, you’ll never run out of places to hike, no matter how often you visit. The many trails will lead you through meadows, brooks, and ponds that showcase the best of New England’s natural wonders. With over 11 separate ponds, you’ll see plenty of wildlife on the water as well.

The trails are mostly moderate in difficulty, although some feature slight inclines.

Hiking is excellent year-round, but stands out during the spring and fall. The forest is most crowded during October, but there are more than enough trails to accommodate every visitor.

Off-Season

Horseback Riding

If you want to take a different mode of transport through the forest, consider bringing a horse. The trails at Harold Parker State Forest are also accessible on horseback. Explore the area during the fall and enjoy the colors from up high. The trails are shared with hikers and bikers, so always be careful as you ride and respect others using the trail.

Unfortunately, no horse rental is available at Harold Parker State Forest. If you want to ride a horse, you’ll have to bring it yourself.

Winter Hiking and Snowshoeing

Even during the winter months, the hiking is worthwhile at Harold Parker State Park. You still have access to all 35 trails, giving you miles of forest to explore. And if you come when there’s snow on the ground, you’ll see a world that’s been entirely transformed.

Come after a winter storm with your snowshoes to explore the forests as they turn into a frozen wonderland. Weave your way through the trees and get lost in the white forest.

Cross-country Skiing

The trails through Harold Parker State Forest are good for more than just hiking. After a winter storm, take those cross-country skis out of the rig and head for the trails.

You’ll get miles of excellent skiing through some of the most beautiful forests in the state. You’ll pass through meadows and see frozen ponds as you glide through the icy winter forests.

The trails won’t often be covered in snow, so planning ahead will be difficult. Once the snow is on the ground, get to the trails quickly. It’ll be worth it once you do.

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