Renowned for its fantastic hiking trails, great disc golf course, and many natural features, Hodges Village Dam is an excellent day trip location for RV lovers in southern Massachusetts. Hodges Village Dam is located on the French River in Oxford, Massachusetts. It was built by the United States Corps of Engineers to control the waters after the huge 1936 floods in the Thames River basin of Connecticut. Hodges Village Dam is managed by COE together with the nearby Buffumville Lake, which is only four miles away.
Unlike most COE parks, there is no permanent lake at Hodges Village Dam. The catchment fills with rainwater runoff so that it doesn't continue to travel downstream. Despite this, Hodges Village Dam still has some great recreational activities to enjoy thanks to the 1,200 acres of land that surround the dam. There are around 22 miles of trails that weave around the Hodges Village project area, a disc golf course, fishing, boating, and paddling opportunities in the French River. The trails on the east side of French River are also suitable for mountain biking, cross country skiing, and horseback riding.
Like Buffumville Lake, there are no campgrounds at Hodges Village Dam. We recommend checking out the RV friendly campground at Wells State Park or West Thompson Lake State Park. Hodges Village Dam is open all year round and is well worth the visit.
Getting to and from Hodges Village Dam should be relatively straightforward since the dam is located just to the west of Oxford. There's only one road to take you to the main area of the dam (Charlton Street) that you can access from the east or the west. If you are looking to stop in for some supplies and amenities before you go out to the dam for the day, you can check out Oxford, Charlton, or Webster. The closest city to Hodges Village Dam is Worcester, which is located around 13.5 miles to the north.
The roads to and through the park are well maintained, relatively flat, and wide. They should cause no problem for your RV, and you won't need to worry about any obstacles that would hinder your journey. During the wintertime, there is plenty of snow in and around the lake, so if you are traveling during this time, you may want to call the park to make sure that you will be able to access the dam.
Parking is available at Hodges Village Dam above and below the dam.
There are no public transport options that will take you to Hodges Village Dam.
One of the best camping options that is within 20 miles of Hodges Village Dam is the nearby Wells State Park Campground. The campground has a total of 39 RV friendly sites that you can enjoy. There are both pull-through and back-in sites available, all of which are built on a gravel base for RVs between 15 and 30 feet in length. There are no hookups on any of the sites, but each space has a picnic table and a fire ring. You'll also find restroom blocks that feature flush toilets and hot showers located throughout the campground. You should be able to get cell phone reception within the campground.
One of the downsides about Wells State Park Campground is that the dump station is closed, so keep that in mind before you arrive at the campground. Quiet hours are 10:00 PM to 7:00 AM and 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.
There are a few privately operated campgrounds near Hodges Village Dam that range in different price and amenities that are offered. Located to the east of Oxford is a campground at Sutton Falls that is suited to smaller rigs.
There are over 50 RV friendly sites for you to choose from, including many that offer full hookups. The sites that don't have full hookups still come with electric and water connection options. Some of the sites will have views to Aldrich Mill Pond, and each has a picnic table and grill available for you to use. Other amenities in the campground include two swimming areas on the pond, laundry facilities, WiFi, coin-operated hot showers, restrooms, game room, boat rentals, a playground, and camp store.
The campground opens from April to October each year and reservations are available by either calling the park office or by visiting their website.
One enduringly popular activity for visitors to Hodges Village Dam is to get out and explore over 20 miles of trails that wind in and around the dam area. The paths that are blazed blue are suitable for non-motorized recreation (such as hiking, cross country skiing, mountain biking, and horseback riding) while the orange-blazed trails can be used by motorized vehicles, such as off-highway motorcycles.
Please note that ATVs are not allowed on any of the trails, and if you bring a motorcycle to the trails, they must be registered with the Massachusetts Environmental Police.
If you're a keen disc golfer - or you just want to give it a try - Hodges Village Dam is the place to be. There is a 13 hole course available for you to use free of charge that is known for its elevated holes and peaceful atmosphere. Remember to bring your own discs if you want to take on the course as you can't be sure that they will be available for rent.
If you are looking for more disc golf fun, you can also check out the nearby course at Buffumville Lake.
Hunting is permitted on the west side of the French River at Hodges Village Dam during the noted seasons. If you plan on going hunting during your visit to the lake, please note that federal, state, and local laws apply. Some of the common animals found within the Hodges Village Dam area include deer, foxes, rabbits, and turkeys. For more information on hunting seasons, firearm use, and fees, we recommend that you contact the park office.
While there are no swimming beaches at Hodges Village Dam, you can go for a dip at the nearby Buffumville Lake. Located only four miles away, there is a 300-foot long sandy beach for you to enjoy, constructed by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers. The size of the beach also means that you can put down a towel and do some sunbathing without feeling cramped.
When swimming at Buffumville Lake, please remember to swim to your abilities as there will be no lifeguard on duty at the beach.
For those who love to paddle, there is a great canoe route available for you to check out on the French River. The route is approximately three miles long, beginning at the Green Briar Park canoe launch in North Oxford and ending at Hodge Village Dam. If you do want to take on the challenge, you may have to carry your canoe around beaver dams and flood debris depending on the conditions. There are no canoes available to rent, so make sure that you bring your own.
While you can't go fishing at the actual Hodges Village Dam, you can cast a line out on the nearby French River. The 21-mile lake is quite narrow and winds through many rural areas. The river does not have many public access points, but there is one boat ramp above the dam and one below that you can use free of charge.
You have a wide choice of fish species to try and catch, including smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, bluegill, northern pike, rainbow trout and brown trout. There are no fishing gear rentals available at the dam so make sure you bring your own if you want to try land a big one.