The October Mountain State Forest is the largest State Forest in Massachusetts at well over 16,000 acres. It is located in eastern Massachusetts, around ten miles south of the town of Pittsfield, the largest city in Berkshire County. The campgrounds are situated on the eastern edge of the state forest, less than five miles away from the small towns of Lenox and Lee. While it has a total of around 43 campsites, only eight are suitable for RV campers, so you may want to make reservations early, particularly during the peak season. Bring your hiking gear or mountain bikes when visiting this stunning forest as there are many trails that meander through the area, suitable for novice to expert hikers, as well as mountain bike and ATV enthusiasts. Anglers who visit one of the many ponds or rivers located in this vast forest can get a little fishing in, particularly if they like fishing for small but aggressive largemouth bass. In the late fall and winter, locals and visitors alike continue to enjoy the park, engaging in activities such as cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and deer hunting. No matter what time of year your drive your RV or trailer to October Mountain State Forest, you are sure to enjoy the raw beauty of Massachusetts wilderness.
If you are approaching the campgrounds from the north, the curve from Walker Street to Willow Hill may be challenging, particularly if you are driving a big rig or towing a trailer. It is easier to traverse coming from the south, so you may want to turn around in one of the small towns that dot the road or continue on to the Village at October Mountain, where you can take Bradley Street and Woodland Road to get to the park. Once past that turn, Willow Hill is easier to navigate. Bradley Street and Woodland Road are also simple to navigate, although they pass through more small communities. The roads in the park are paved, and while they are somewhat narrow, they are not so narrow that it makes it difficult to drive. There is a small amount of parking near the entrance to the park, but spots are limited. The RV camping spots are level and located in the southern-most loop, mostly on the inside of the loop.
There are 43 campsites total at October Mountain State Forest Campground, but only eight of them are set up for RVs. The RV sites are situated on the lower loop of the park, fairly nearby the park entrance. There are two bathroom areas with hot showers as well as outdoor sinks. The RV sites do not offer a great deal of privacy but each comes with a fire ring and a picnic table. Rigs up to 34 feet long can be accommodated.
If you plan on building a fire you will need to buy firewood locally, as there is a ban on bringing firewood from other states in order to avoid the spread of the devastating Emerald Ash Borer beetle. There are black bears that frequent this area as well, so be sure to keep your food properly stored. There are no hookups for electricity, water, or sewer, however, generator use is allowed anytime other than quiet hours, between 10 PM and 8 AM. Pets can accompany you throughout the park, except in the yurt campsites, as long as they are restrained by a six foot or shorter leash.
Bring your mountain bike along in your campervan if you plan on stopping by October Mountain State Forest. Many of the trails that traverse through this large state forest are suitable for mountain bikes as well. The trails in this area are well marked. To travel along portions of the Appalachian Trail, follow the white signs that are posted along the trees, and follow the orange or yellow signs to traverse the multi-use trails. Just remember that the trails that are marked with blue signs are designated as foot traffic only.
October Mountain State Forest is the largest state forest in Massachusetts, and there are miles of trails to explore for hikers of all skill levels. The Washington Marsh Trail series, comprised of several smaller loops, and the Aqueduct Trail are fairly simple nature hikes, while the October Mountain State Forest Loop and Gorge Trails are much more challenging. For visitors that enjoy learning more about the natural areas that they are visiting will appreciate Washington Marsh Interpretive Trail, an easy 1.9-mile nature loop.
There are several smaller lakes and ponds suitable for fishing that can be found throughout October Mountain State Forest. October Mountain Reservoir, situated near the West Branch Road, is home to a large number of largemouth bass, which are reported to be somewhat small, averaging around 13 to 15 inches in length, but aggressive and great fun to catch. Fishing is good both from the shore and from small, non-motorized boats, but boats with motors are prohibited from these small bodies of water.
You will want to bring your binoculars and camera along with you in your trailer if you enjoy viewing wildlife. October Mountain State Forest is the largest state forest in Massachusetts at 16,640 acres, and it encompasses several different ecosystems. Deer, raccoons, foxes, songbirds, woodchucks, and several species of squirrels are plentiful in this forest, and there are sometimes sightings of black bears, bobcats, and fishers as well. Near the lakes, you may spot beavers working on their dams alongside several different species of ducks and geese.
When it is snowing in in October Mountain State Park many of the regular hiking trails become absolutely fantastic cross-country skiing trails. While bears are generally hibernating during winter months, other animals, such as bobcats, raccoons, and deer may still be spotted, and the views that might see in the summer are transformed but are still just as striking in the winter. Pack your skiing gear in your camper and you will have the opportunity to explore quieter, stately beauty of the park when it is covered in a blanket of white.
October Mountain State Forest is a popular hunting spot for both locals and visitors, particularly for white-tailed deer. The archery season in Massachusetts is typically in October and November, with a shotgun season and a primitive firearms season in December. Hunting is permitted from half an hour after sunrise to half an hour before sunset, and there is no hunting allowed on Sundays. Hunters are required to obtain a big game hunting permit for antlered deer and an additional antlerless deer permit for deer with no antlers or antlers smaller than three inches in length. It is easy to get lost in the woods following a deer trail, so be sure to not to forget your compass, and use common sense while hunting.