Wells State Park is a wonderful destination for those looking to get a taste of New England's charming woodlands. Beautiful stretches of forest, composed of tall oaks, hickories, maples, and pines, are interspersed with rocky outcrops and rich wetlands. Walker Pond (more of a lake) stretches for a mile or so along the park's east side. And though it's setting seems thoroughly rural, the park is just a quick drive from several major towns. Boston, Hartford, and Providence are all an hour or less away. Wells also makes a great stop-over spot for those heading deeper into the north woods, towards Green Mountain or White Mountain National Forests.
Visitors mainly come to Wells for the camping and the hiking, but there's lots more to do here too. Boating and fishing are popular on Walker Lake, and snowmobiling and cross-country skiing are great ways to explore the part during the winter months. From early May through mid-October, the park continuously adds family-friendly events, so check with the park office before your visit to see what’s happening during your stay. In addition to the other park activities, campers can visit Old Sturbridge Village. The village is a nationally-renowned living history museum, where visitors can learn about what life was like in a small New England town during the early 1800s.
Wells State Park boasts a lovely campground with over 30 RV-friendly sites, plus several yurts, and a group camping area. The campground is open from May through September. Reservations are available for all sites and are recommended, especially during the busy summer season.
Wells State Park is located just off of I-90, in between Worcester and Springfield. The (short) route taking you from the highway to the park itself is paved and well-maintained, and there are no sharp turns or steep sections to worry about. Some shorter roads within the campground are gravel, but they're well-graded and shouldn't be a problem to handle as long as you're traveling slowly.
The main traveling hazard here is snow, which can occur from October through April. Freezing roads are also possible during that time frame. Just be sure to check the local weather forecast before heading out!
Wells' campground has both back-in and pull-through sites, most of which can accommodate small to medium-sized RVs and trailers. Sites are well-spaced, and parking shouldn't be an issue as long as you're under the length limit.
Once you are parked, you probably won't need to do any driving. The campground is in the heart of the small park, and all trailheads, plus the pond, are easily accessible by foot from here.
The Wells State Park Campground sits just to the west of lovely Walker Pond. A few sites have great views of the water, while most are set back a bit farther into the woods. A thick canopy of oaks, hickories, and maples provides ample shade.
The campground is open from mid-May through early September, offering both RV-friendly and tent-only sites. In total, there are 39 RV sites and 13 tent-only sites.
The pull-through and back-in gravel driveways accommodate RVs and trailers from 15 to 30 feet long. All sites are primitive, meaning there are no electric, water, or sewer hookups. The park no longer offers a sanitary dump station either (though you should have no problems finding one in nearby Worcester or Springfield). Each site does have a picnic table and a fire ring, and the campground has modern restrooms with flush toilets and hot-water showers.
The campground observes quiet hours from 10:00 PM to 7:00 AM. Outside of this time, however, generator use is permitted (campers who need medical accommodations can speak to the park office about extended generator use). The campground is pet-friendly, though campers wishing to bring pets must show proof of current rabies vaccination upon check-in.
Spots can be reserved online, with bookings allowed up to six months in advance. Since this campground's open window is fairly small (mid-May through early September), spots tend to fill up fast, so make reservations well ahead of time if you can!
Unreserved spots at the park's campground can be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. However, given the park's popularity, and it's relatively small campground, visitors should try to book ahead if they can.
If you're traveling with a bigger group, or if you're planning on meeting up with some friends or family, you may want to consider booking Wells' group camping area. Though not made to accommodate huge events (it's ideal for groups of 10 - 15), it's a great option for small gatherings.
The group camping area is set just to the north of the main campground, offering additional privacy and space. There's a 50-foot gravel pull-through, making parking easy even if you have a larger rig. The site has picnic tables, a large fire ring, and a fewf grills.
The reservation window and rules are the same for the group camping area as they are for regular camping spots.
Wells State Park's campground also has four quaint yurts that can be booked for overnight stays. These round structures, walled and roofed with canvas supported by wood, are halfway between a cabin and a big tent.
The yurts are within the main campground and, like other sites, are well-shaded by a dense canopy. Each has its own picnic table and fire ring. Yurts don't have their own bathrooms, but guests have easy access to the campground's restrooms and showers.
Wells' yurts have bunk beds and can sleep up to six; visitors will need to bring their own bedding, though. The yurts also have electricity and a ceiling fan to help keep things cool.
All four yurts are ADA-accessible. None are pet-friendly, however (service animals being an exception). Reservations are made through the same website as normal campsites.
The trail system at Wells State Park offers a variety of treks for hikers and bikers of all levels. Over 12 miles of well-marked and well-maintained trails snake their way through beautiful woodlands and over small bluffs.
One of the park's most popular routes is the Carpenter's Rock Trail. This half-mile jaunt to the top of a prominent outcrop offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.
If you're looking for something a bit longer, you can string several trails together. One popular route combines the North and South Trails into a four-mile loop. The loop, which passes through gorgeous, secluded hollows and across softly babbling brooks, is a wonderful showcase of the park.
Several trails are also designated as multi-use, meaning mountain bikes are permitted. Although there's not a ton of elevation change, the rocky terrain makes for a challenging ride in some spots.
Campers can make use of the campers-only boat ramp to shove off onto the placid waters of Walker Pond. Canoeing and kayaking are both popular here, with the mile-long pond offering lots of scenic shoreline and even a couple islands to explore. Several pockets of wetlands dot the pond's shores too, and these are great places for wildlife watching. Be on the lookout for herons, egrets, hawks, and painted turtles. Motorized boating is also permitted on Walker's Pond, though there are some horsepower restrictions.
The Massachusetts State Park system offers a variety of year-round special events for visitors of all ages. The programs vary from educational programs to nature activities, and they change seasonally, so there's always something new to take part in. From holiday-themed events to bird walks and historical chats, check out the park’s calendar of events to see what kind of activities and classes are taking place during your visit.
Plenty of boaters opt to simply take in the sights, but many also head out onto Walker to go fishing. Anglers may find brown bullhead, bluegill, white and yellow perch, largemouth bass, and more in the warm, well-stocked waters. Shore fishing is also possible in some sites, especially near the campground, though much of the pond is ringed by thick vegetation and wetlands.
Winter visitors may try their luck ice-fishing. Whenever you end up visiting, just make sure you have a valid Massachusetts fishing license before you make your first cast!
Wells State Park is a marvelous place for photography during any season. Springs sees a flush of green vegetation poking its way through the leaf-covered forest floor, with colorful wildflowers also popping up in April and May.
Summer sees the verdant forests at their most lush, and wildlife abounds. In fall, those same forests are swept by vibrant waves of orange, yellow, and red. From Carpenter's Rock, you can take shots of this spectacular canopy rolling on for miles in every direction.
Winter brings quietude and (usually) a healthy blanket of snow. Hardy winter residents, such as white-tailed deer or cedar waxwings, make for great photographic subjects when set against the forest's stark white.
If you're looking for some wintertime adventuring, then take to the trails when they are clad in snow. Snowmobiling is permitted on several trails at the park, and though the park doesn't rent any snowmobiles, there are several private concessionaires nearby.
Wells is much quieter in the winter, but no less beautiful. A thick blanket of snow usually covers the ground and forms pillows on the boughs of tall pines. Walker Pond turns into a still sheet of white glass.
Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are also allowed on several trails. They're a great way to experience the winter woodlands while getting in some exercise.