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Massachusetts State Parks

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USA Parks
Central Region
Sutton State Forest
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Sutton State Forest, located in Massachusetts, is a serene and picturesque natural haven encompassing 2,249 acres of diverse landscape. This enchanting forest showcases a magnificent blend of towering pine groves, colorful deciduous trees, and tranquil wetlands, offering visitors a tapestry of natural beauty year-round. A meandering network of well-maintained trails winds through the forest, inviting outdoor enthusiasts to explore its secretive allure while indulging in various recreational activities such as hiking, wildlife viewing, birdwatching, and mountain biking. With its idyllic setting, Sutton State Forest truly provides nature lovers with a peaceful retreat to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Nature of the Area
Sutton State Forest, located in the central part of Massachusetts, is a pristine natural sanctuary that offers a diverse and tranquil environment for outdoor enthusiasts. Spanning across vast acres, this forest is characterized by its lush vegetation, towering trees, and winding trails that snake through its picturesque landscape. The forest is a haven for hikers and nature lovers, providing an opportunity to immerse oneself in the beauty of its serene ponds, babbling brooks, and charming waterfalls. With its rich biodiversity and an abundance of wildlife, the Sutton State Forest serves as a peaceful retreat where visitors can enjoy the wonders of nature and find solace in its idyllic surroundings.
History of the Area
Sutton State Forest is located in the town of Sutton, Massachusetts, and has a rich history dating back to the colonial period. Here is a brief overview of its history:

Colonial Era: The land that now makes up Sutton State Forest was originally part of Sutton's early settlement in the mid-18th century. The area was primarily used for agriculture and timber production by colonizers.

19th Century: As the population grew and agricultural practices changed, farming became less profitable in Sutton. By the early 19th century, much of the land in the area had been abandoned or sold, leading to reforestation. The land was mainly used for logging and timber extraction during this time.

20th Century: In 1929, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) bought approximately 2,000 acres of land in Sutton and nearby towns, including the present-day Sutton State Forest area. The state government executed this purchase as part of its broader effort to conserve natural resources and provide recreational spaces for the public.

Creation of Sutton State Forest: After acquiring the land, the DCR developed trails, recreational facilities, and campgrounds within the forest. It was officially designated as Sutton State Forest, and it has been managed by the DCR ever since. The forest has served as a popular outdoor recreation destination for residents and visitors, offering opportunities for hiking, camping, picnicking, bird-watching, and more.

Conservation Efforts: Over the years, the DCR, along with various community organizations, has focused on preserving the natural ecosystems and enhancing the biodiversity within Sutton State Forest. Measures have been taken to protect sensitive habitats, maintain wildlife populations, and control invasive species.

Present Day: Today, Sutton State Forest continues to be a beloved natural area in Massachusetts, attracting hikers, nature enthusiasts, and outdoor adventurers. The forest provides recreational opportunities while also contributing to the conservation and protection of the region's natural resources.

It is worth noting that for specific and detailed information about the history and specifics of Sutton State Forest, it is recommended to reach out to the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation or local historical societies in Sutton for more accurate and in-depth information.
Nearby Accommodations
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Located on over 100 wooded lakefront acres, overlooking Ashland State Park. Right out our front door you get to truly enjoy the great outdoors. Easy access to trails for hiking, and an area for swimming. Come and enjoy all that Ashland State Park has to offer, and stay at the Warren Center right next door.
14.9 miles from park*
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1. Midstate Trail: This is a long-distance trail that runs through Sutton State Forest, offering hikers an opportunity to explore the diverse landscapes of Massachusetts.

2. Purgatory Chasm Loop: A 0.5-mile loop trail located near Sutton featuring beautiful wildflowers and primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching.

3. Little Mantrap Lake Hiking Trail: An easy-to-moderate difficulty level hike with scenic views of lakeside vistas along its path within the forest area.

4. Blackstone River Greenway Bike Path: Although it's mainly designed for biking activities; this paved pathway also offers great opportunities for leisurely walks or jogs in a serene environment surrounded by lush greenery.

5. The Ridge Runner Trails System - North Section & South Section: These trails offer moderate hikes across varied terrain including hillsides and wetlands providing panoramic views over different sections of the state forest.

6. Park Hill Orchard Art In The Orchard Walking Tour: Though not strictly a traditional hiking route but provides visitors with unique experience combining art installations amidst natural settings on gentle slopes suitable even for beginners or families with children.

7. Sutton Falls Camping Area Nature Walks: Located adjacent to camping grounds these short distance paths are perfect options if you're looking forward staying overnight at campsite while enjoying peaceful strolls around nearby woods during day time.

8. Waterfall Gorge Trekking Route: For more adventurous souls who don't mind getting their feet little bit wet! It's challenging yet rewarding journey leading towards hidden waterfall deep inside dense woodland areas.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
November 1 BEST PLACE ON EARTH by Forest Ranger Sam
park review stars; one to five My visit to the Sutton State Forest was the most magical experience of my life. It is truely a hidden gem in the world. I saw a plethera of magestic wildlife on my adventure in the Sutton State Forest. The town in which the forest resides is truely lovely and the people are just great! Teddy Roosevelt himself couldnt be more pleased with the care the great people of Sutton take in preserving the wilderness. My trip was truely amazing and i cant wait to go back on my anual trip. Live. Laugh. Love. and Camp.
May 11 Marked Trails
park review stars; one to five We too got very lost out there for several hours! If the trails were marked, it could have helped us! At least point the way out when you get to a cross trails.
October 13 I wish the trails were marked by Lori Light
park review stars; one to five It is a very beautiful area but there were no marks telling you which trails led where and it can get confusingas there are many trails in the area and it was our first time visiting from Connecticut
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Area Campgrounds
King's Campground
24 Holt Road
Manchaug, MA
Circle C.G. Farm Adult Family Campground & RV Pa
131 North Main Street
Bellingham, MA
Lake Manchaug Camping
76 Oak Street
East Douglas, MA
Indian Ranch Recreation
200 Gore Road
Webster, MA
Sutton Falls Camping Area
90 Manchaug Road
West Sutton, MA
The Old Holbrook Place
114 Manchaug Road
West Sutton, MA

1. Start by heading east on I-90 East/Massachusetts Turnpike.
2. Take exit 10A-10B-10C for I-395 toward Worcester/Oxford.
3. Keep right at the fork, following signs for I-395 South and merge onto I-395 South.
4. Continue on I-395 South for approximately 12 miles.
5. Take exit 4B to merge onto MA-146 North toward Worcester.
6. Follow MA-146 North for about 15 miles.
7. Take the Central Turnpike exit toward US-20/Sutton Millbury.
8. Turn left onto Central Turnpike.
9. After about 0.6 miles, turn right onto Manchaug Road.
10. Continue on Manchaug Road for approximately 2 miles.
11. Sutton State Forest will be on your left.

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Massachusetts State Parks