You must be signed in to save park lists.
Your Park Lists
add New List
Add Photo
You must be signed in to add photos.
state route ranger badge

Massachusetts State Parks

responsive menu icon
USA Parks
Central Region
Royalston State Forest
Chickadee ©
Campfire and Hotdogs ©
Roasting hot dogs over an open fire.
Availability Search
Royalston State Forest, located in Massachusetts, is a breathtaking natural oasis that seamlessly blends serenity with outdoor adventure. Spanning over 4,000 acres, this captivating forest features a diverse landscape of lush woodlands, tranquil ponds, vibrant wildflowers, and cascading waterfalls. Its extensive network of well-maintained trails, varying in difficulty levels, offers hikers and nature enthusiasts countless opportunities to immerse themselves in the pristine surroundings, whilst mountain bikers can revel in thrilling rides over rugged terrains. With its picturesque camping areas, perfect for families and individuals seeking a peaceful overnight retreat under the starry sky, Royalston State Forest promises an unforgettable experience of solace, exploration, and the wonders of the natural world.
Nature of the Area
The Royalston State Forest is a captivating nature reserve that offers a diverse and immersive experience for all outdoor enthusiasts. Covering over 4,000 acres, the forest boasts an enchanting blend of dense woodlands, pristine lakes, flowing streams, and picturesque mountain vistas. Visitors can embark on an array of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, fishing, and wildlife observation. The forest is also home to numerous species of plants and animals, making it a popular spot for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. With its serene atmosphere and breathtaking beauty, the Royalston State Forest is a true haven for those seeking tranquility and a connection with the natural world.
History of the Area
Royalston State Forest is a state forest located in North-Central Massachusetts, encompassing over 4,200 acres in the town of Royalston. The land was acquired by the state of Massachusetts in 1916, making it one of the oldest state forests in the state's system.

Prior to its acquisition by the state, the area that now constitutes Royalston State Forest was heavily forested and largely uninhabited. It was primarily used for logging and farming, with several small settlements and sawmills scattered throughout the region.

In the early 20th century, as deforestation became a concern, the state began acquiring land for preservation and recreation purposes. Royalston State Forest was one of the first parcels to be protected under this initiative. The state aimed to provide public access to nature, preserve the forest ecosystem, and protect water resources.

During the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) carried out several projects in the forest. Between 1933 and 1942, CCC workers constructed roads, trails, and picnic areas, as well as a dam for Tully Lake, which is located within the state forest. Many of these structures can still be seen and used by visitors today.

In the late 20th century, Royalston State Forest faced various challenges, such as illegal dumping and unauthorized off-road vehicle use. However, efforts were made to address these issues, and the state forest remains a popular recreational area for hiking, fishing, swimming, camping, and picnicking.

The history of Royalston State Forest is preserved through its natural landscape and historical structures. Visitors can explore the forest's numerous trails, visit the CCC-built Tully Lake Dam, and learn about the forest's rich history through interpretive signage throughout the area.
Nearby Vacation Rentals
Search for a vacation rental

1. Tully Trail: This 22-mile loop trail offers a moderate hike with beautiful views of waterfalls, lakes and wildlife.

2. Jacob's Hill Loop: A short but steep 3-mile round trip that takes you to the top of Jacobs hill for panoramic forest views.

3. Royalston Falls Trail: An easy-to-moderate difficulty level trail leading hikers through dense woods towards an impressive waterfall view at its end point.

4. Birch Hill Dam Pathway: It is a flat pathway ideal for beginners or those looking for leisurely walks along the dam area offering scenic lake vistas.

5. Doane's Fall Trails: These trails lead to cascading falls over ledges into tranquil pools below; it has two main paths - upper and lower fall trails both providing different perspectives on these stunning natural features.

6. Twin Ponds Nature Walks: Two separate walking routes around each pond offer peaceful strolls amidst lush greenery teeming with local bird species making them perfect spots for nature enthusiasts & bird watchers alike.

7. Spirit Falls Hiking Route: Known as one of Massachusetts' hidden gems, this hiking route leads adventurers down rocky terrain before revealing Spirit Falls -a picturesque cascade tumbling from high cliffs above into serene pool beneath.

8. Long Pond Walking Track: Encircling Long Pond,this track provides ample opportunities to spot aquatic life while enjoying calm waterside ambience.

9. Bear Den Road Paths: These are series of interconnected dirt roads crisscrossing throughout state park allowing visitors explore various sections in their own pace.

10. Royalston Eagle Reserve Tracks: A networked system tracks within reserve where eagles nest annually giving chance witness majestic birds up close during certain seasons.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
write a review
Share On

Area Campgrounds
Barton Cove Campground
99 Millers Falls Road
Northfield, MA
Lamb City Campground
85 Royalston Road
Phillipston, MA
The Wagon Wheel Campground
909 Wendell Road
Warwick, MA

- From the city of Boston, take I-90 West/Mass Pike.
- Continue on I-90 West for approximately 69 miles.
- Take exit 8 for I-291 toward Springfield.
- Merge onto I-291 West and continue for about 5 miles.
- Take exit 5A to merge onto I-90 West/Mass Pike toward Albany.
- Drive on I-90 West for approximately 57 miles.
- Take exit 10 for US-202/US-20 toward Palmer/Barre.
- Keep left at the fork and follow signs for US-20 West.
- Merge onto US-20 West and continue for about 17 miles.
- Turn left onto North Main Street/MA-32.
- Continue to follow MA-32 for approximately 5 miles.
- Turn right onto New Boston Road.
- Continue straight onto Athol Richmond Road for about 3 miles.
- Turn right onto MA-32 South.
- After about 1 mile, turn left onto MA-68 East/East Royalston Road.
- Continue on MA-68 East for approximately 4 miles.
- Royalston State Forest will be on your left.

state route ranger badge

Massachusetts State Parks