Harold Parker State Forest

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Harold Parker State Forest
Massachusetts State Park
Stearns Pond, Harold Parker State Forest, North Andover MA.jpg
Stearns Pond
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Essex
Towns Andover, North Andover, North Reading, Middleton
Coordinates 42°37′11.1″N 71°4′49.5″W / 42.619750°N 71.080417°W / 42.619750; -71.080417Coordinates: 42°37′11.1″N 71°4′49.5″W / 42.619750°N 71.080417°W / 42.619750; -71.080417
Area 3,294 acres (1,333 ha)
Founded 1916
Management Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
Location of Harold Parker State Forest
Website: Harold Parker State Forest
man made bridge

Harold Parker State Forest is a Massachusetts state forest located in portions of four towns: Andover, North Andover, North Reading and Middleton. Ponds, swamps, rolling hills, glacial erratics and rocky outcroppings can be found in the 3,294-acre (1,333 ha) forest. The forest features more than 35 miles (56 km) of backwoods roads and trails as well as remnants of 18th-century farming and milling operations. The park is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.[1]

Activities and amenities[edit]

  • Trails: The forest's logging roads and trails (which includes a section of the Bay Circuit Trail) are used for hiking, walking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing.[1]
  • Ponds: Fishing and non-motorized boating are available at 11 ponds including Bear, Berry, Brackett, Collins, Delano, Field, Salem, Stearns and Sudden.
  • Camping: The 89-site campground offers campers hot showers and access to swimming. Beaches, camping and restrooms are wheelchair-accessible.
  • The forest also offers picnicking and restricted hunting.

Mountain Bike Trails[edit]

The single track trails at Harold Parker provide an opportunity to enjoy the flow of the woods around you. Most of the riding is geared toward the intermediate mountain bike enthusiast. According to the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) the single track riding rates; 30% easy, 30% moderate, and 40% difficult with some rocky sections.[2] The trail encompassing Salem Pond, the Yellow Diamond Trial, is located off Middleton Rd. and is one of the best mountain bike experiences on the North Shore, and additionally there are over twenty miles of moderately hard cross country trails interweaving throughout. Hunting is allowed in the State forest during hunting season in Massachusetts, but according to the Department of Conservation and Recreation from Jenkins Road west to Rt 125 is hunt free.[3] Entering the State Forest can be easily done from Rt. 114 in North Andover, Massachusetts or from Rt 125 in Andover, Massachusetts. The 3,000 acres will take a few days of riding to fully explore, and getting lost is easy to do. However detailed maps of Harold Parker are available online for free at North Shore NEMBA web site [1]. To help you get aquatinted try joining a group ride, easily found in the Jenkins Road parking lot.

Color Coding of Trails at Harold Parker:

  • White=easy
  • Orange=intermediate
  • Pink=Difficult


  1. ^ a b "Harold Parker State Forest". MassParks. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Department of Conservation and Recreation. Retrieved August 6, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Harold Parker State Forest". NEMBA. Retrieved 2016-02-28. 
  3. ^ "North Shore NEMBA  » Harold Parker". nsnemba.org. Retrieved 2016-02-28. 

External links[edit]