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a special place

I write this review having spent 9 years exploring HO cook state forest on walks, mountain bike... read more

Reviewed July 9, 2013
diverguy
,
Corvallis, Oregon
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Reviewed July 9, 2013

I write this review having spent 9 years exploring HO cook state forest on walks, mountain bike rides, as well as cross country ski and snowshoe trips in winter. My home borders on HO Cook state forest and I know the area well.

It has been difficult to obtain much official information such as a trail map or history which may make this state forest somewhat difficult to explore for the first time visitor. There is a stone plaque from 40 years ago by a parking area inside the forest, but this was blocked off a few years ago and the plaque is hidden by overgrowth. Most of the information I provide here is based on information I gathered from long time local residents, the former Colrain historian, and my own explorations of the forest.

Access: probably easiest access from route 8A via State Farm Road, there are no facilities for visitors

History: was cleared for farming prior to the 1930s, a CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) camp was based here in the late 1930s (Heath Camp) which apparently replanted the current forest, now used as an experimental forest perhaps by the UMass Department of Forestry.

Trails: there are no marked trails or signage, there are several logging roads which come off from state farm road, as well as a few unmarked trails.

Sights. The former CCC camp can be visited if you can find it (it's not far from 8A). There is a small waterfall in the forest as well.

Activities: Fantastic place for mountain biking and cross country skiing. I often see no other person even on weekends. The local snowmobile club does a nice job packing and grooming the trails in winter. The snow holds well due to the elevation (1400 - 1600 feet) and the shade from the evergreens.

Flora: the usual northern mixed hardwood forest with cleared areas and mossy bogs.

Fauna: I have seen moose tracks but never a moose, bears are present, very few deer presumably due to numerous hunters keeping the deer population in check. I wear orange here and put an orange reflector vest on my dog when we visit for safety.

Overall this is a great spot for outdoor recreation if you live nearby and have time to explore and get to know the state forest. HO Cook state forest is probably not worth travelling to visit since there are no facilities and no trail maps or signage. This is an excellent place for cross country skiing in winter with an extentive network of packed and groomed trails, few visitors, and good snow due to elevation and shade.

Date of experience: July 2013
22  Thank diverguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.