F. Gilbert Hills State Forest
Local Trails for Hiking, Running, or Biking
F. Gilbert Hills State Forest, sometimes referred to as Foxboro State Forest, is a 1,000+ acre park smack dab in the middle of Southeastern Mass. Access it easily from anywhere in Norfolk County and northwestern Bristol County. It is also very worthwhile for outdoor enthusiasts to trek to from Greater Boston and points Southwest in Rhode Island.
The skilled workers at the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) manage the State Forest, and they do it well. Often crews are seen clearing fallen trees and adding fill to uneven paths. They work out of the forest headquarters on Mill Street that is also home to the forestry fire and rescue. Headquarters provides ample off street parking, paper maps, a picnic area, and clean public restrooms.
The forest has trails to meet any outdoorsman’s need. Most trails are wide, allowing for hikers, dog walkers, and bikers alike. Although in such a huge park, you may go for some time without running into another human. There are also many great winding trails weaving through boulders and trees going up and down in a natural obstacle course that might require fancy foot work to get you through. One trail is marked as the Healthy Heart Trail. The “Healthy Heart Trails are pathways or trails used for hiking or walking that are easy to moderate in activity level and intended for routine use to help build a healthy heart,” says the trail map.
You will notice that each trail is unique For example, in the fall, the Tupelo and Wolf Meadow Rd are golden yellow with foliage (Honestly, you aren’t a New England leaf peeper without visiting this forest… pictures don’t do it justice). The pines on the Pine Hill Trail reach far into the sky and remind me of going on a White Mountains hike in New Hampshire. In the winter, you can enjoy the trails through the snowy forest or, when there isn’t snow, looking at the bright multi-shades of moss covering the rocks and dark bark of the trees.
I have been looking at some other nearby trails, but so far have not found any that really compete with F. Gilbert State Forest. For now, this is my 5 star for hiking trails based on trail quality, beauty and location/convenience.
There are about 23 miles of trails here so don’t get lost! Please tell me where you go for outdoor exercise in the comments.
Trail use guidelines
- Stay on designated trails and roads
- Observe all posted rules and regulations
- ORV Riding Season: May 1st through the last Sunday in November. Motorcycles only.
- Be respectful of other trail users:
- Hikers: Allow bicyclists and equestrians to pass.
- Bicyclists: Control your bike – do not skid.
- Equestrians: Control your hourse.
- Be aware of hunting seasons, and wear blaze orange when appropriate.
For more information visit https://www.mass.gov/locations/f-gilbert-hills-state-forest.
Why is a local physical therapy office posting trail reviews?
At Allied Physical Therapy, our mission is to bring physical health to our community through providing injury rehabilitation through our offices in Foxboro, Norwood, and Framingham, MA. Our goal is to help people reach their health and mobility goals. We love exercising outdoors and wish to share our experiences with our community.
GOAL OF OUR NATURE TRAIL BLOG POSTS
As I write about some places that I go walking please note that, understandably, some trails are merely conservation land that someone put a couple trails on – which is great! It’s great to have local walking spots, and many of them, to allow us all to get out in nature and do something healthy at the same time. So I am not going to knock any places that aren’t up to par especially when it was a gift from someone, or a purchase for conservation. It all counts towards the making of a great community, but I will be looking at as many jewel trails in Southeastern Mass and Metro West, trying to find the greatest places to walk. A lot of trails are not listed online so please give me a heads up if you have some place I should try. Thanks!