Saturday, August 3, 2013

Tolland State Forest in Otis, Sandisfield, Tolland and Blandford

This week, I explored some trails in the Tolland State Forest which spreads out over four Massachusetts towns: Otis, Sandisfield, Tolland and Blandford. I parked at the large pull-out parking area on Rte 8 in Sandisfield at Alan Road. I walked across the bridge and took the multi-use trail left along the Farmington River. It's a mostly flat, wide wooded path next to the river. It's a great walk in the woods if you don't mind that you occasionally hear the traffic on Rte 8, although you don't see it.

The easy path paralleling the Farmington River continues about a mile-and-a-half
until you come to private land or turn right up the mountain. 
Several small meadows along the way remind you of the area's farming history.
Then the trail turns right and climbs a steep hill to New State Forest Road. At the road I turned right and then right again at the intersection and walked past the entrance to the water treatment plant. Then I made a left on the Gilmore Trail which is a loop trail. It goes from the park, beach & campground entrance, along Otis Reservoir and through the woods to complete a wide loop (approx. 2.75 miles). Or you can opt for a shorter loop with an interesting Gilmore Trail Interpretive Guide. I returned to my car on Alan Road (dirt). About 6 miles total. The park trail map shows many more trails.

It was a nice walk, but nothing too spectacular. In some sections, I was swarmed by little midge-type bugs. Annoying!

Otis Reservoir is the 3rd largest lake in Massachusetts and heavily-used
for boating, fishing and recreation.
The park has beautiful lake-side campsites and a nice beach.

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