Sutton State Forest
The Sutton State Forest is located in Sutton, Massachusetts and offers miles of hiking trails. Rarely found by visitors, you often have the entire trail complex to yourself. Note that the trails are not well marked, so bring a GPS-enabled phone or a great memory!
Here is a map of the Sutton State Forest. Note that Google thinks the top part is Purgatory Chasm State Park and the bottom part is the Sutton State Forest. But in real life it doesn't seem to quite work like that. Rather, Purtagory Chasm and its associated trails is a small subset of the northernmost green chunk. Everything else around Purgatory is the Sutton State Forest, and also all the bottom chunks are also part of Sutton State Forest.
Purgatory Road goes through the top chunk of green. There's a ranger station on Purgatory road and trails to the north and south side of that road. To the north is one Spring trail. To the bottom are a few Chasm trails. That complex area is the Purgatory Chasm trail network. There are no other trails besides that in the northern chunk of forest. There rest is left natural, and there are deer and other animals in there.
There is one, single trail which goes from that top area to the middle area. Ironically it's not where the green actually seems to connect. Rather, it goes across the open white space. It's about where the light grey line goes down from the word "Chasm" down to Mendon Road. When you're at Purgatory Chasm, when you reach the end of the chasm, or the point on Charley's Loop that's furthest from the entrance, you reach a small trail that goes south over a bridge. If you keep following that trail for about a mile it ends up at Mendon Road.
Now, for the trails in that middle chunk of green. To me this is what I call the "Sutton State Forest" trails since they are separate from the Purgatory trails. The Sutton State Forest trails start from a small sign-hut on Mendon Road. The red dot marks where that sign hut is. There is probably 4-5 cars worth of barely-off-street parking here, i.e. you have to park on the side of the road. Usually there's only one car here if any. From this point you can only head south onto the one main trail. That trail then has side-paths you can go off onto.
It can be VERY confusing walking in the Sutton State Forest. Many of the trails are not marked. There is also some confusing ownership of land going on in here. The Whitinsville Water Company owns a large chunk of land and has no tresspassing signs. However, some of the land is public access. There are no online or in person maps that I can find anywhere so these maps I made with our GPS seem to be the only ones anywhere that lay out this area. So I highly recommend carrying a GPS if you go in here, so you can get back out.
Here's a map I made based on the "ownership map" which is hanging in the sign kiosk by the parking area. It shows how the Whitinsville Water Supply land, and their land that they have open for public access, intermingle with the Sutton State Forest land.
So, again, the parking area for that central green chunk is the red dot. The main trail then goes southeast from there. You can see the trail in white. That white line that goes down to the corner of the pink area is not a "road" - that's the main walking trail.
The trail is generally overgrown, with downed trees, thick grass, and few if any markings. So expect some fairly rough hiking in this part of the Sutton State Forest. If you prefer more manicured trails, you might do better up at the Purgatory Chasm trail network.
Here are more detailed trip notes and maps.
Sutton State Forest Trail Map
Sutton State Forest - July 2012 photos and notes, taking the "straight in, straight out" Trail
Sutton State Forest - August 2012 photos and notes, taking the five mile loop to the right
Purgatory Chasm - part of the Sutton State Forest
John H Dudley Recreation Area - part of the Sutton State Forest
Top Ten Things to Do in Sutton MA
Staying Fit in Sutton MA - ideas for things to do
Sutton Massachusetts Photos Main Page
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