Last Visited: Saturday; May 5, 2012
What to do here: F. Gilbert Hills State Forest is a large forest area that borders town forest conservation land in Foxborough (Harold B. Clarke Town Forest) to make a combined parcel that is fairly large (the state forest is over 1,000 acres by itself). The land is used by several different groups of people for recreation and should have space for everyone. Uses include the following:
- Hiking: F. Gilbert Hills and the surrounding town forest land is great for a quick hike with several trails criss-crossing it. There are enough trails to keep one busy for quite awhile if you’re a serious hiker. There is also a ‘Heart Healthy Trail’ at F. Gilbert Hills that is part of the Department of Conservation and Recreations goal to have relatively easy to moderate in difficulty and are meant to be used on a regular basis to encourage people to get out and exercise. This is a statewide program with trails at locations all over Massachusetts.
- Horseback Riding: There are several trails that horseback riding is permitted on in this state forest. Please be aware that you will be sharing the trails with other users including hikers and mountain bikers as well as Off-Road Vehicles during the warmer weather.
- Mountain biking: Many of the trails at F. Gilbert Hills are also open for mountain biking as well as horseback riding. The trails are pretty wide and should have plenty of space for everyone to share. They are also gentle enough that novice bikers should be comfortable using them. As with horseback riding please be aware that you will be sharing the trail with other users including equestrian users and off-road vehicles.
- Off-Road Vehicles: Off-Road vehicles are allowed to use this park during the designated season which runs from May 1st to the last Sunday in November. Please be aware that you will be sharing the trails with other users and that motorized vehicles are not allowed on several trails.
- Hunting Hunting is permitted in the park during the various seasons for different types of wildlife. If you aren’t a hunter make sure wear bright blaze orange and put blaze orange on your pet if you choose to visit during hunting season.
- Picnic & Grilling areas: There are several designated picnic areas and some include grill/fire spaces. F. Gilbert Hills is also full of great places to sit down and enjoy a spontaneous packed lunch or snack while you are in there.
- Cross-Country Skiing & Snowshoeing: If there is enough snow on the ground the many trails in F. Gilbert Hills are great for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
- Dog-Friendly: F Gilbert Hills is a great place to take your dog, just please plan to pick up after your pooch. Also, please keep your dog on a leash in case you run into a horseback rider so you don’t spook them and put a bright orange handkerchief if you’re visiting during hunting season.
- Full-Service Camping: Though not part of F. Gilbert Hills, Normandy Farms Camground is right up the road and is a full service camground with facilities for Recreations Vehicles. Check out their website for more information.
Favorite Activities: I’ve enjoyed hiking in F. Gilbert Hills and definitely want to take my bike out for a spin in there as I’ve seen quite a few happy bikers on the trails. The mountain biking trails in the park didn’t appear to be super narrow or technical with space to maneuver.
How to get here: There are 3 parking areas at F. Gilbert Hills including the park headquarters on Mill St. in Foxborough, an area off Thurston St in Wrentham (turns into West St. in Foxborough) and High Rock Road in Wrentham. Both the Thurston St area and the High Rock parking area are accessed via Route 1 North which can be accessed by Interstates 95 (exits 1 and 9), 495 (exit 14) and 295 (exit 1 in Massachusetts) with ease. To get o the park headquarters use the following address on your GPS device:
45 Mill St.
Foxborough, MA 02035
Mill St. can be access from Thurston St off Route 1 (Mill St will be a left off Thurston St after passing the Normandy Farms Campground). Coming from Route 140 and Foxborough Center, go around Foxborough Common and take the exit for South St. Mill St will be right off South St and there is a brown sign for F. Gilbert Hills at that turn.
Facilities, Fees and Other Information: There is no parking fee at F. Gilbert Hills and the park is a minimally developed area. The only facilities are at the park headquarters on Mill St in Foxborough.