Wells State Park is located in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, near the center of the state. It is easily accessible from the Massachusetts Turnkpike – simply take exit 9 from either direction and follow the signs. The park encompasses 1,400 acres and is open year round with camping available from May through the middle of October.
This popular state park was established in July, 1968 to preserve the area’s inherent beauty and native species of plants and wildlife. In keeping with this goal all of the trails are for pedestrians, horseback riding and mountain bikes only – no motorized vehicles may be used. There are more than ten miles of established trails throughout the park for hiking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Wells State Park is simply a great place to relax and unwind while enjoying nature.
In the middle of the North and South hiking trails you can follow signs onto a smaller trail that leads to Carpenter’s Rock. This popular scenic vista is named after John Carpenter, a former resident in the area who owned and operated a saw mill for many years. There are also several other scenic landmarks that overlook Walker Pond and the surrounding woodlands.
Wells State Park runs the entire length of Walker Pond which is perfect for swimming, fishing, boating and canoeing in the summer months, as well as ice skating and ice fishing during the winter. A permanent boat ramp has been installed for easy access to the pond. Swimming is only available to campers so you will want to reserve one of their beautiful camping sites before you pack your swimsuit.
There are 60 established camp sites set up along many of the nature trails and paved roads that are suitable for both tents and RVs. Camp sites are rustic and there are no hookups, but there is a dumping station on the property so you can clean out your trailer or RV before you leave the park. Modern toilets and hot showers are available throughout the park. Advance reservations for camping are required – you can either call the campground office between 8 AM and 10 PM or reserve your site through their website.
Many visitors to Wells State Park use the campground as their home base when planning a trip to Old Sturbridge Village or other nearby attractions. Old Sturbridge Village is only five miles away from the park and is open year round. As one of America’s largest living history museums, you will feel like you have been transported back in time as historians dressed in period clothing show you what life was like in this small village between 1790 and 1840. There are 59 authentic antique buildings along with a working farm and three water powered mills. Your family can take a ride on a stagecoach, make some handmade crafts and have fun meeting all the farm animals.
Wells State Park offers a wide array of educational programs throughout the year, too so visitors can learn more about their natural environment. They seek to raise public awareness about the natural, cultural and historical resources of Massachusetts as well as foster a sense of stewardship towards the environment that visitors will hopefully keep with them for a lifetime. Topics such as identifying local bird species, winter hikes, animal tracking, and photography are offered periodically. They also offer a Junior Ranger Program for young nature enthusiasts, and strive to provide high quality educational programs that are accessible to those with disabilities. Many areas in Wells State Park are handicap accessible so that everyone has an equal chance to enjoy the great outdoors.
Wells State Park also encourages family fitness and one of their trails is designated as a “Healthy Heart Trail.” There are two playing fields set aside for sports related activities plus a separate paved regulation size basketball court. The park also encourages its visitors to “go green” by providing a recycling center for plastic and metal containers that would otherwise have been discarded.
To find out more about Wells State Park, the services they provide or to reserve a camping site visit their official website: http://www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/central/well.htm.