156 W Union Street, Ashland, MA, 01721
Loop, Packed dirt, Paved
Minimal (150’ Max)
Yes (For most amenities)
$8 Resident, $30 Non-resident
Fishing, Great walking trails, Nice lake beach, Amenities
Established in 1947 and still popular among MetroWest residents, this 157-acre Ashland Reservoir acts as the main attraction in this 460-acre State Park.
With waterfalls, fishing, and plenty of leisurely hiking trails, this could be a great day trip for all types of families and individuals. So, is it worth a trip to Ashland State Park? Let’s find out!
The entrance to Ashland State Park is located directly on MA Rt-135. If you’re coming from Hopkinton (west), then you’ll take a right immediately after passing Olive Street when you see the signs for the park entrance.
Coming from Framingham (east), you’ll take a left into this lot directly after passing Edgewood Drive. Once you pull in, you’ll see a playground on your right (with free parking). Keep going if you want to go to the main parking lot.
You’ll be greeted by a parking attendant between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and you’ll be asked to pay a parking fee. For MA residents, this will be $8, and $30 for non-residents, lasting until dusk.
If you’re willing to take a little extra walk, then you can easily find free parking in town. There are plenty of secret entrances into the park if you know where to look (like the locals do).
During the off-season (Labor Day to Memorial Day), the main parking lot will be closed, but you will still be able to park by the playground for free with a quarter-mile walk to the trails and other amenities.
Things to Do at Ashland State Park
Unfortunately, there are no campsites available on the premises, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a great place for a day trip. Here are some of the activities you can enjoy!
We wouldn’t exactly call these “hiking trails”, but they are excellent for a nice walk. Most of the trails are a combination of packed dirt with some pavement, and they are mostly flat.
If you want some nice views, take a lap around the Ashland Reservoir. A lap will take 4.6 miles, and you should be able to complete it within two hours. You’ll see people fishing, kayaking, and swimming on the beach but still be away from all the noise!
Boating & Paddle Sports
This, along with Hopkinton State Forest, is one of the most popular kayaking destinations in the MetroWest area. The Ashland Reservoir has a 3.7-mile perimeter but is very long and the water is still, allowing for a nice, relaxing kayak trip.
Motorized boating is allowed in the reservoir, but with a speed limit of 12mph. There are also boat ramps accessible on the reservoir!
The Ashland Reservoir is easily the most popular fishing destination in town, and there are designated spots for it. For the most part, you’ll find largemouth bass and bluegills in the reservoir, along with other common species native to the area.
This small lake beach is a very popular destination for families in the area, but it gets rather crowded during the weekends. The MetroWest area is filled with business professionals, so we suggest coming during the week if you want to avoid the crowds, as everybody will be busy at their jobs in the city!
While the trails aren’t well-maintained in the off-season, you can still enjoy some cross-country skiing around the reservoir. You can’t park in the main parking lot, but there is parking near the playground by the entrance open year-round.
Picnics & Parties
Ashland State Park is a popular location for anyone in the area to throw birthday parties. Families from Ashland, Framingham, Hopkinton, and surrounding towns throw birthday parties here during the warmer months, where they can rent a pavilion and decorate it.
Just keep in mind, any decorations must be applied with tape or thumbtacks. No duct tape, nails, or staples may be used in the pavilions.
Like all of Massachusetts’ State Parks, there are plenty of important rules to understand, including:
- No alcohol permitted at the park
- Any cyclist under the age of 16 must wear a helmet
- Children must be attended at all times
- Pets must be attended and leashed at all times
- Leave no trace
- Pavilion reservations are not weather-dependent (no refunds for rain)
If you have any questions or need to book a specific reservation, you’ll need to contact the MA Department of Conservation & Recreation.
Honest Review of Ashland State Park
As a young adult, it’s a great place to take a walk in the area. The trails are fairly quiet compared to the beach and fishing areas, but I’d still take a further drive to get out of such a crowded area.
However, it’s very challenging to find a lack of crowds anywhere in the Boston metro area, so if you live around here and the crowds don’t bother you, then by all means! It’s certainly a great place to connect with nature in an otherwise unnatural area.
For families, it’s definitely a gem. It’s very apparent that everything in this park was designed for family use, so pack a picnic, bring your dog (on a leash), and enjoy the best of Ashland, Massachusetts!
See the Park for Yourself!
All in all, Ashland State Park is a great family destination in a fairly high-traffic area. If you’re looking to get away from the noise around here, then we suggest coming in the off-season or during the week!
It is a great place to visit with a convenient location, but it doesn’t exactly top any of our lists. However, if you have children or pets in the area, then, by all means, enjoy!
As always, feel free to share your experiences with Ashland State Park in the comments below, and keep reading our blog for our latest reviews of your favorite New England destinations!
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