One of the oldest of the North Quabbin’s many state forests - and one of the quietest - Mount Grace State Forest comprises almost 1,700 acres of mostly wooded lands spread over three parcels. Mount Grace itself is the feature of the central parcel, with the only official parking lot. This parcel also includes Ohlson Field and its pavilion, available for events, and an old picnic area.
Streetside parking affords access to the western parcel, home of the beautiful Stevens Swamp, and to the eastern parcel, with the pretty Richards Reservoir. This eastern parcel also surrounds the remains of a Depression-era "transient camp" for unemployed men; the site was used as a prison camp during the 1960s and ‘70s.
The white-blazed Metacomet-Monadnock Trail (the M&M) traverses all three parcels of Mount Grace State Forest and the summit of the mountain, and offers an Adirondack shelter for campers. Consult a state forest trail map for details; copies are usually available in a box at the former administration building.Directions:
To Mt. Grace section: From Orange center go west on Main St. (Rte. 2A) 1.3 mi. Turn right on Rte. 78, go approx. 6 mi.to Warwick center, go north 0.4 mi. to parking on left.
At 1,617 feet above sea level, Mount Grace is the high point of Mount Grace State Forest and, indeed, of the whole North Quabbin region. It was a popular downhill ski area for several decades during the mid-20th century. The now unused fire tower atop the mountain affords breathtaking views of Sunny Valley in Winchester, New Hampshire; Mount Monadnock in Jaffrey, New Hampshire; part of the charming center of the town of Warwick; and ridges, fields, and forests galore.
Two loop trails are possible. The first begins at a blue-blazed trail at the back left (south) corner of Ohlson Field behind the parking area, continues on an old fire road (the right-hand choice at a summit marker), and returns by either the southbound or the northbound portion of the white-blazed Metacoment-Monadnock Trail (the M&M). The second follows the blue-blazed Round-the-Mountain Trail from either corner of the field. Consult a state forest trail map for details; copies are usually available in a box at the former administration building.
From Rte. 2, take Exit 15 and take Rte. 122 into Orange center. Turn left (west) onto Rte. 2A. Turn right on Rte. 78, go to Warwick center, and continue north 0.4 miles to parking area on left, just after brown headquarters building.