Ashland State Park is a Massachusetts gem of over 450 acres that offers fishing, hiking, boating, and seasonal beach access to swim. This park is dog-friendly and offers activities for all seasons.
Where can I park at Ashland State Park?
The main entrance (and beach access) for Ashland State Park is located at 156 West Union St, Ashland, MA 01721.
On-Season Parking May 14- Labor Day
On-season visitors (May 14- Labor Day) can park in this State Park lot which charges Massachusetts residents $8 and non-Massachusetts residents $30. Resident and non-resident status is determined by the vehicle license plate so you’ll definitely want to find a MA friend for the trip. You can park fairly close to the beach in the paved parking lot within a 5-minute walk to the water.
Boat Launch Parking Year Round
If you are looking to launch a boat, you can access the boat launch parking at Spring St, Ashland, MA 01721. There is no fee to park here but spots are very limited on-season. Please note that this parking is directly adjacent to the road and may be dangerous for off-leash dogs (however, all dogs are supposed to be leashed within the park).
Off-Season Parking Labor Day- May 14
The main entrance (and beach access) for Ashland State Park is located at 156 West Union St, Ashland, MA 01721, however, this entrance/parking will be closed (pictured above) during off-season hours. Instead, park for free off-season at the Ashland Community Center 162 W Union St, Ashland, MA. Please note that since you will be unable to drive all the way up to the parking/beach access, there is about a 15-minute paved walk to the beach from the Community Center.
What facilities does Ashland State Park offer?
In addition to 450 acres of forest and lake, Ashland State Park offers picnic areas, benches, restrooms (only open May 14- Labor Day), grills as well as a boat ramp. There is a quarter-mile paved path from the parking lot to the reservoir so those in a wheelchair or stroller can have access to the water.
What can I do at Ashland State Park?
Ashland state park offers opportunities for biking/mountain biking, hiking, boating (both motorized and non-motorized), fishing, and swimming. Feel free to bring a picnic lunch or use one of the grills at the beach.
The beach is open all year (and water is safe to swim), but lifeguards and staff will only be on duty on-season May 15- Labor Day. Dogs are not allowed on the beach on-season. The maximum depth of the water is 50 feet, with the average being 24 feet.
The park offers a 4.6-mile loop trail that goes around the reservoir. The route is fairly easy but contains many roots and rocks not suitable for very young hikers or runners. Be sure to wear proper walking shoes- flipflops or open-toed shoes will not be suitable.
The Reservoir at Ashland State Park maintains a chilly temperate which allows for various species of fish to thrive. The reservoir is stocked yearly with trout but anglers have also caught largemouth bass in addition to brown trout, rainbow trout, and tiger trout. It is best to fish in the spring and fall and to arrive early to avoid crowds (and grab a parking spot). Remember to purchase your Massachusetts Fishing License which is required for ages 15 or older. (Licenses are free for MA residents ages 15–17 and age 70+).
In addition to fish, Ashland State Park contains ducks, swans, deer, and beavers. Be sure to keep an eye out along the trail for the various signs of beaver activity such as fallen trees or beaver dams.
Are Dogs Allowed at Ashland State Park?
Ashland State Park is very dog friendly and allows leashed dogs on the hiking trail. There are multiple spots for dogs to jump in the water along the route. The water is clean to swim in for dogs (and humans). May 14- Labor Day dogs are not allowed on the beach.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does it cost to visit?
On-season visitors (May 14- Labor Day) can park in this State Park lot which charges Massachusetts residents $8 and non-Massachusetts residents $30. Resident and non-resident status is determined by the vehicle license plate. Off-season visitors can park at the Ashland Community Center which is free. If you will be fishing remember to purchase a Massachusetts fishing license which is required for anyone over 15 years old MA resident or non-resident.
Is Ashland Reservoir clean?
Yes, the water is clean to swim for dogs and humans.
How is Ashland State Park different from Hopkinton State Park?
Ashland State Park offers a quieter, less crowded experience than larger neighbor Hopkinton State Park. However, Hopkinton is a bit larger and has additional activity options such as summer boat rentals that are not offered at Ashland.
What is the best time of year to go to Ashland State Park?
Summer is the most popular time of year, especially if you are looking to swim or kayak. Be sure to get there early to grab one of the parking spaces in the lot. However, spring and fall offer prime fishing and hiking temperatures and will be less crowded off-season. Keep in mind that the main parking lot will be closed off-season.
What are the hours of the park?
The park is open daily dawn to dusk unless otherwise posted.
Wrap-Up: Is Ashland State Park Worth it?
Ashland State Park is an underrated Massachusetts state park. It offers fishing, and swimming as well as dog-friendly hiking trails. Its peaceful scenery and 4.6 mile loop around the reservoir are well worth the visit in any season.