It’s time to sleep under the stars in some of Massachusetts’ most beautiful unspoiled wilderness. From Mount Washington to the Berkshires, the Bay State is home to refreshing backpack campsites that bring you closer to nature. Here are our favorites.
Wilderness camping is allowed throughout the Appalachian Trail, which passes through Massachusetts in the Berkshires. Both long distance and day hikes find campers reveling in the lush green surroundings during the spring and summer months, and the brilliant fall foliage colors in the fall. Set up camp at the designated shared sites and follow their leave no trace policy—clean up after yourself and only have fires in the designated pits.
This is the highest point in Massachusetts. Situated in the northwest corner of the state, Mount Greylock towers 3,489 feet above taiga-boreal forest. Several hiking trails wind through the Mount Greylock area, including a portion of the beautiful and historic Appalachian Trail. There are several backpacking lean-to shelters in the area available year-round: Deer Hill, Wilbur’s Clearing, Bellows Pipe, Peck’s Brook, and Mark Noepel. There are no fees, and the sites are available on a first-come, first served basis. Contact the visitors center if you plan to backpack here to provide your name, phone number, and planned camping locations.
With forests of old growth northern hardwood stretching across 300 acres, Mount Washington is one of the most scenic areas to backpack in the state of Massachusetts. There are roughly 30 miles of hiking trails in the area, as well as opportunity for horseback riding, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing. There are also several backcountry campsites in the forest. Check out their maps online to find where they are. The sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis and can accommodate up to five people each. Be sure to follow their leave no trace policy and clean up after yourself when you pack up.
This is a truly unique camping experience. The Boston Harbor Islands camping opportunities span across four islands: Bumpkin Island, Grape Island, Lovells Island, and Peddocks Island. Each of these sites has several rustic campsites to choose from. Peddocks Island features several scenic hiking trails with wonderful opportunity for bird watching.
Situated between the towns of Petersham and New Salem in central Massachusetts, the Federated Women’s Club State Forest has plenty of primitive camping opportunities with sites available on a first-come, first-served basis. The forest sprawls across 1,000 acres with pine, maple, birch, and hemlock trees, enveloping backpackers in the beauty of the area. Activities include hiking, fishing, and cross-country skiing.