Guests at the October Country Inn (check us out) often ask where they can rent a kayak or canoe, or just hang out at a nearby lake. We recommend the Plymouth State Park on Echo Lake. It’s close by, it has a large grassy area with shade trees, picnic tables, and a sandy lakefront beach. Boat rentals are available, and the lake is great for swimming or wading. Also, there’s a vista trail from the park that climbs to a great view of Echo Lake.
The Echo Lake vista trail’s round-trip distance is about 1.5 miles, and the trail climbs about 1,500 feet to an elevation of about 2,000 feet. The trail is well marked with blue blazes, in both directions, which make it a good candidate for winter snowshoeing as well as summer/fall hiking.
The trail-head can be found on the mountain side of the park where the paved portion of Scout Camp Road turns to dirt. The trail starts by following the remnants of an old road under the canopy of a mixed hardwood forest of birch and beech that serviced the nearby Tyson-Pollard Cemetery. After about .1 of a mile, a vista trail sign marker signals a turn to the left off the old road. This blue blaze marked trail begins to ascend and goes through red oaks and red spruce as it ascends to higher elevations.
This trail combines again with the old cemetery road and passes through the upper end of the old Tyson-Pollard Cemetery. At this point the trail narrows and starts to climb in earnest. The upper section of the trail is rutted, rocky, and quite steep in sections. If taken slowly, however, it’s not that strenuous. Fortunately, it is not very long.
In short order you will emerge into a small clearing that provides a great view of Echo Lake with some of Okemo Mountain’s ski trails visible in the distance. The view during fall colors is even more dramatic. Once you get back to the lake, go for a well earned dip to cool off.