Monroe State Forest
featuring Raycroft Lookout
The Monroe State Forest , in the towns of Florida and Monroe, was established in 1924 with an initial purchase of 1600 acres. Through subsequent purchases it has grown in size to over 4000 acres.
The primary uses of the forest are wood production, wildlife habitat and recreation. Although there are no intensive recreational developments on the forest, the Department of Natural Resources, in cooperation with the New England Power Company has constructed 9 miles of hiking trails, 3 “Vermont” shelters and several “pack-in” campsites for public use.
A trip through any portion of the Monroe State Forest will provide the traveler with the opportunity to observe the variety and beauty of nature firsthand. This will be particularly true for those who are afoot and take a leisurely pace.
It is interesting to note that many areas on the Forest were cleared for agriculture in the 1800’s. The Forest has reclaimed these fields and pastures, but the cellar holes and stonewalls remain; stark memorials to the rugged individuals who wrested a living from the rocky soil. With the exception of the most inaccessible areas, almost all of the Forest has borne one or more crops of timber. The Raycroft Lookout in the southern part of the Forest affords an excellent view of the Upper Deerfield Valley. Several vistas on Spruce Mountain and adjoining ridges provide hikers with excellent views of the surrounding countryside and distant peaks.
If you choose to spend some time here please be careful with fire and leave only your tracks so that those who follow you may enjoy the area as you have.