Date Of Visit: May 26, 2018
Location: 570 Burnett Rd., Chicopee, MA
Cost: MA residents: $8, Non-MA Vehicles: $15 (seasonal passes are also available – info on seasonal passes can be found here)
Memorial Day – Labor Day
Sunday – Saturday:
9:00 am-7:00 pm
Labor Day – Memorial Day (weather dependent)
Sunday – Saturday:
8:00 am-4:00 pm
Parking: There are several parking areas that can accommodate roughly a few hundred cars. Parking does fill up quickly during summer weekend days.
Handicappped Accessible: Yes, the beach is accessible to all. But, some trails may not be accessible.
Dog Friendly: Yes
Park Size/Trail Difficulty: 562 acres/Easy to Slightly Moderate difficulty
- Leave early (at least on warm days) – there was a line of cars waiting to get in when we arrived at 8:55 (the park opened at 9)
- Chicopee State Memorial Park was formerly known as the Cooley Brook Reservoir and Watershed
- The park was the site of reservoirs built in 1896, 1912 and 1926 to provide water for the city of Chicopee
- “Chicopee” is a word originating in the Algonquian languages of eastern North America meaning “violent waters”
Fitbit Stats: 2.5 miles hiked, 433 calories burned, 5,333 steps
Highlights: beach, trails for hiking, running and cycling, wildlife, Vietnam memorial, fishing, picnic tables, pretty landscapes, sites for barbecuing, cross country skiing and snow shoeing during the winter (or more like fall, winter and spring in New England)
Website: Chicopee Memorial State Park
Trail Map: Chicopee Memorial State Park Trail Map
The main attraction for most visitors is the 25 acre pond that serves as a beach, restricted fishing area and area for dogs to play and swim in.
One visitor who was fishing with his grandson told me they caught kippers (a whole herring) and a large mouth bass.
The beach is the most popular part of the beach. There were lifeguards on duty (seasonally). While I was there, the little ones were busying themselves with a game of “Marco Polo.”
The views of the pond are pretty spectacular.
The paved trails, which are ideal for some cyclists and runners, are easy to slightly moderately difficult in some areas. They are manageable for most people of all age groups. For the more daring, there are some unpaved side trails to explore.
During our hike, I encountered a variety of wildlife. From the small minnows, robins and red winged blackbirds to the larger ducks and Canadian Geese, there is a variety of wildlife to appreciate at the park.
I also noticed this interesting web-like cocoon on a tree during my hike.
Upon further research, I found out this is a “caterpillar cocoon.” Tent caterpillars spin these large, web-like structures in trees or other plants to protect the developing larvae.
Chicopee Memorial also has picnic areas and barbecue grills. They also allow people to play music at a “reasonable volume” as Milton would say (bonus points if you get that reference).
As you exit the park, there is a memorial dedicated to all of the people from Chicopee who served and died in the Vietnam conflict. A very sober reminder during this Memorial Day weekend.
Chicopee Memorial park is a haven for dogs and dog lovers. I saw numerous dogs during our visit. One of the more popular areas for the dogs and their parents to congregate is the area just past the beach. An area is designated for the dogs to use. It is in this section of the pond that I met Maggie, a Black Lab who turns 2 tomorrow (5-27). Maggie had a fun time retrieving balls that her dad dutifully threw for her to fetch. She would often return the retrieved balls to me which was sweet.
Holly, my mom’s 11 month old Dutch Shepherd mix, loved the views from the side of the trail. I suspect you will be seeing more of her in my future photo shoots in Western MA.
As I was about to leave the park, I saw Bailey and I decided to get her photo. Bailey is an 11 month old Black Lab/Shepherd mix.