Does the sound of Satan’s Kingdom sound frightening to you? Don’t worry- it’s not some Halloween folklore. Although it does have a creepy backstory to its name, Satan’s Kingdom, Massachusetts, is actually a beautiful forested area with many unmarked trails. So if you’re wanting to stop by a quirky place in the New England area, check out this little known community during your trip.
History of Satan’s Kingdom
Separated from the eastern part of Northfield by the Connecticut River, Satan’s Kingdom is the unofficial name of the western area. According to Herbert B. Parsons in his 1937 book, A Puritan Outpost: A History of the Town and People of Northfield, Massachusetts, a preacher once gave an incandescent sermon about hell’s damning fires to the attending people living in the community. Following the sermon, one of the patrons exiting the church building saw that a forest fire was burning on the other side of the Connecticut River.
Parsons wrote that it was, “observed that Satan’s Kingdom was burning,” although, “there was no malice in the name, the west side being populated by families held in the highest respect,” meaning that the coincidental supernatural occurrence surely had nothing to do with the citizens of the town. But you can imagine how creepy it must have been to hear about the burning pits of hell in church, only to walk out of the building to witness exactly what you had just heard.
This is not to be confused with Satan’s Kingdom State Recreation Area in New Hartford, Connecticut. Located on the Farmington River, that place was known to be a safe haven for those who were considered as society’s outcasts during the 1800s, according to Wikipedia.
What to Do in Satan’s Kingdom
According to the Boston Globe, Satan’s Kingdom is an unincorporated community in the town of Northfield, Massachusetts, in Franklin County near the Vermont border. Home to 1,800 acres of forest, swamps, and streams, the Satan’s Kingdom wildlife management area is owned by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. And although you can follow the official Satan’s Kingdom Trail, there are also plenty of unmarked trails that are just as popular for hikers.
Satan’s Kingdom Trail is a 2.61-mile long trail that will take you through forests and past an old abandoned cabin (I promise, that’s probably the only creepy thing you’ll see!). It follows an old logging road from Old Vernon Road to the top of a ridge, where you can have a panoramic view of the gorgeous vast valley. The old logging road is also popular for ATVs and snowmobiles, but beware if you check out an unmarked trail ? it’s easy to get lost, and cell service is very poor.
Hikers who have been to Satan’s Kingdom remarked how quiet and tranquil their hikes were. You can marvel at the field of wildflowers and watch grouse foraging along the way. So if you’re looking for a rare area in the northeast to go hike, Satan’s Kingdom just might be for you. And don’t worry, there hasn’t been any reports of the place being haunted. So if you’re still spooked by the name, you can rest assured that there really is nothing to worry about.
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