A natural world of wonder and green surrounds Concord NH
One of the wonderful things about Concord, NH, is it is a city set in the middle of New Hampshire – where most of the state is covered with trees or water. Just a few minutes from Downtown Concord you can be on a hiking trail, swimming on a lake or exploring the wilderness.
So here is our easy recreation guide of great green places near Concord:
A few miles south, in Allenstown, is New Hampshire’s largest state park. With more than 10,000 acres of forest, Bear Brook State Park welcomes hikers, mountain bikers and equestrian riders to explore around 40 miles of trails leading to marshes, bogs, vistas, and ponds. Adding to that there’s a campground with boat rentals on the weekends for campers, considered one of the most complete campsites in America.
But wait, Bear Brook State Park has more: two archery ranges (bring your own equipment), the New Hampshire Antique Snowmobile Museum, Old Allenstown Meeting House, and the Richard Diehl Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Museum. Most of the museums are housed in historic CCC buildings, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museums are open throughout the summer.
Also close by is Elm Brook Park, right off Route 127 near Hopkinton. This park sits next to the Hopkinton-Everett Lakes so many visitors enjoy swimming, canoeing and kayaking on Elm Brook Pool and Contoocook River. The park is good for fishing too, with an accessible boat ramp and dock, and abundant walleye, brook trout, sunfish and pickerel species. Elm Brook Park offers over 100 family picnic sites and four large group picnic shelters with tables and grills which may be reserved for a fee. There is also a playground area, horseshoe pits, basketball courts and a ball field, as well as a wildlife-viewing platform. Hikers can enjoy a multi-use trail near the Hopkinton-Everett Reservoir and a 1.5-mile interpretive trail that winds through the park.
Elm Brook Park is staffed by rangers who offer special programs on a variety of topics throughout the season from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day.
Caroline A. Fox gifted Fox State Forest , near Hillsborough, to the State of New Hampshire in 1932 to develop a forest for public use and maintain a scientific forestry research demonstration station in Hillsborough. The Fox Forest Trust has also provided funds for programs on natural resource management. The forest encompasses 1,445 acres and there is a 22-mile trail system that receives heavy, year round use by hikers, cross-country skiers, snow-shoers, hunters and mountain bikers. Fox Forest is also home to the Henry I. Baldwin Forestry Education Center, with a forestry museum and conference center open to anyone who wants to learn more about ecology and forestry.
Set on the south slope of Mt. Kearsarge, in Warner, we find Rollins State Park. Check out the 3-1/2 mile long scenic drive that rises from the park’s entrance through woodlands to the parking and picnic areas. The picnic area, located in a natural wooded glen beneath granite ledges, is historically referred to as the "Garden" and has views that stretch from Mt. Monadnock to the hills of New Hampshire's coastal plain. A one-half mile trail to the summit of Mt. Kearsarge leaves from the picnic area. Going to Rollins State Park is pleasing to the eye: the summits of Pack Monadnock, Crotched and Uncanoonuc Mountains, the hills of central Massachusetts, and the Boston skyline are all visible on the horizon, while the Mink Hills and Merrimack River Valley can be seen nearby.
Right outside Concord, and the closest one to the downtown, is Marjory Swope Park, surrounding Penacook Lake. Swope Park is a gateway to land conserved by the State, City of Concord, Society for the Protection of NH Forests, St. Paul’s School, and Rossview Farm. The Swope trail system near Long Pond Road in Concord has 3 different trails with lots of views. Starting at the trailhead you can go either right of left as the trail loops around.
Oak Hill, off the on Shaker Rd., a city park with lots trails to hike on easy-to-navigate trail system with good vistas to enjoy! It also has Oak Hill, an easy climb with an old fire tower at its top.
Winant Park is a scenic 85-acre city forest astride one of Concord’s highest hills that was created in 2009 in honor of former New Hampshire Governor John Winant and his wife Constance. It officially opened in 2012 under the care of Five Rivers. There are three connecting trails open for hikers and bikers, leading to one of the best views of Penacook Lake, and water tower and a large granite outcrop called Gilfillan Rock. The park was created so that Concord residents could enjoy a vibrant downtown with restaurants and a movie theater and, not even five miles away, find trails to get out and explore the natural world around Concord!