Garwin Falls

When it is warm I am always looking for places to take my dog or myself for a dip.  Located on Issac Frye Highway near Putnam Hill Road in Wilton is a nice little walk to two sets of falls.  There is minimal parking here so arrive early or go on a weeknight when it is not as busy.  The path is well worn and easy to follow.  About a quarter of a mile down the path there is a path off to your left and this goes to Upper Garwin Falls. This is the small of the falls, but still worth checking out. This appears to be a swimming hole, but it looked a little murky and my family and I did not feel we would swim here, but there is evidence that others swim here and it was perfect for our dog.  

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Don't stop there, as there is more to see.  Back on the main trail you walk past a dam, there was not a lot of water behind it, but my guess is in the spring the water is pretty flowing. My dog enjoyed the views. 

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A little further down the trail is evidence of an old home or some form of building with a cool rock foundation.  

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From the old foundation it is just a short walk down a hill to the Lower Garwin Falls and these are some beautiful falls. They are easy to get under and there is a small pool where people were swimming.  I'm still not sold on swimming here as the water in the pool did not look very clear, but I have seen on line that this is a popular swimming hole.  My daughter and I did enjoy dunking my head under the falls.  

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It is just a half mile to the Lower Falls.  Perfect hike for families, people just getting into hiking or someone who loves waterfalls like me.  I'm so excited to have another waterfall in the Monadnock area on my list.  

Magic Tree House Survival Guide

I am always looking for outdoor adventure books for my daughter.  On a recent trip to our local library she found the book, Magic Tree House Survival Guide by Mary Pop Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce.  She really enjoys this series and I was excited they had a survival guide.  

 

She read this book in just a couple days and was excited to share various parts of the book with my husband and I.  Below is her review of the book.  

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"Hi my name is Olivia and I am here to tell you what I liked about this book. The number one thing liked about this book is that this book teach's kids and adults how to survive the outdoors. Some of the things that I had learned are, what to do if I get lost and how to read a compass. I recommend this book for ages 5+ ."

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As a parent I like that the book was broken up into short stories that are only a couple pages long that explain in a language that kids can understand what to do if you find yourself in various situations in the outdoors like what to do if you fall.  As well as teaches you various outdoor skills like knot tying or how to find water. 

Anyone who has children ages 6-12 who love the outdoors I would highly recommend getting his book for them.   

Purgatory Falls

Southern New Hampshire does not have a lot of waterfalls, so I love taking the opportunity to explore the ones we do have in our area.  

Purgatory Falls is a series of three waterfalls.  The Lower falls starts in Milford and then goes up to the Middle Falls and finally the Upper Falls located in Lyndeborough.  The trail is about three miles from one end to the other. There is also an option for a side trail to a view point area. There are various parking lots along the trail if you do not want to hike the whole trail.  Check out the map for more information.     

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When I hiked the trail with my hiking group, we parked at the Upper Falls Parking lot on Purgatory Falls Road in Lyndeborough.  The small parking lot is on a dirt road, which is not a thru road. From the parking lot we walked down to the Upper Falls and then the Middle Falls.  The first part of the hike there is a single plank boardwalk.  A few minutes down the trail you come to the first waterfall. Make sure you stop at the top and look across the waterfall to the "devils bean pot." 

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Since we have not had a lot of rain recently, the falls did not have a lot flow to them, but they were still pretty to look at.  The lush greenery was also stunning.  The trail is very rocky and some of the rocks are slippery when wet and the trail can be muddy, so make sure you wear appropriate footware.  

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In between the Upper and the Middle Falls is a smaller cascade that is not named, at least not that I know of.  

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Shortly after leaving the Middle Falls there is a trail to the left that is marked with orange blazes that has a steady incline up for about a half a mile.  You then come to a field and an old road.  Look behind you and you have a nice view of North Pack and Pack Monadnock Mountains.

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From the view point we looped back around the class VI road to our cars.  At this point I have not checked out the Lower Falls, but I am putting it on my list of hikes to check out.  I would probably park at the Lower Falls Parking lot past Fitches Corner in Milford.    

Lower Falls

When I moved to Nashua, NH for college I greatly missed living near the lakes and woods of Northern Maine.  My first summer spent in Nashua, my now husband wanted to show me his favorites outdoor spots.  We spent most of our free time in the North Conway/White Mountains area.  One of the places that we visited frequently was the Lower Falls along the Kancamagus Highway.  We loved swimming along the falls and in the cool river.  

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We have not been there in many years, I would say at least ten.  Recently we were visiting Storyland and decided to stop to cool off on our way home.  It has changed A LOT since we last visited.  

My daughter and I went into the restroom to change and I was horrified by the condition.  Trash, toilet paper and dirty feminine products were all over the bathroom.  I felt so gross changing in there, that when we were done we changed in our car.  

There is a small cost of $5 to park and visit the area.  A positive change is that they have put in a boardwalk overlooking the falls area.  There are also nice walking baths on the side of the river along with picnic tables. There are plenty of opportunities for a picnic.  I did notice there was a lot of trash laying around. There was an information booth, but I did not see anyone in it.   

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As for the river and falls itself, it was still a lot of fun to swim and play around.  My daughter enjoyed sliding down the rocks and swimming up under the waterfall.  I also found it very relaxing to sit under the waterfall.  The day we visited it was not very busy, but I can imagine that on hot days it can be a very popular and crowded place. As much as I love waterfalls and being able to swim I feel there are a lot better places to swim and relax in the White Mountains than the Lower Falls . 

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McCabe Forest

Located on Route 202 about a mile north of the center of Antrim, NH, is a nice little hiking trail.  McCabe Forest is part of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.  There is a series of trails through the forest.

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They day I did the hike, a friend and  I did about a mile and a half loop through the woods, over wooden bridges, and along a river.  The trail is flat.  I did find the trails confusing to navigate due the multiple branches of trails and very little directions.  If I was not hiking with a friend it would have been difficult for me to figure out how to navigate, if it's your first time I would recommending bringing a map or taking a picture of the one at the beginning of the trail.

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 This is a great hike for someone wanting to get out for a easy hike. We did the roughly mile and half in 30 minutes.  The trails are perfect for families.  I liked the amount of wooden bridges, which are always fun for kids.  

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Cedar Swamp Boardwalk at Loverens Mills

Last winter my hiking group, Hike Like a Woman Monadnock, did a loop around Loverens Mills Trail in Antrim. A little over half mile from the start of the hiking trail is a side trail, Cedar Swamp Boardwalk.  I did not explore it during my winter hike as I knew it could be icy and wanted to save it for summer time, to enjoy the lush greenery.  

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Recently my daughter and I were hiking with friends thru McCabe Forest.  Since were were close by I wanted to take the opportunity to check out the boardwalk.  The parking lot is located off of Route 9 on Loverens Mill Road in Antrim.  The parking lot is across the bridge on the right.  The trailhead is across the street from the parking lot.  You follow the river up past an old dam, this is a great spot on the way back to stop for a small break.  If there is enough water, there is a small waterfall over the old dam.  

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As you walk past the old dam a few hundred feet the trail entrance for the Loverens Mill Trail is on your right. Walk less than a quarter of a mile and on the right is the trail entrance to the Cedar Swamp Boardwalk.  There is a trail sign on your left.  The boardwalk is starting to need some repairs as I found some of the boards were broken so use caution when walking through it  

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This place is magical.  The boardwalk is not very long, but the bright green moss and cedar trees are beautiful and worth the visit if you are in the area.  There is a sense of peacefulness when walking through here.  My daughter thought that fairy's lived there.   Click here to read more about Loverens Mills and the Cedar Swamp Boardwalk.  There are no pets allowed.  

Round trip was a little over a mile, but there is any option to do the 3 miles loop, which is a very nice hike as well.  The mile hike is great for young children and shows them the magic the forest can offer.    

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Trails at Willard Pond

I love a trails that provide an opportunity to cool off after a hike.  Willard Ponds offers an array of activities for the outdoor lover from various hiking trails, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding and swimming.

My favorite trail is the Tutor Trail that goes a little over a mile along the pond to a point with a very small beach area.  Along the way there are several opportunities for swimming.  It's also my golden retriever's favorite trail as she spends most the of the time in the water. If there has been a good rain there is a small waterfall about 3/4 up the trail on the left.  If it is flowing, you can get under it.   We frequent this trail a lot in the evening when we are looking to cool off on a hot summer night.  

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In addition to the Tutor Trail, there are also trails that lead to the top of Bald Mountain and a trail that go off to the south side of Willard Pond. I have gone up Bald Mountain, but it has been a few years and I missed the cut off trail to the ledges and ended up doing a big loop from the parking lot back to the pond.  It is on my list of trails to do again.  For more information about the Trails at Willard Pond check out the NH Audubon Website.

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In the summer, this can be a popular spot for paddling fun, swimming and hiking, be aware that on the weekend the parking lot can fill out quickly.      

Directions to Willard Pond: From Hancock Village go west 3.7 miles on Route 123 to Davenport Road on right. Go 1.6 miles, continuing along Willard Pond Road, and bearing left at fork, to parking lot

Almost Somewhere Book Review

“I still wasn’t ready to climb into a tree in a windstorm—I may never be—but I now understood the impulse to feel the vibration of a storm, to hear the heartbeat of the worlds.  John Muir got it right when he said the beauty fo this place can only be felt, not explained.” 

When Suzanne Roberts sets out with her college friends on a 28 day trip of the John Muir Trail I do not think she knew what to expect.  To anyone who has done any type of hiking day trips or long distances, it is not easy, there are struggles and challenges,  physically and emotionally, but in the end you can find yourself within the beauty of the great outdoors along with learning what is important in life.  

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Almost Somewhere by Suzanne Roberts brings you along her journey with her college friends through the 211 mile Muir Trail in California.  The three of them coming from different backgrounds and abilities, but are sharing a celebration of graduating collage by embarking on this journey.  Along the way they meet various people who hike with them, they run into struggles, physically, emotionally and within their relationships with each other, because lets face it is not always easy for three women to spend every waking moment together especially on a difficult thru hike. They experience the beauty of the great outdoors all while trying to connect with John Muir’s vision of this land.  In the end they all learn something from this amazing experience, about themselves and each other.  If you are looking for a feel good story about woman empowerment all while the various emotions you can feel while hiking a beautiful terrain, I highly recommend that you check out this book. 

To purchase this book, click on the link below.  

This post contains affiliate links for which I may receive a small amount of compensation at no cost to you.

Porcupine Falls

When I was recently visiting Distance Hill Nature Trails, we had the opportunity to speak with the owner.  We were talking about local trails in the area and he told me about a local waterfall. I have a huge love of Waterfalls, so when I can find one in the Monadnock area, I have to check it out.  

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 Porcupine Falls is located in Gilsum and is part of the Monadnock Conservancy.  The trail head is located off of Route 10 on White Brook Road.  You follow the dirt road to the end, where there is a small parking lot.  There is a kiosk with trail information at the trail head.  It is a little under a half mile to the falls.  The trail is well marked and there are some bridges and boardwalks that appear fairly new.  

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Since we had had rain the day before we visited, there was a nice water flow.  My guess is that the falls sometimes dries up depending on the amount of rainfall we have had.  The best time to visit would be in the spring or after a heavy rainfall.  There is a nice pool a little bit downstream from the falls that could be a good opportunity for cooling off.  It is also easy access to get under the waterfall if you want to get a nice natural shower.

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Since it is a short trail I would recommend checking our other trails while in the area like Bears Den.    

Distant Hill Nature Trail

I get asked frequently if I know of any stroller friendly walking paths. I usually am repeating myself with either the local paved rail trails or the handicap accessible trails at Crotched Mountain.  I am happy to announce that I have another local stroller/handicap accessible walking path.  

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Located on March Hill Road in Alstead is well maintained set of trails that people of all ages and abilities can enjoy.  I first discovered this place as it was named in the top 10 boardwalks to check out in New Hampshire and since we were already in the area heading to Hungry Diner, a must stop for lunch, we decided to check out these trails.

There is two sections to this area, the  Distant Hill Nature Trail, which are open daily. There are about a mile of trails with plans to expand. The Distant Hill Gardens which is actually located in Walpole, right next to the trails. They are only open on certain days and for special events so check out there Facebook Page for more information.   

The boardwalk itself is not very big or long, but it is built in a way that you feel like you are walking on top of the blog, which is really cool.

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 The trails are the most impressive part, my husband kept saying, "wow, a lot of work went into make these, they are really nice." My husband is not easily impressed. At this time there is about a mile of trails, with plans to expand.   

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There is also a children's nature playground, if you have followed me long enough to know that I love a good natures playground.  There is just enough structures here to keep kids entertained, but to also allow their imagination to wonder within the woods.  

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There are also vernal pools with signage.

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We only walked about a mile of the trail, but felt we could have spent a good few hours exploring the grounds, especially when the gardens are opened.  We did run into the owner, who was very friendly and explained he was trying to model his trails after the Crotched Mountain Accessible Trails, after he had taken a workshop with them.  I feel he is off to a great start.  If you are looking for a great way to spend an afternoon outside, Distant Hill Gardens in Walpole is a great place to explore.   

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Mt Caesar

As I have said in many previous posts, I love learning of new trails to explore.  A friend of mine recently told me about Mt. Caesar located in Swanzey and I was excited to check it out.  The trailhead is a little difficult to find.  It is located off of Old Homestead Highway/Route 32 across from Monadnock High School on a small road, Simeneau Lane.  On this road is a small Assisted Living Facility and the road loops around to a cemetery.  Between the cemetery and the Assisted Living facility is a small parking lot and the trailhead.  

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The trail follows a stone walls and the edge of the cemetary before heading off into the woods continuing to follow the stone wall and into a small field where you will see a small kiosk. From here you follow an old logging road about a half mile.  Then there is a fork in the trail, where the trail veers left, there is a sign nailed to a tree directing you to the top of the mountain.  The first part of the trail was fairly wet after a recent rain fall, so make sure you have appropriate footwear. Another half mile and you are at the top.  Once at the top there is a decent view of the area.  Off to the left is a lookout path to a ledge with better views of the area and Mt. Monadnock.  

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Roundtrip the trail is about two miles.  It is a gradual incline to the top, making it the perfect hike for young families or those beginner hikers who want to get a beautiful view.  

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Mines Falls Park

Spring time always brings an array of activities and goals for my family and I.  It never fails that spring sports and home ownership duties usually take over leaving little opportunity for exploring and outdoor activities which remains true for this spring.  Today, while running errands in Nashua I got the urge to get a little walk in, so we stopped and walked a few miles around Mines Falls Park.  

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A good portion of my husbands childhood was spent growing up in Nashua near these trails, so he did a lot of reminiscing while we got a couple miles in between errands.  I also spent a few years while in collage in Nashua, but did not frequent the trails as it was always rumored to not be the safest place, I believe over the years that has changed.

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There are about 10 miles of trails around the park, with various access points.  Today, we parked at Lincoln Park at the end of Coliseum Ave, past Hannaford in Nashua.  We did about a two and a half mile loop up to Mines Falls and along the Mills Ponds and Nashua Power Canal back to Lincoln Park.  The trail is very well maintained with people of all ages using the trails for various activities such as walking, running and bike riding.  We also saw some people fishing in various spots.  There was also some animal spotting of muskrats and birds.  My husband remembered it was always a great place to spot various sized turtles.   

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I felt very comfortable and safe walking along the trail and would absolutely walk these trails during the day alone, (always use your own judgement when walking a trail). I was also very impressed by the scenery for being in the middle of Nashua.   

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Next time I am in Nashua and need to get in a few miles outside, I will absolutely be stopping here again.   

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Sheldrick Forest

Located in Wilton, NH is a wonderful trail system that goes over bridges, follows streams and up and down rolling forest hills.  Sheldrick Forest is a great set of trails if you are looking to get out for a couple hours of easy hiking.  With the rolling hills and steep embankments, this may not be the best place for young children, but it is great for older children. There are about three miles of trails through Sheldrick Forest with the option of connecting to more trails at the Heald Track. I love how the trail has a couple different loops and also follows some streams so in the wet season you can enjoy the sound of a bubbling brook.  

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The trail is location on Town Farm Road in Wilton.  From Rt 101 turn onto Temple Road next to Oliver's Restaurant, after you got about .3 miles and cross a small bridge turn left onto Town Farm Road. The trail is about .7 miles on the left.  The road is dirt so travel with caution.  For additional trail information click here.    

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Evans Flat Trail

If you have looked at my website or read my blog you know I am always looking for new trails in the Monadnock Region.  When I was looking for an easy, short after work hike for my hiking group. I was again surprised to learn of a new trail close to the downtown area of Peterborough. The Evan's Flat trail is located at the end of Evans Road in Peterborough, NH.  When first looking at this trail I questioned it because I knew there were houses and stores near by and wondered what kind of a trail and how woodsy it would be.  

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I was pleasantly surprised at the beauty in this trail. You park on the side of the cul-de-sac, and there is a trail kiosk with information and a map.  Dogs are not allowed on the trail.  The trail has several boards that go over various streams and wet areas. The boards are loose so be careful when crossing them.  The trail is fairly flat and meanders through the woods and around the edge of a couple marsh areas, it does cross a power line and have a small incline.  The trail is about a 1.6 miles loop with the option of a cut off trail if you do not want to do the full loop.

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This is a great trail if you are looking to get in a quick hike without a long drive or for children as they always find running across boards fun.  

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Lake Potanipo Walking Path

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Located of Routine 13 in Brookline, New Hampshire is a charming little lake allowing an array of activities.  Lake Potanipo is popular year round spot.  In the winter it is frequented with snowmobiles and ice fisherman. In the summer swimmers and boaters.  There is also a a summer camp, Camp Tevya.  In the summer the beach is for residents only.  

I was recently looking for an easy walk through the woods that I had not done and never realized there was a path that went along the edge of the lake.  There is a small parking lot on the corner of Rt 13 and Mason Road.  Also located here is a rail trail that is dirt.  We did see a couple people mountain biking while we were walking.  

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The trail starts across the road from the parking lot.  You do have to walk through Camp Tevya, if you have a dog make sure you clean up after them.  After walking through the camp you walk along the rail trail that eventually leads to the center of Milford.  There is a couple signs pointing out some information.  There is evidence of an old ice house, which was kind of cool to see.  

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The trail does veer off to the left while the rail trail goes towards the right.  The trail takes you to a little point with a nice view of the lake.  It was about a three mile round trip. The trail is flat perfect for young children or someone who wants an easy walk.  

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Windblown Cross Country Ski and Snowshoe Center

Located on 1180 Turnpike Road, in New Ipswich is a wonderful family owned cross country ski and snowshoe center.  If you are looking for a great day of skiing or snowshoeing then Windblown is a must for outdoor lovers or those wanting to learn to ski or snowshoe.  They have trails for all abilities from beginners to experts and young to old.  If you need to feel more confident about your skiing skills lessons are available.  

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Are you looking to step up your outdoor game.  They have a small hut and lean-too's that can be rented year round.  I have not stayed in one of the shelters, but it is on my to do list.  What I have heard from people who have stayed there, is that it is a great experience.  

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My family and I spend a good amount of time at Windblown.  The trails are always well groomed and easy to navigate. The staff are friendly and eager to answer any questions you may have. We also like that the terrain is varied, we can get in a nice flat ski or if we want a little more challenge there are plenty of various size hills throughout the property.  Last but certainly not least, there are some pretty amazing views around the property.  My favorite is the view of Mt. Monadnock from The View Fields.

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We can spend multiple hours exploring the trials with plenty of opportunities at the various shelters to stop for a break.  If you are looking for a nice treat you can head back to the lodge for a hot drink and a yummy cookie or lunch.  

Anyone looking to get out and enjoy some winter fun make sure Windblown is one of your winter destinations.  

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Diana's Bath

Located on West Side Road in Bartlett, NH, is a little gem of a hiking trail in the White Mountains. Diana's Bath is a really special place to my husband and I.  When we were dating we spent many weekends in the North Conway area and would frequent Diana's Bath, especially on warm days.  Fifteen years ago this October, my now husband took me to Diana's Bath to propose to me.  Whenever we are in the area, we like to stop to reminisce about that moment.  

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The trail is a little under a mile up to the waterfall, from there, there are other trails that continue past the falls.  The trail to the waterfall is fairly flat, making this a really easy trail to walk and great for beginner hikers or families wanting to get out for hike with a fun reward in the end. One of the best part of the falls is there are plenty of opportunities on a warm day to get wet and play around in the falls. If you plan to visit on a warm day just keep in mind it can get very crowded.  The falls are also fun to visit in the off season as waterfalls a very beautiful with fresh snow or when they have started to freeze.  Remember always use caution when playing in and around waterfalls as the rock can be slippery resulting in injury.  

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Crotched Mountain Rehab Trails

Located on Crotched Mountain Road across from the entrance to Crotched Mountain Rehab Center in Greenfield is a parking area and access to some great hiking trails for families with young children.  There are two hiking trails at Crotched Mountain Trails, as well as other trails that lead up to the top of Crotched Mountain, which you can read about in my Crotched Mountain post. I love these trails because they are stroller and wheelchair accessible and great for little legs that may still be a little wobbly because the trails are flat and free of roots.  

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The Dutton Brook Trail is a two mile loop and has a observation deck overlooking a marshy area.  It has been over a year since I have been there, but the last time I was there, there was a storybook along the trail.  A storybook trail is where you walk along and read a page of a story posted on the trail.  My daughter has loved storybook trails since she started to read.  It is also great motivation to keep kids moving on the trail.  

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The Gregg Trail is a series of switchbacks, up to a lookout with a panoramic view. There is an observation deck at the lookout. The trail is a little over a mile and a half round trip. I have not personally been on this trail, but have heard that its a nice little hike with a pretty view.    

I love these trails because they are one of the most family friendly trails in the area and great for beginner hikers.   

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Exploring Cathedral of the Pines

I love when I get to explore new trails in the Monadnock Region.  A friend recently told me about the hiking trails at the Cathedral of the Pines located at 10 Hale Hill Road in Rindge, New Hampshire.  I have been there a couple times, but never on the hiking trails.  This morning I did an impromptu hike with my Hike Like a Woman Hiking Group, to check out the trails.  We parked in the parking lot and when looking at the cathedral, the trailheads are located down a small hill to the left.  From there are a few trails you can access.  To the right is Grassy Pond and Stearns Upton Family Trail near Grassy Pond.  To the left is the Podunk and Shaw Loop near Emerson Pond.  

 Grassy Pond 

Grassy Pond 

We started our hike by heading towards Grassy Pond with the goal to go around the Stearns Upton loop, but some how I missed the trail to the Stearns Upton Loop and we ended up at the outdoor cathedral.  Just proof that hiking never goes as planned. After enjoying the views we decided to check out the Podunk Trail that goes through the woods and along Emerson Pond.  This trail was a lot easier to follow.   We were all laughing because we encountered various kinds of trail conditions of ice, snow, mud, water, the heat of the sun and the trail being dry all in February.  If you decide to hike when there has been some melting wear waterproof boots as your feet could get wet.  

 Emerson Pond 

Emerson Pond 

Today we did about three miles, but I am excited to go back and explore the trails more.  The trails meander up and down some hill, nothing too steep.  The Grassy Pond Trail is a great one for kids.  There are benches in various places.  Foot bridges help avoid some wet areas. Overall this is a great trail for beginner hikers or families. 

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Furnace Brook Trail

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Located near the Souhegan Ambulance and at the base of Old Tenney Road in New Ipswich is a nice little path that follows Furnace Brook.  The trail was donated by a family that lives in New Ipswich.  The path starts out going down into the woods along the stream to the base of a small waterfall and part of an old rock wall.  This is a perfect spot to let your dog get a swim in if there is enough water.  Then the trail continues down along the stream for about a mile.  There is a snowmobile bridge that goes off to your left and a field on your right, both which are private property. This is a trail that you walk to the snowmobile trail and field and then turn around and walk back. The last time I was on the trail, in 2017, there were a lot of blowdowns  I'm not sure if anyone maintains the trail anymore.  If you are up for exploring the trail, I recommend long pants as there are some trees with thorns and some blowdowns the climb over.