I love when I can find good trails in urban area's. When I explore trails near more populated areas I always worry that they could be trashed or unsafe. This trail was not like that at all. If you live in Manchester or are near here I highly recommend checking it out. Located on the Manchester/Goffstown lines is a great preserve. Manchester Cedar Swamp Preserve which is maintained by The Nature Conservancy. We did a little over a mile loop out to the Cedar Swamp, but there is an option to do another loop, Rhododendron Loop Trail. We did not do this trail, but supposedly in the early summer it is covered with Rhododendron flowers.
The Cedar Swamp Trail is fairly easy with a few small inclines and well marked. The trail meanders through the forrest. In the beginning there are some large boulders. We saw lots of mushrooms due to how wet of a summer we have been having. The cedar swamp itself is laid with boardwalks and reminds me of Loveren Mills Cedar Swamp Boardwalk in Antrim, but this trail through the swamp is a little longer.
I love walking through swamps like this as I feel like I am in a magical place where fairies could pop out at any moment. It is also fun to explore because I do not believe there are not a lot of cedar trees in New Hampshire, especially so many in one place. With all the rain and humidity we have had this summer the greens really popped and make you feel like you are walking through a rainforest.
If you live in or around the Manchester area and are looking for a hiking trail this is a perfect one. It is great for beginner hikers or for people with young children.
Directions on how to get there: The preserve is in the Hackett Hill section of Manchester, on the west side of the Merrimack River.
- From Interstate 93, take Exit 10 and head south on West River Road (a.k.a. Front Street).
- Go about 1 mile (crossing the town line from Hooksett into Manchester) and turn right (west and north) onto Hackett Hill Road.
- Go 0.7 miles and turn left (west) onto Countryside Boulevard.
- Go about 0.5 miles to where the road starts to curve right.
- You'll see the trailhead and sign on the left.
- The parking area will be on the left.