As a favorite pastime for
over 150 years, walking in the Mt. Washington Valley offers
participants a rich array of sweeping vistas and scenery. Just a
quick glance up from the sidewalks and trails of Jackson Village
reveals ponds, waterfalls, forests, and the other nooks and
crannies of the surrounding New England mountains and foothills. A
brisk walk is a great opportunity to not only breathe in the clean
mountain air, but to observe the sights and sounds of the unique
natural world that surrounds the Mt. Washington Valley and White
Mountains National Forest.
Walking here is a
four-season experience. In spring, visitors can see the forest
unfold and come alive. In the summer, the area's lakes and ponds
invite visitors to stroll barefoot along their shores. In autumn,
fiery foliage flares up throughout the valley in a brilliance
unequaled anywhere else in the nation. And during the winter, the
landscape takes on a stark, new dimension where the forest and its
animals adapt to a frugal, hardy lifestyle. All these sights and
experiences are a joy, and all are within easy walking distance.
| Jackson Loop
A scenic walk around Jackson Village, all on sidewalk.
About 1 mile; 30 minutes. The loop runs along Rte. 16A and Rte
16 in the village. Park behind the Jack Frost Shop.
| Whittaker Woods:
An easy walk to a quarry, all over flatland. At the stop
light just north of the Eastern Slopes Inn, turn east and park
under the pines away from the buildings in the John Fuller
School parking lot. The entrance is by the playground. The route
curves to the right through a sprinkling of red and white pines,
goes over the old Portland and Ogdensburg railroad tracks, then
past a four-way junction. At the next junction, bear right and
continue 0.6 mile to the quarry. 30 minutes to 1 hour.
An easy walk, on sometimes wet land, around the pond.
About 1-1/2 miles; allow for 1 hour. In North Conway, turn east
off of Rte. 16 at Locust Lane (just north of the Red Jacket
Inn). Continue 0.2 mile to the end of the road and park by the
old barn. The trail travels eastward from the parking area.
|Rail 'n River
This self-guided trail is enhanced by a free brochure,
which explains the natural features of the area and how they
relate to man. An easy walk on a modestly flat trail with few
steps. 1/2 mile; 20 to 60 minutes. The trail begins at the
Russell-Colbath House on the Kancamagus Highway.
An easy walk through a pine needle forest and then around
Falls Pond near Rocky Gorge. The pond was formed during the last
ice age, when a narrow ridge of gravel and sand drift was
deposited by a retreating glacier. Brook trout abound on the
Swift River and in Falls Pond. (There are license fees and
restrictions on fishing.) The trail commences at Rocky Gorge, 9
miles west of Conway Village on the Kancamagus Highway.
Accessible restrooms, parking, trash dumpsters, and hand-pumped
drinking water available. 0.7 mile; 30 minutes or so.
|Rob Brook Road:
An easy walk that features great views and a forest boggy
area. Includes many "watchable wildlife opportunities,"
according to officials from the White Mountain National Forest.
Spend as little or as much time as you want. From Rte. 16, take
the Kancamagus Highway 9 miles to Bear Notch Road. Rob Brook
Road is located 0.8 mile on the left.
|Deer Brook Road:
A part of the famous Nanamocomuck cross-country ski trail,
this path parallels the Swift River and is known for its many
side loops. The Forest Service says this one is also known for
its "watchable wildlife opportunities." From Rte. 16,
travel west 6 miles on the Kancamagus Highway at the Covered
Bridge. Walk over the bridge, and the trail will be to the left.
The length and time of the walk depends on the amount of
exploring you do. Arm yourself with binoculars, a camera and,
especially in the summer, lots of bug spray.
|Lost Pond and
This trail's a "double whammy." A short walk on
the Lost Pond Trail runs past beaver ponds, along a stream, and
through the forest to a scenic pond. About 1 mile. Allow 30
minutes. Then, starting from the Lost Pond Trail, the Square
Ledge Trail diverges left to reveal spectacular views of Mount
Washington and the Pinkham Notch area. About 1/2 mile; 20 or 30
minutes. Begin your travels at the pond across from AMC's
Pinkham Notch Camp on Rte. 16.
A short hike along a wooded path leads to a former fire
lookout station area with great views of the northern White
Mountains. 1.8 miles; about 1 hour. From the Dolly Copp
Campground on Rte. 16 in Pinkham Notch, take the Dolly
Copp/Pinkham Notch B Road, 2.3 miles to the trail head.
A 5-mile jaunt from the center of Jackson Village on Rte.
16B along the Wildcat River and Jackson Falls, through farmlands
and past mountain views. About 5 miles; allow 2 to 3 hours.
Steep in certain areas. Park behind the Jack Frost Shop in the
village or take the shorter route that starts at Jackson Falls
and take the cutoff road that avoids the steep hills by the
Christmas Farm Inn and the Falls.
Explore or picnic in the 500-acre preserve owned by the
town of Jackson. Look for old cellar holes and foundations, an
apple orchard, and the other remains of a once-active farm.
Becomes moderately difficult when the trail ascends a hillside.
About 2-1/4 to 4 miles; allow 2 to 3 hours. From Jackson, take
Carter Notch Road (the road becomes dirt about 4-1/2 miles
ahead), then continue 1/2 mile further to the fork. Park on the
left and follow the Prospect Trail.
The trail ascends North Doublehead from the east, and at
the summit has views to the east and toward Mountain Pond. 3.6
miles; about 3-1/2 hours. Steep in some places. From Rte. 16A in
Jackson, take Rte. 16B to Black Mountain and bear to the right
over the bridge on Dundee Road. The parking area is clearly
An easy loop around the pond. 2.6 miles; allow for 1-1/2
hours. Take Rte 16A in Intervale to Town Hall Road, then 6.8
miles to the trailhead.
| Boulder Loop
The Saco Ranger Station (just off Rte. 16 on the
Kancamagus Highway) offers a brochure for this self-guided
nature trail. It tells of the formation of the soil and the
origin and growth of the forest. A gradual climb with some steep
pitches, the path offers spectacular views of Mt. Chocorua and
the Swift River Valley. 2.8 miles; allow yourself plenty of
time, anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. The trail begins near the
Covered Bridge Campground on the Kancamagus Highway.
The grades to these beautiful mountain ponds are easy. 5.8
miles; allow 3-1/2 hours. The trailhead is 9-1/2 miles this side
of Lincoln on the Kancamagus Highway. A bit of a drive, but
A popular trail with easy grades, good footing, and superb
views of Crawford Notch. 2.8 miles; allow for around 3 hours.
The trailhead is located near the railroad depot on Rte. 302 in
|Black Cap Path:
This trail leads through a forest of spruce and beech to
the bare summit of Bear Cap. Great views of the Green Hill range
at its end. 2.4 miles; about 2 hours. From Rte. 16 in Intervale,
turn onto Hurricane Mountain Road. The trail head is 3.7 miles
to the right.
The Rocky Branch Shelter #1 is 2 miles up the trail,
making for a pleasant spot for a rest or a picnic. The walk here
is an easy one on a smooth trail. Round trip to the shelter is 4
miles; about 2 to 3 hours. From Glen, go west on Rte. 302 for 1
mile to Jericho Road, then 4.3 miles to the trailhead.
This walk starts in the Victorian Station next to Schueler
Park, where the railroad offers visitors a walking tour guide.
There are plenty of cars, as well as locomotives on display
throughout the station and property. Guests are cautioned that
the area is a working train yard, and that they are not to climb
on any railroad equipment or enter any buildings other than the
station and Model Railroad Room. However, they are encouraged to
ask questions of railroad employees who wear official name
badges. Look for a water spout, an old-fashioned mail bag stand
where speeding trains once picked up mail "on the fly"
without stopping, and an electric "wig-wag" crossing
signal, among other sights.
Walk cross-country ski trails. There was logging activity
here recently, so you can look for new growth. 2 miles round
trip; about 2 hours. The Oliverian Trail parking lot is located
12.7 miles west on the Kancamagus Highway from the Rte. 16
intersection near Conway. Add extra distance when you take the
cross-country ski west loop intersecting at the University of
New Hampshire trail.