Hiking Trails & Open Spaces
Like much of the Monadnock Region, Peterborough has a wealth of beautiful natural landscapes, many of which are accessible for public enjoyment and recreation in all seasons.
Click the image to the left to view the Peterborough Conservation Commission Trail Guide, which is an excellent resource for those looking to explore the best trails Peterborough has to offer. Click here for more information about our active Conservation Commission.
Administered by the US Army Corps of Engineers, this facility is named after the famous composer and concert pianist, Edward Alexander MacDowell. In 1907 his wife, Marian, established the MacDowell Colony for artists. Encompassing 1,198 acres, MacDowell Dam provides ample space for hiking, picnicking, fishing, equestrian trails, biking, and boating. Sheltered picnic area and playground make it great for families. Day use only. Free admission.
Managed by the division of Fish and Game, hunting is allowed on the 228 acres of Casalis Forest, so visitors are asked to wear plenty of orange for their safety during hunting seasons. There is a large pond for anglers and swimming dogs. The woods are some of the most peaceful and pleasing in the area. The trails connect with Temple Mountain trails and, if you are lucky and energetic, you can find your way over to the Wapack Trail system. Four wheelers are not allowed on the trails. You can access the park from Route 123 - Take Route 123 South from Route 101. After passing Bass Road on your left, watch for the sign on your left.
- Wheeler Trail
Close to downtown, this gem of a trail offers a short loop hike over easy terrain. Named for Coburn Wheeler, Conservation Commission chair from 1978 to 1989, the trail meanders through mature forest along Wallace Brook and has an open-field spur to a small pond (skating in winter), and links with Cranberry Meadow Pond Trail. Look for an old-growth white pine near the larger, upstream bridge. Limited parking, map, and trail book can be found at the trailhead, which is located on Route 101, .7 mile east of the Route 101/202 traffic lights.
- Rail Trail
The trailhead and parking are just beyond the Town Recycling Center on Scott Mitchell Road, off Route 202N. The trail follows the old B&M Railroad bed along the Contoocook River corridor well into Hancock (2.7 miles to Forest Road). It offers flat terrain for jogging and cross-country skiing, as well as a scenic riverside ramble.
Conservation of the trail was a project of the Peterborough and Hancock Conservation Commissions, the Harris Center, and New Hampshire Fish & Game, and land was donated by the Walcott family.
- Fremont Trail
- Seccombe Trail