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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.

Miller State Park was established in 1891 as a memorial to General James Miller, hero of the Battle of Lundy's Lane in the War of 1812. Visitors can use the scenic auto road to reach the summit of Pack Monadnock Mountain (elev. 2,290').  Various picnic sites and walking and hiking trails, and outstanding views of Mount Monadnock and the entire region - on a clear day, you can even see the Boston skyline. Entrance is off NH Route 101, about 3 miles east of downtown Peterborough. 

This mostly timbered area is situated on 1,672 acres of North Pack Monadnock Mountain (northeast of Miller State Park) and contains a bog, swamp, bare rock ledge and cliff, and is a popular hawk migration area. The Wapack Refuge is known to be a great place for wildlife observation, photography, hiking, ski touring, and snowshoeing. No camping or open fires allowed. The Refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Sudbury, MA.

Located off Old Street Roadnear the Route 101 intersection, this trail winds its way east to Cranberry Meadow Pond and ends at the summit of Pack Monadnock. Visitors to the Cranberry Meadow Pond Trail will find themselves venturing through some of Peterborough's most beautiful conservation land, with quiet woods dotted with boulders, bubbling streams, and peaceful bodies of water. Please take an afternoon and enjoy all that this walk has to offer!

  • 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
A mix of habitat types provides an outstanding variety of plants and wildlife, accessed by a trail through open field and forest (172 acres; 2 miles out and back).  The trailhead is located on Old Jaffrey Road, half-a-mile from Route 202 at Noone Falls.  Park well off the pavement on the old farm road that parallels the open field (near mailbox #100).   The trail guide in the mailbox at the trailhead gives land history and highlights.

  • Seccombe Trail 
Created by the Peterborough Recreation Department on land donated by the Seccombe family, this short woodland trail starts near the Adams Playground pool on Union Street and leads uphill past the old Seccombe family cemetery. William Seccombe, a sea captain who served as a Lieutenant Commander in the Spanish-American War, is buried there, and gravestones also honor a son and daughter who perished along with 1,196 others when the Lusitania was sunk by a German submarine in 1915.  
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