Five Hikes in Five Weeks: Autumn 2019

Photo Emily Lord

Join Forest Society staff guides to explore “Peaks and Valleys,” easy hiking trails to scenic Forest Society-owned destinations featuring sweeping views from uncrowded mountain summits to forested hiking trails to riverside destinations.

The “Five Hikes in Five Weeks” series is designed for families and beginning hikers interested in reaching new places, unsung destinations in different regions throughout New Hampshire. Hikes are a maximum of 3 hours and include breaks for interpretation, as well as ample stops for water and snacks.

“The Forest Society started the Five Hikes in Five Weeks series several years ago to introduce some of our favorite places to those who may not be aware that we have 185 Forest Reservations around the state,” said Jack Savage, vice president of communications for the Forest Society. “The hikes have been so popular, this year we have added a second opportunity to go on any given hike, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.”

Here is a brief overview of the Forest Society’s FIVE HIKES, IN FIVE WEEKS.

HIKE 1: High Merrimack River Floodplain, Concord on Saturday, Sept. 14, 9 a.m. to noon or 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
On the quieter, east side of Concord lies the Merrimack River Outdoor Education and Conservation Area (MROECA). This beloved destination boasts walking trails along the sandy bluff of the wide Merrimack River. Join us for a mostly level hike that will explore a silver maple floodplain forest, open meadows along the Merrimack River, beautiful wetlands along Mill Brook, and even a “spooky” pine plantation. We may spot ducks or dragonflies along the waterways, or see hawks above us as we travel. Please wear long pants.

HIKE 2: McCabe Forest Trails along Contoocook River, Antrim on Thursday, Sept. 19, 9 a.m. to noon or 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Join us for a late summer ramble along the Contoocook River at McCabe Forest in Antrim. This beautiful 188 acre property is located just a quarter mile north of the heart of Antrim village, and has old field habitat, former orchards, hemlock forests, vernal pools, and silver maple floodplain forest along the winding riverbanks. Cultural history is also evident in the stonewalls of former farms and remnant bricks from a brickyard at this location in the latter half of the 19th century. We’ll explore the 2 miles of trails looking for heron and kingfisher along the cool and shady Contoocook, and late summer wildflowers in the old pasture areas. Wear long pants and bring water and a snack to keep you energized during this easy hike.

HIKE 3: Ashuelot River Headwaters Forest, Lempster on Saturday, Oct. 5, 9 a.m. to noon or 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
This moderate hike has one of the best views for the effort in the Connecticut River Valley of New Hampshire. The Ashuelot River Headwaters Forest’s Silver Mountain Trail climbs though beautiful mixed woods and fall foliage to open ledges and the summit of Silver Mountain. Views from here are spectacular on a clear day, looking west to the Connecticut River and Vermont, east to Lovewell Mountain and north to Mount Sunapee. Please be sure to wear layers and dress for the sometimes chilly fall weather, and bring at least 2 liters water to stay hydrated as you climb. There is a steady uphill section to this hike, but it is not steep and the group will take plenty of breaks.

HIKE 4: Morse Preserve, Alton on Friday, Oct. 18, 9 a.m. to noon or 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
If you’ve heard of Mount Major but aren’t sure you’re up for that challenge—or would rather avoid the crowds—then Pine Mountain on the Forest Society’s Evelyn H. & Albert D. Morse Preserve is for you! Hike a gentle climb to a loop trail over the open summit of Pine Mountain for breathtaking views of Lake Winnipesaukee during peak foliage season. Learn about the history of the Morse Family Blueberry Farm on Alton Mountain Road and visit the remains of the historic Avery Farm cellar. Be prepared for chilly fall temperatures and dress in layers, as the summit of Pine Mountain may be breezy. Bring water and a snack to keep you energized.

HIKE 5: Powder Major’s Forest, Madbury, Durham and Lee on Friday, Oct. 25, 9 a.m. to noon or 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
This hike follows a woodland trail to the banks of the Oyster River and Dube Brook on Powder Major’s Forest. We’ll visit the “tri-town corner” where Durham, Madbury, and Lee come together, and the historic “Dishwater Mill” site on the Oyster River. We will share the history of Chief Moharimet whose ancestral home and planting ground included rolling open land along Oyster River. We will retell the story of the Powder Major, John DeMerritt, whose role in the American Revolutionary War earned him the nickname “Powder Major” and is the namesake of our newly acquired 193-acre Powder Major’s Forest. Please be sure to wear layers and dress for possible chilly fall weather, and bring water.

To register for one or all hikes visit,

The Forest Society is a private, non-profit land trust and forestry organization established in 1901. It currently holds more than 750 conservation easements statewide permanently protecting more than 125,000 acres of New Hampshire’s landscapes. The Forest Society also owns over 180 forest reservations constituting more than 50,000 acres in 100 New Hampshire communities.

Categories: Fall Fun