Hidden Gem Hikes in the Upper Valley

Posted by Sarah Powell on Aug 14, 2018 Sarah Powell
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A dog with backpack running in woods

No matter the season, there are some great places to go for a short hike in the Upper Valley, where you can get away from crowds and find yourself in a quiet, natural spot to enjoy the birds, foliage, or a conversation with a friend.

We thought we’d share a few of the great trails that are “hiding in plain sight.” On the whole, these are more advanced trails that are more challenging than a walk down a country lane or rail trail, but not as tough as summiting a mountain. 

  • Hypertherm Trails. Located at 21 Great Hollow Road, in Hanover, New Hampshire, Hypertherm, Inc., generously allows the public access to a network of packed earth and dirt trails that extends for 2.6 miles. The single track trails were originally designed for mountain bikers, but they are open now to walkers, runners, and snowshoers. The trails pass by massive boulders, moss covered rocks, meadows, and streams. Not all the trails are marked, though, so you may want to carry a compass or GPS. You’ll find the trailhead past the main building at Hypertherm, in the uppermost parking lot. Just follow the driveway until you reach a basketball court on your right.
  • Bill Ballard Trail. This four-mile, packed earth trail in Norwich, Vermont, runs parallel to Charles Brown Brook and Beaver Meadow Road. It’s a trail with lots of ups and downs, footbridges to cross over streams, and a sight that has come to be known as “The Grand Canyon of Norwich.” The trail is limited to foot traffic. Dogs are allowed, but bikes are not. Three parking areas off Beaver Meadow Road provide access to the trail, and roadside parking is available as well.
  • Wright’s Mountain Trails. Seven miles of paths and old logging roads crisscross the highest peak in Bradford, Vermont. Wright’s Mountain rises more than 1,800 feet, and if you climb all the way to the summit, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the Waits River Valley. The trails are open year-round, but the 443 acres of forest are open to hunters. So if it’s hunting season, be sure to wear your brightest colors. Two parking areas provide access to the trails, both of them off of Route 25. You’ll find Devil’s Den Trailhead 4 miles from Bradford’s only traffic light, on Chase Hollow Road. Wright’s Mountain Trailhead is 5 miles from town, on Wright’s Mountain Road.
  • Cross Rivendell Trail. On a nice day, you can get on this trail and just keep going, for 36 miles, through four towns and two states—Orford, New Hampshire, and Vershire, Fairlee, and West Fairlee, Vermont. Ten different trailheads provide access to the trail, and from Mount Cube in Orford to Flagpole Hill in Vershire, you can climb six different summits. The trail surface is a combination of packed earth, dirt, and paved road.
  • Connecticut River State Forest Trail. This trail in Charlestown, New Hampshire, is just 1.3 miles long (one way), but it will give you a good workout. The first mile is a steep, uphill climb on an old logging trail that leads into the forest. After that, it levels out until the trail ends at Lamb Road, an unmaintained Class 6 road. At that point, most folks turn around and go back the way they came. If you want, however, you can take a long, scenic route from Lamb Road to Meany Road and come back around to where you started. You’ll find the trailhead on a dirt road just beyond Charlestown Primary School on East Street.

Want some more Upper Valley hiking ideas? Check out our blog post and pull on those hiking boots!

Topics: Upper Valley, Local Interest