south mountain pawtuckaway state park

Highlight: View of Boston skyline to the south on a clear day. Mount Monadnock is one Mountain Trail, Pawtuckaway State Park, Nottingham. Spring Mountain Ranch State Park (Nev.) N.H.) Odiorne Point State Park (N.H.) Pawtuckaway State Park (N.H.) Pine Island Park (Manchester. Tower Name: Abenaki Fire Tower; Mountain: N/A; Town: Tuftonboro; Height (above sea South Mountain Lookout Tower. robbie6oh3 · Pawtuckaway State Park.

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I think I speak for almost everybody when I say, I’m glad winter’s over. If you, like me, are among the 50% of UNHers from out of state, you might be wondering why you thought New England was a good idea. (Unless, of course, you are professional snowman builder. If that’s true, you had the best time ever this winter.) There are a few things I could mention in New England’s favor, like maple syrup, cider doughnuts, and how it’s the birthplace of the guy who invented Tupperware. But what I want to talk about is hiking. It wasn’t until I began wandering around in the woods—and eventually up mountains—that I learned to love New England. Our trails are studded with rivers, footbridges, cascades, and giant rocks that hitched rides on glaciers thousands of years ago (these are called “erratics”). There’s a chance you might see moose. There are more than 120 different mountains in White Mountains National Forest, and many of them offer stunning, make-you-reflect-on-the-bigness-of-the-universe-and-your-place-in-it views. The tallest of these, Mt. Washington (6289 feet), once held the record for highest wind speed in the world after a gust in 1934 was recorded at 231 miles/hour.

But you don’t need to venture up Mt. Washington to get why New England hiking is so wonderful. (In fact, it’s nowhere near the best view—but more on that in a future post.) There are plenty of gentler hikes that’ll give you a taste of why hiking is, as they say around here, “wicked awesome.” (You might even find yourself singing this song on a summit or two).

Here are 5 beginner hikes you can try:

A Beginner’s Guide to Hiking in New Hampshire

Photo courtesy of

5. South Mountain, Pawtuckaway State Park
Trail information

South Mountain makes this list because it is (A) relatively close to campus, (B) gentle, and (C) there’s a fire tower on the summit. (Who doesn’t like fire towers and not driving very far?) It’s located in Pawtuckaway State Park, about half an hour from Durham. The trail to South Mountain is called, appropriately, Mountain Trail, and is about 2.5 miles each way. The view from the summit (885 feet) isn’t great, but that’s what the fire tower’s for: you can climb up and get a nice view of Pawtuckaway Lake to the East. Park admission is 5$/person.


4. Mt.Major
Trail information

Mt. Major’s summit (1786 feet) offers a sublime view of Lake Winnipesauke.  There are three trails from trailhead to summit, which means you can do the hike as a loop rather than an out-and-back. My favorite of these, the Boulder Loop trail, includes a section of rock scrambling. No matter which trails you take up and back, it’s not a long hike (3-4 miles), but if you’re an inexperienced hiker, some of the steeper sections will challenge you.


3. Lonesome Lake AMC Hut
Trail Map

The Appalachian Mountain Club’s website says its huts were originally built to “provide shelter” for hikers of the New Hampshire section of the Appalachian Trail. “Shelter” isn’t the word I’d choose, though. Think #TrailsideLuxury. The Lonesome Lake Hut, which is just a 1.5-mile hike from the Lafayette Place Campground on I-93, overlooks a beautiful, serene, sparkling mountain lake. And if you lift your head five inches, you’ll get a panoramic view of Franconia Ridge. It’s idyllic as all get out. You’ll say things like, “This is like,” but then you won’t think of anything it’s quite like, and you’ll trail off in awe. But it gets better: you trail off while sprawling on the hut’s deck and eating whatever fresh baked goods the hut’s wood elves have made that morning. (Okay, they’re not elves, they’re AMC trail volunteers, and they can teach you cool things about nature if you ask nicely.)  If you’re feeling strong and brave, you might plan to continue from Lonesome Lake up Cannon Mountain, one of the many 4000-foot peaks in the White Mountains.


2. Mt. Willard
Trail information

New hikers will find the Mt. Willard trail, a 3.2-mile out-and-back, fairly challenging. However, you’ll get to see a waterfall, and when you do reach the summit, you’ll be well-rewarded with an incredible panoramic of Crawford Notch. You’ll want to bring a camera for this one. You might bring lunch, too, though you could also buy a delicious sandwich and eat it at one of the AMC Highland Center outside tables, which is at the base of the mountain. Depending on how quickly you finish the hike, you could head down to Diana’s Baths, a series of cascades and natural swimming holes, to cool off.


1. Arethusa Falls and Frankenstein Cliff
Trail information

This is one of my favorite loop hikes in the White Mountains. It’s the most challenging trip on this list, but it offers great views and a waterfall. And not just any waterfall—Arethusa Falls features an approximately 140-foot drop, one of the largest in New Hampshire, and possibly the most impressive.  After you’ve seen the falls, continue on to Frankenstein Cliff, a big rock slab whose summit (roughly 2400 feet) offers a nice, open view of Crawford Notch. This is an excellent spot for eating Nutella, by the way. (What’s a bad spot for eating Nutella, you ask? Fair point. Still, I recommend this one.)  From the trailhead to the Falls is 1.6 miles, and the entire loop is 5.


Even though I’ve called these beginner hikes, you should still prepare responsibly. The following is a basic list of stuff you’ll need:

      • Plenty of water
      • Appropriate footwear: waterproof, comfortable, and with tread.
      • Snacks/lunch (my personal favorite hiking snack is chocolate-covered almonds)
      • Map (in a Ziploc for rain protection)
      • Compass
      • Rain coat
      • Sunscreen
      • Headlamp/flashlight
      • Matches/lighter
      • First Aid kit

It’s also a good idea to tell somebody where you’re going. Even better, get somebody to go with you!  Hiking is a great group activity. Plus, you won’t have to take a summit selfie.

A Beginner’s Guide to Hiking in New HampshireAnd it shouldn’t be too hard to get somebody to go. UNH is full of people who already love hiking. The Campus Recreation South mountain pawtuckaway state park Adventures program offers a variety of trips you can sign up for. And you could even just lead your friends across the street to College Woods for an afternoon—no driving required!  So next weekend, skip the gym, and go walk around in south mountain pawtuckaway state park woods. True New Englanders do their walking (and running!) on trails, not treadmills.


south mountain pawtuckaway state park South Ridge Trail

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E-Bikes Unknown


Part of the Pawtuckaway State Park system of trails, the South Ridge Trail has some real bonuses to it, and some brutally difficult terrain.

About 3/4 of the way up Mountain Trail, just a bit before you hit Tower Road (if you hit Tower Road, you missed the trail), you'll come to the sign for South Ridge Trail. Head right and prepare yourself.

The trail starts off fairly tame, but once you get about 1/4 of a mile in (maybe less), it takes a turn for the brutal. The trail becomes extremely steep, and not only this, the rocks just get bigger, and bigger, and bigger, to the point where basically, not only are you hiking your bike, but it's quite difficult even to hike with your bike. Be especially careful on the rocks you DO attempt to ride; if they are wet they will be VERY slippery.

About halfway through the trail, you'll be rewarded with a nice view from atop a big rolling rock. Just after this, look to the south mountain pawtuckaway state park, and you'll see the fire tower. The trail is a little harder to south mountain pawtuckaway state park at this point, but basically after you see the fire tower on your right, you'll head down to your left, down a couple rock stairs and then the trail will become apparent. Also keep your head up, as the trail is marked by white reflectors on trees, and pretty uniformly, so if you pay attention to these you won't get lost.

The down is not as treacherous as the up, but there are still some hike-able moments, including a tiny rock gap where you'll have to hoist your bike up. Take in the massive rock splendor here - it's quite the view.

The rest is a mix of relatively steep, semi-technical downhill. Watch for a bridge on your right about 3/4 of the way through - this will be Shaw Trail coming in. Finish out on some steep switchbacks down to Round Pond Rd.


Shared By:

Zachary Wagner

South Mountain Park Hiking Trails Map

Viana, perched in a commanding position overlooking the city of Logrono, appeared two hours before I reached it. I had not stayed there before but it imparts lingering memories. The small town centre was quiet as I passed, looking for the Albergue Andres Munoz, tucked away down a side street near the ruins of south mountain pawtuckaway state park Iglesias San Pedro. The locals don’t emerge until around eight in the evening, when they eat and drink to their heart’s content during the cooler hours.

I squeezed in the dormitory room, sharing with seven Italians. The room was stifling; a weak breeze drifted in through the window. I tried to unpack without disturbing anyone as they took an afternoon siesta. As usual, albeit cramped, the albergue is large and well cared for.

South Mountain Park Hiking Trails Map Photo Gallery

There are far more places to stay on the route now than when I first walked the way in 2002. Private accommodation has sprung up everywhere but the real gems are still those run by the local church groups. Open to everyone, they are basic, clean, and expect nothing more than a donation. Many offer communal evening meals, a chance to meet a few others, and if prayer is your thing, many will accommodate a service in the evening. I always prefer these places; they hold great memories.

Logrono, a large metropolis, shimmers in a heat haze at 7.20am as I ascend from Viana. Vineyards appear – wine has been produced for at least 2,000 years since the Romans brought vines to the upper Ebro valley. The grapes are just turning to reds, peeking out from beneath vivid green leaves in stark contrast against the red soil and blue sky.

Still falling to the city, I pass the small house where Dona Felisa used to sit outside in the shade stamping pilgrim’s passports. Sadly, she died in 2002 at the age of 92 but her daughter carries on the tradition. The beautiful inscription left in your passport reads ‘Higos – agua y amor.


South Pawtuckaway


From South Pawtuckaway.

At 908 feet, South Pawtuckaway is the second highest summit in Pawtuckaway State Park and is also home to many of the State Park's best views. The summit is also home to only Fire Tower in the Park. Though the summit is wooded there are plenty of areas to scramble and climb on the summit area which having great views of the region.

From the top lookout tower your can see the Uncanoonucs, Mount Monadnock, the seacoast and many other summits in the region. Views often surprise people because this summit is not very large. In summertime this peak can be crowded due to the easy access to the summit from 2 mile roundtrip 600' elevation gain Tower Trail located on the western side of the park.

This summit is highly desired in early spring and late fall when many other trails are already snowcovered and the summit here other great south mountain pawtuckaway state park views. Though the Tower Trail is steeper and direct, it is short enough for all fitness levels. If time is slim and you want to find a summit that provided bang for the buck you will fnd it with this gem.

From South Mountain Fire.

Getting There

VIA South mountain pawtuckaway state park ROAD: From exit 5 head north towards Raymond. Continue on the road until you run into Route 27, 107. Head left on route 27/107. Stay on Route 27/107 for four miles when Route 107 will split on your right. Take 107 roughly three more miles (two mile past the Derryfield sign) and continue to Reservation Road on your right. Turn right on Reservation Road and State on the road which turn to gravel in roughly a mile. Stay on Reservation road and at about 2.5 mile you will run into an intersection between with the two main dirt roads in the western section of the park, Round Pond Road and Tower Road.

Red Tape

No fees on the Reservation Road. However on the State Park side there are fees.


Camping is not allowed on the mountains themselves. However Pawtuckaway State Campground is located on the eastern side of the park (Mountain Road (Fee)).

External Links

General State Park Information

Printable Park Map


View South Pawtuckaway Image Gallery - 6 Images


Pawtuckaway State Park

Pawtuckaway State Park is a 5,000-acre (20 km2) preserve in New Hampshire, United States. It is one of the largest state parks in southeastern New Hampshire[1] and is named for Pawtuckaway Lake and the Pawtuckaway Mountains. The park extends from the west shore of the lake to the west side of the mountains.


1957 topographic map, showing lake and ring dike

The Pawtuckaway Mountains are a small, rocky, circular range that form the outline of an ancient volcanic ring dike[2][3] dating from 130 to 110 million years ago (Cretaceous).[4] The ring dike, first completely mapped in 1944,[4] is a smaller and more accessible example of the same kind of geological process that formed the Ossipee Mountains to the north. The inner ring is roughly one mile in diameter, while the outer is measured at almost two miles.

Earthquakes occurred in the vicinity of the ring dike in the summer and fall of 1845. Known as the Deerfield explosions, they were described as subterranean noises "often as loud as the report of a 12 pounder cannon when heard at a distance of half a mile" but without echoes.[5] They were the subject of much speculation at the time.[6]


The park lies within the Northeastern coastal forestsecoregion.[7]


Aerial map of Pawtuckaway Lake and part of Pawtuckaway State Park (green overlay); the southeast quarter of the ring dike is visible in the upper left corner

The park has 32 miles (51 km) of hiking trails. Trails lead to the approximately 900-foot (270 m) summits of North and South Pawtuckaway mountains and connect the ring dike area to the lake. Other hiking trails lead to ponds, boulder fields, and views of the lake. Some of the hiking trails are used in the winter as snowmobile routes. The Pawtuckaway ring dike includes a boulder field of interest to bouldering climbers,[8] and the park is a popular destination for geocaching.

The lake is a 783-acre (317 ha) water body with numerous islands and coves and is a popular boating, fishing, and swimming destination. Since orienteering enthusiasts made an orienteering map of the park in 1992,[9] the park has become a venue for major orienteering meets, including foot orienteering and canoe orienteering.[10] The venue is shared by several orienteering clubs in New England, including Cambridge Sports Union, New England Orienteering Club, and Up North Orienteers.[9]

Park amenities include 5 cabins, 195 campsites, a boat launch, a swimming beach, camp store, ball field, playground, bathhouse, shelters, picnic tables, and canoe, paddleboard, and kayak rentals.[11]


The area was originally composed of many brooks which collected in low spots and formed small ponds, such as what was then known as Pawtuckaway Pond. Some of the brooks that ran through the area eventually ran into the Pawtuckaway River. Both the North River and the Pawtuckaway River then ran into the Lamprey River.

The construction of two colonial sawmills marked the beginning of enlarging the small ponds. On the north end, in 1729 a sawmill enlarged Pawtuckaway Pond. On the south end, in 1732 another sawmill enlarged Dolloff Pond.[12]

Beginning in 1825 the Newmarket Manufacturing Company began to acquire land in the area for the construction of a reservoir to supply a consistent source of water power to its textile mill in nearby Newmarket, downstream from the lake.[13] In 1836 two dams and several dikes were constructed that changed the features and character of the two ponds, causing their waters to merge except when the water levels were drawn down.[14]

Eventually, steam power replaced water power, and gradually less water was drained from the lake to generate power. As water levels rose over time, Dolloff Pond and Pawtuckaway Pond merged into a single body of water. When the Newmarket Manufacturing Company fell on hard times in the early 1920s, it closed its mill in Newmarket. Its interests in the lake eventually passed into the hands of the New Hampshire Electric Company, which outfitted the dams with generators for hydroelectric power. Ultimately, the production of electricity became unprofitable and in December 1955 NH Electric deeded the lake, its islands, its adjacent land, two dams, the dikes, and the water rights to the State of New Hampshire.[15] In 1958 Dolloff Pond was officially considered merged into Pawtuckaway Pond, and the level of the pond is now managed for recreational and environmental uses.[12]


  1. ^New Hampshire GRANIT databaseArchived 2013-08-03 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^Sherry Godlewski (Fall 2003). "Pawtuckaway Rocks"(PDF). Bear-Paw Print. Deerfield, New Hampshire, USA: Bear-Paw Regional Greenways. III (II): 1 and 4. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2011-07-25.
  3. ^"Pawtuckaway Ring Dike". Retrieved 2008-10-16.
  4. ^ abG. Nelson Eby (August 1995). "Third Hutton Symposium on Granites and Related Rocks: Pre-Conference Field Trip: Part I: White Mountain Magma Series"(PDF). p. 23. Retrieved 2008-10-18.
  5. ^Moore, Jacob Bailey (1893). History of the town of Candia, Rockingham County, N.H.: from its first settlement to the present time. Manchester, New Hampshire: George Waldo Browne. pp. 325–327.
  6. ^Meriam, Ebenezer (February 1, 1847). "New Hampshire correspondence [Letters concerning the Deerfield explosions]". New York Municipal Gazette. I (46): 660–661.
  7. ^Olson, D. M, E. Dinerstein; et al. (2001). "Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World: A New Map of Life on Earth". BioScience. 51 (11): 933–938. doi:10.1641/0006-3568(2001)051[0933:TEOTWA]2.0.CO;2.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^"Pawtuckaway Ring Dike". Retrieved 2008-10-18.
  9. ^ ab"UNO Map List". Retrieved 2008-10-14.
  10. ^"Gould Home Page, Orienteering Section, Introduction". Retrieved 2008-10-09.
  11. ^"Pawtuckaway State Park", New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation
  12. ^ ab
  13. ^"A plan for the development of the state property at Pawtuckaway Lake." August 1958, p. 7
  14. ^Town of Nottingham, NH - Town HistoryArchived 2014-05-22 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^"A plan for the development of the state property at Pawtuckaway Lake." August 1958, p. 1

External links[edit]


Pawtuckaway State Park Trails

General Description

Volcanoes, glaciers and trails built by mountain bikers are a recipe for excellent mountain biking. Pawtuckaway State Park lies at the center of https www t online de login Dragons Eye, a ring of steep hills – the Pawtuckaway Mountains. Eons ago when a seething cauldron of molten lavabeneath the eye exploded up through circular cracks in the overlying bedrock; ring-like ridges were formed that are the present day North, South and Middle Mountains.

About 21,000 years ago, the  Laurentide Ice Sheet, a continental glacier covered most of Canada and a large portion of the northern United States. As it receded, it "snatched" huge sections of rock off of North Mountain, leaving a trail of monolithic glacial erratics that stretches from the valley floor to the base of a steep sided North Mountain cliff face. This area, nestled in the notch between North Mountain and Rocky Ridge, is affecionately called the "Boulder Field" by park rangers, rock climbers, hikers and mountain bikers.

32 miles of trails offer a diverse range of mountain biking experiences and the opportunity to explore the park's 5,600 acres via double track fire roads and singletrack trails. Trails lead to many special points of interest, including a mountain top fire tower, boulder fields and marshes teeming with wildlife. Along the way you will encounter stories of those who have walked the land before evident in place names, stone walls and Pawtuckaway Lake.

This is also a very popular bike and beaches, family camping and mountain biking destination. Park facilities include the Pawtuckaway State Park Campground - campsites and cabins available, a camp store, bathhouse, restrooms, picnic area, swimming beach with roped off swimming area, boat launch, canoe and kayak rentals, ball field, playground and more.

Some family members may want to take a rain check on blasting the Split Rock Trail. The New Hampshire "Power Of Parks" nature program features guided hikes, interpretive tours, and imaginative environmental workshops for children and families.

Pawtuckaway State Park Mountain Bike Trails Description

Don't let the park's distant fiery and icy past scare you. The focal point of the 5,500 acre park remains the Pawtuckaway Mountains in the northwestern portion of the park, with North Mountain summit at 1,101 ft., being the highest point in Rockingham County. The South Ridge Trail, Mountain Trail and The Tower Trail climb to the Fire Tower atop the summit of the 908 foot-high South Mountain.

While the hilly and rocky terrain, phantasmagoric boulders and steep sections present intermediate and advanced technical challenges there are miles of trails for more mellifluous mountain biking experiences within the eastern portion of Pawtuckaway State Park. This area encompasses the lowlands between the mountains and Pawtuckaway Lake. Mountain Brook, a small perennial stream percolates through the area and ends in Mountain Pond, an inlet of Pawtuckaway Lake. You will find yourself biking through beautiful hemlock - beech - oak - pine forest, cruising along lily pond dotted marshes, around and over streams, peatlands, herbaceous wetlands, firing up some vertical boilers, ringing rock boulder fields and s-curving between trees.

Some of the best mountain biking experiences can be found on the mountain bike trails built by mountain bikers – the Woronoco and Split Rock Trails. Tthe Fundy Trail provides an easy scenic ride with excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.

Trail conditions vary seasonally. Some of the hiking trails are used in the winter as snowmobile routes. Mountain bikers should possess the necessary knowledge, skill, and equipment to ensure their own safety. While some trails are well marked, it is possible to lose your bearings in this large state park.

Fundy Trail

Mileage / Blaze: 2 miles (one-way)

For those looking for an easier mountain bike ride, this doubletrack fire road offers some bumps and rocks along with lake views as the trail edges Fundy Cove, an arm of Pawtuckaway Lake and skims along the west side of Fundy Marsh. For wildlife photography or watching, try a bike ride in the early morning or evening when the beavers, deer and great blue herons are likely to be out and about. Trail conditions vary seasonally - leaf strewn trails, fallen trees, flooded areas and a beaver or two.

There are also options to try more difficult singletrack on the connecting Shaw Trail and Woronoco Trails.

Trail Access

Starts across the road from the entrance to the group picnic and camping areas.

Woronoco Trail

Mileage / Blaze: 2.1 miles (one-way)

This fun, hardpacked "wandering" singletrack trail was built by the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA). It officially opened in 2005. The trail twists and turns in a large half circle into the quieter center of the park through open hemlock - beech - oak - pine forest and around forested swamps,lily pad dotted marshes and moss covered boulders. Technical challenges include boulder skirmishes, twisty and svelte s-curves around tree trunks, long descents, hill traverses, and lots of several stream and wetland crossings via bridges, boardwalks and raised platforms.

Trail Access

From the main park entrance, off Mountain Road, where the Woronoco Trail meets the Mountain Trail there is a gate. You can park along the road.

Via Fundy Woronoco Trail junction. See Fundy Trail access.

Split Rock Trail

Mileage / Blaze: 1.3 miles (one-way)

The trail, built by NEMBA in 2010 is a connector between the Shaw Trail and the Woronoco Trail. Boulders in a variety of odd shapes and sizes border the trail. Some have split in half or clam shelled at the baseline. The ride will have you demonstrating powerful geologic forces through some technical sections and navigating several stream crossings. The Split Rock Connector offers an out and back ride and the opportunity to make circuit and longer mountain bike rides using connecting trails.

Trail Access

Trailhead can be reached via the Fundy Trail from the end of the Fundy Boat Launch Area or from the parking area near the camp store.

South Ridge Trail

Mileage / Blaze: 2 miles (one-way)

If you aim to take on the challenging climb to the 908-foot summit of South Mountain, the South Ridge Trail circles around Round Pond before climbing up the south ridge of the mountain. While this is the least strenuous option in terms of trail steepness, the challenge is it's rocky ridges with large areas of exposed rock in the form of ledges and slabs, as well as small cliffs. The carrot? The breathtaking, panoramic views from the summit ledges on the way up and at the top.

Trail Access

Trailhead can be reached via Round Pond Road off of Deerfield Road.

Middle Mountain Trail:

Mileage / Blaze: 0.9 mile (one-way)

Eroded, sometimes rocky jeep road geared for those who enjoy the challenge of a steady, strenuous, continuous climb. The route gets harder and steeper as you proceed up from the base - Tower Road access. The steepest sections about halfway up have been clocked at a 17.3% grade. This mountain bike ride requires finesse with the right pacing, approach, technique and making the most of the long gentler grades and switchback sections. Rest at the ledge outcroppings and return the way you came. Exercise caution – there are blind hairpin turns and other trail users to consider.

Trail Access

Trailhead can be reached via Tower Road.


Trail Highlights and Points Of Interest

Bikes & Beaches

Pawtuckaway Lake, a 784-acre reservoir provides the closest state park camping area to the seacoast.  Cool off after your bike ride by taking a dip in the roped off beach swimming area.

Wooded campsites are situated along the lake shore, Neal's Cove and Horse Island, a small islet located in the center of Pawtuckaway Pond / Lake which is accessed via a footbridge. The family friendly campground and the cartop boat launch area bridges provide access to State Park Road and the Fundy Trail, which can be used to access other trails in the park. The water level of the lake is managed to maintain separate summer and winter target levels.

Kayaking, canoeing and fishing are also popular activities in and around the lake. When the area reaches top people capacity, which happens early in the day during peak summer season, visitors are turned away for safety and other reasons.

Scenic Overlooks: Firetower

The Fire Tower, erected by the state was built in 1915 on South Mountain, which at the time was part of the George W. Goodrich farm. The Fire Tower was rennovated and the cab rebuilt in 2016 to accommodate a fire warden whose job it is to survey the surrounding forests for signs of fire. The delight from the summit are the 360 degree views that encompass Pawtuckaway Lake, Middle Mountain and North Mountain.

Natural Features: Pawtuckaway Boulder Field

As early as 1878, New Hampshire's state geologist and Governor, Benjamin J. Prescott, came to see the Pawtuckaway Boulder Field. It is said that the discovery of these boulders was made at the instigation of the Governor, who was disturbed because no boulders were found in this State equal to those known to exist in neighboring states.

Today, it’s known to climbers nationwide and the world. Several clusters of these gray monoliths provide rock hopping, boulder climbing and natural jungle gyms. The largest of the boulders at  62 feet long, 40 wide, and about 40 high, known as "Churchill Rock" is locatedon the south side ofNorth Mountain.

"Boulder Natural", one of the most popular fields, offers a variety of climbs within a square quarter mile area. Glacial erratic megaliths rise up from the forest floor and between the trees in a variety of atypical formations.

Trail Access

From Reservation Road, turn left onto left onto Round Pond Road and continue to the Boulder Trail.

Wildlife Watch & Photography

From the ground up to the tree canopies and the ring-dike summits, a unique biopshere exists on every level. Whether you paddle around the islands of Pawtuckaway Lake, mountain bike or hike the trails along mountain ledges or through the eastern wetlands – opportunities for photo ops and wildlife watching abound in every season.

You'll encounter plants with names that will tickle your tastebuds, optic and olfactory nerves – climbing fumitory vines with white or pinkish flowers that grow south mountain pawtuckaway state park large clusters and appear in summer; dwarf huckleberry, a blueberry-like shrub; mushrooms, wildflowers like Pink Lady Slippers, Wild Columbine, Saxifrage, Red Trillium, Bloodroot, Coltsfoot  and the rare bright yellow Early Buttercup, which appear on the hillsides just after the snowmelt.

Look for beavers, great blue herons, turtles, amphibians and waterfowl in the wetland environents. Deer roam Pawtuckaway "land of the big buck". Once wiped out of the Granite State by habitat destruction and over-hunting, the wild turkey has been reintroduced into the park.

The best time for bird watching is from April until October. Pawtuckaway is the only known breeding location in New Hampshire for the beautiful Cerulean Warbler. Listen hard for the soulful cry of the northern Loon.

Don't pick or eat the flowers or disturb the wildlife, no matter how good they look.

Historical Note: The Land Of Sticks And Stones

Many visitors have come to the Pawtuckaway area over the millenia. Prior to 1825, the area was an extensive wetland habitat crisscrossed by mostly brooks and streams. At high water periods, water ran into the lowlands, what is now Pawtuckaway Basin.

Some were just passing through and others came to settle and eke out a subsistence from the land. Algonquin Natives called the area "the land of sticks and stones" and Pawtuckaway rolls off of native tongues as "land of the big buck". Stone walls, signs of logging operations and rows of trees that once lined pastureland can be seen along the trails. Cemetary headstones also tell the names of 18th century settlers that left their mark on the land. Pawtuckway Lake is the result of dams and dikes that were built on the Pawtuckaway River to provide hydropower to the Newmarket Manufacturing Company, a textle milling operation.

In 1915, when the Fire Tower was erected, it was recognized that the area would be ideal for a state reservation. In 1923, a 60-acre property on Middle Mountain was purchased, the first parcel of land that would form what was to become Pawtuckaway State Park.


Route I-93 & I-95 are the gateway highways to New Hampshire. south mountain pawtuckaway state park I-93:Take Route 101 east to Exit 5 and follow signs to Pawtuckaway State Park.

From I-95: Take Route 101 west to Exit 5. From Exit 5 take 156 North approximately 1.5 miles. Turn left onto Mountain Road. The main entrance to the Park is about 1 mile ahead on the left.

Parking fees apply.

More Information

Pawtuckaway State Park:
7 Pawtuckaway Road
Nottingham, New Hampshire 03290

State Park Website:Pawtuckaway State Park



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