March 23, 2020
More people are working from home due to social distancing recommendations as a result of the coronavirus. Their furry co-workers are not used to the new work routine and assume their owners are home to spend more time with them. Because of this, members of our NH Dog Walking Club have been reaching out for ideas on walks and hikes with their dogs around the NH seacoast area.
Here are our top 8 recommendations taking into consideration the 6-foot safety rule being imposed as part of social distancing. These locations have wider trails and open areas to allow other people walking in the area to pass by safely.
Pickering Ponds Walking Trails (Rochester) – This location has 2+ miles of easy to moderate trails looping along the Cocheco River with birds and wildflowers. There are also benches placed along the trail. Great for walking/hiking, leashed dogs allowed. Pickering ponds is located at 374 Pickering Road, Rochester, NH. The opening to the Trail parking lot is located across from the house that sits at this address. Parking is along a short road that leads to the entry.
Northwood Meadows State Park Trail Loop (Northwood) – This is a 5.5 mile lightly trafficked loop trail that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching. Dogs are allowed but must be leashed. There are shorter trails at the park as well for quick hikes. The trails are wide and there is ample parking. The park is located at 755 1st New Hampshire Turnpike, Northwood, NH.
Little River Park (Lee) – This park includes two trails. The first, Little River Trail is a 0.9 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The 2nd trail is the Little River Park Loop which is a 0.7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail that features beautiful wildflowers and is good for all skill levels. Dogs are allowed but must be leashed. The park also includes a baseball field, playground, and picnic area. It is located at 39 North River Road, Lee, NH and includes ample parking.
Blue Job Fire Tower (Strafford) – The trail to the fire tower is a 1.2 mile easy trail. Depending on snow cover, you may need snowshoes. For a longer hike, continue on to the Mountain Loop trail to the summit for great views from the White Mountains to the ocean. The trailhead is on 1st Crown Point Road in Strafford, NH (summit is in Farmington). 1st Crown Point Road is accessed off the north side of Rt. 202A, 3.9 miles east of Rt. 126 and 4.5 miles west of Rt. 202. The large parking area is 4.8 miles down this road, on the right. The Blue Job Fire Tower is also part of the NH Fire Tower Quest Program, which is a fun challenge for kids and families. To earn a Tower Quest Patch, hikers must visit 5 of the 16 standing fire towers in the state of New Hampshire.
Dover Community Rail Trail (Dover) – We have explored two parts of this 8.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail that features a waterfall. The first part starts at the Watson Road entrance in Dover. Use 156 Watson Road (which is the # of the house across the street) for your GPS. There is ample parking at this location. This is the rural part of the trail that runs along the Cocheco River with several swimming spots. The trail is wide and flat. The second part, the Rotary Club trailhead, can be accessed at the back left side of the Amtrak Dover Transportation Center located at 33 Chestnut Street in Dover. Look for the Rotary Club sign. This is the urban part of the trail which crosses a trestle above the river and continues on a wide, paved path through the city and neighborhoods. There are several opportunities to hop on and off the trail and go into downtown Dover. A stop at Lickee’s & Chewy’s Candies & Creamery at 53 Washington Street or Dover Delite at 20 Chestnut Street is always a nice treat.
Wagon Hill Farm Trails (Durham) – This is an easy trail, but may be muddy towards the end of March. Trails are wide and there is plenty of parking. The Cove and Border Trails is a 0.8 mile loop trail good for all skill levels. Dogs are only allowed off-leash at this location between 8-10am daily but must be under voice command. At Wagon Hill Farm, you can walk through the fields and spot some wildlife if you are lucky. You can also enjoy a walk in the woods through a historic site or walk down to Great Bay where you may see Horseshoe Crabs depending on the time of year. The Farm is located at 156 Piscataqua Rd, Durham, NH.
Adams Point Wildlife Management Area (Durham) – This easy loop walk offers frequent shoreline views of Great Bay while traversing through both meadows and woodlands. The Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is located at 85 Adams Point Rd, Durham, NH. You can access the trail at multiple parking lots, but we recommend driving all the way into the last parking lot and taking the trail from there. Dogs must remain leashed.
DeMeritt Hill Farm Recreational Trails (Lee) – The trails located at DeMeritt Hill Farm are open seasonally based on their harvest schedule. Check their website before visiting. The Farm has designed and built over 6 miles of trails throughout the property. This network of trails allows them to host many different types of events throughout the year. Take a hike, jog or enjoy a hayride through the woods on your visit. This is also a wonderful place to walk your dog and pick apples. Dogs must remain leashed. They also host lots of fun family events throughout the fall. The Farm is located at 20 Orchard Way, Lee, NH. Look for their trails sign directly across from the farm store.
To learn about more great trails to walk and hike with your dog and connect with other dog lovers, join the NH Dog Walking Club on Facebook. Membership is free!