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08 December 2013

Poking Around the Cooley-Jericho Community Forest (Easton, NH)

Recently I've had several enjoyable hiking experiences by poking around the recently established Cooley-Jericho Community Forest (CJCF) located in Easton, NH  This 844 acre parcel of land became a reality in the Autumn of 2013 after intensive planning and fund raising. (Click HERE to read a brief article which provides some interesting details about the CJCF.)

The CJCF can be accessed from end of Trumpet Round Road, or from the west end of Dyke Road.  Shown below is a composite image of two different maps.  Neither map is very detailed, but might serve to provide a general idea as to the location of this property. (Click on map image to enlarge it.)
Currently, there is no signage at this location, and hiking trails are still a work in progress.  Although some potential trail corridors have been flagged by volunteer workers for ACT (Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust), they are not quite ready for prime time.  In addition to the lack of official trails and signage, there is a confusing array of old skidder roads that head off in many different directions.  Therefore, exploration of this area is currently a bit rough and tumble!

The situation described above can be appealing to some folks, but to others, not so much!  For the adventurous hiker with map and compass skills, it can be great fun to poke around and then be rewarded by discovering some very pleasant views.

The remainder of this report will consist of a few snapshots taken from various spots within the CJCF during my recent hiking adventures at this location.
Flagging along a potential trail corridor
Northerly vista with a segment of potential trail corridor in foreground
Westerly vista with a segment of potential trail corridor in foreground
Vista that includes portions of Presidential and Franconia Mountain Ranges
Zoomed view of Mt. Cabot and the Pilot Range
Long lineup of mountains from the Percy Peaks (left) to Pilot Range (right)
As I understand it, there are plans to eventually construct a trail within the CJCF property that will connect to the remains of the fire tower that once existed on Cooley Hill.  But even without a formalized trail, one can reach the fire tower by any number of easy bushwhack routes through the CJCF property. (Of course, the old fire tower can also be accessed via the existing WMNF's Jericho Road Trail.)
Remains of fire tower on Cooley Hill
View of Cole Hill as seen while bushwhacking between Cole Hill and Cooley Hill
Sunset from a viewpoint at Cooley-Jericho Community Forest
To sum it up, this new parcel of publically-accessible land has provided me with several enjoyable explorations over the past few weeks.  I'm grateful to the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust for their tireless efforts to make the CJCF a reality.  If you would like to get involved with the planning and building of trails, or simply make a monetary donation, you can contact Rebecca Brown at:


NeoAkela said...

Thank you for posting this, John. I enjoyed a nice afternoon exploring the "pink" and "blue" trails, as well as wandering down several logging roads and a few short bushwhacks. Ended the day with a trip in the Bronson Hill trail complex. Some really nice places out in this area; with the lack of any signage, it would have been difficult to tell if I was in the right spot without your report.

1HappyHiker said...

Chris, thank you so much for the feedback, and I’m delighted that you had a nice afternoon at the Cooley-Jericho Forest.

It’s great to learn that my report was helpful to you. As you indicate, the lack of any signage makes it challenging to find the “good spots”. But they are surely there. It just takes a bit of poking and prodding to find them.

Glad you also incorporated the Bronson Hill complex into your agenda. Since it’s such a short hike and such a short drive from Bethlehem, I often go there when my time is limited. Weather permitting, it provides wonderful views of the Franconia Range at all times of day, and at all seasons of the year.