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04 April 2016

Hiking a Segment of the Heritage Trail Near Lancaster, NH

The New Hampshire Heritage Trail was an idea that never really took off.  The corridor was to have run north from the MA/ NH border along the Merrimack River to Franklin where it would join the Pemigewasset River and go through the Franconia Notch and onward to Lancaster, then follow the Connecticut River to Canada.

Although the trail system was never completed,there are places throughout NH where pieces of this trail still exist.  Near to my home, there are segments in Bethlehem, as well as in Lancaster and Whitefield.

In early March 2016, I hiked a surviving segment of the Heritage Trail that is located just east of Lancaster, NH.  My goal was to access a beaver pond located along this trail.

Although there are several starting points one could use for this hike, I chose to park at a public lot on Summer Street, then walk along the sidewalk on Summer Street, turn right onto Cemetery Street, walk through the cemetery to its northeast corner where there's a purposeful gap in the fence for pedestrian access to Corridor 5 snowmobile trail.
Once on the snowmobile trail, I simply followed it in an easterly direction to the beaver pond.  Along the way, the Heritage Trail joins the corridor that is shared with the snowmobile trail.

Perhaps the map shown below will be of some help to make some sense from the preceding paragraph.  You will likely need to click/tap on it to enlarge the image.

I don't know this for a fact, but it should probably be mentioned that regardless of which route you take to the beaver pond, I suspect that during certain times of year, you could experience significant mud and/or weed-filled corridors.  When I did this hike in early March, the ground was frozen, and weeds had yet to emerge from their winter slumber!

Shown below are peaks in the Pilot Range as viewed across a beaver pond along a segment of Heritage Trail east of Lancaster, NH. (Mt. Hutchins at left; Mt. Cabot at right)

A beaver lodge can be seen near the top/left of the next photo.

The next photo shows one of several Heritage Trail signs seen along the route.

Using the route that I followed, the Heritage Trail diverges from the snowmobile trail at the west end of the beaver pond.  It crosses the pond's outflow on a small bridge.  The snowmobile continues eastward along the south side of the pond.  The composite photo shown below will help to identify this junction.

Whoops!  A fine feathered friend fell prey to something, as seen in the next photo that was taken while doing this hike.

Click HERE for a link to some additional information about the Lancaster portion of the Heritage Trail.


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