During these uncertain times, it is easy to get lost in the chaos. What many of us are finding is that a simple trip outdoors can make all the difference. Fortunately, the Monadnock Region is unique in its range of mountains for hiking, trails for biking, and easy alternatives to escape the noise.
NOTE: On March 26, 2020, Governor Sununu issued a stay at home order for New Hampshire residents, in effect until May 4th. Exceptions pertinent to this blog are: “leaving home to get fresh air or exercise, provided that social distancing protocols consistent with guidance from the Division of Public Health are observed; and leaving home for outdoor recreation provided that appropriate social distancing protocols are observed and provided that such recreation complies with any limitations contained within Executive Order 2020-04, including any Emergency Orders.” Research parks in advance for closures and lack of on-site facilities such as rest rooms. Current information on NH state parks can be found at State Parks Response to COVID-19.
The Monadnock Region is also home to some particularly stunning lakes that are perfect for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. Most bodies of water in beautiful Southwest New Hampshire produce bass, perch, and pickerel. Grab your poles, bait, and boots and venture out to see what you can catch!
NOTE: Make sure you have a valid fishing license in hand. Information on fishing licenses can be found at https://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/licensing.
Spofford Lake in Chesterfield has roughly 700 acres filled to the brim with bass, rainbow trout, perch, pickerel, and pike. Nearby, the Connecticut River, which runs between Vermont and New Hampshire, is also an awesome spot to throw in a line, with ample fish and plenty of space to enjoy the outdoors.
No matter which end of the region you’re in, there are stellar spots to be found. For instance, Greenfield State Park is home to Otter Lake, a picturesque spot with a boat launch and quiet, laid-back atmosphere. Hunts Pond in Hancock supplies 46 acres of Granite State bliss, home to brook trout, brown trout, pickerel, smallmouth and largemouth bass, and plenty of horned pout to keep you occupied for hours.
Jaffrey’s Lake Contoocook is one of the more popular destinations for boaters, kayakers, and fishermen alike. As the sun rises in the morning, it stretches out further than the eye can see, welcoming water lovers. Next door, Peterborough boasts beautiful Cunningham Pond – a favorite location for locals – and the Edward MacDowell Dam; both are breathtaking, with hiking trails for non-fishers and picnic spots for the family.
On the subject of non-fishers – the Monadnock Region has excellent outdoor options for all types of adventurers! With the snow melting and the rainy spring season in full-swing, waterfalls in the region are flowing fast. Over in Hillsborough lies Fox Forest and Gleason Falls, a privately-owned area that the public is permitted to visit. Stunning cascades fall over a stone arch bridge, making it a premiere point to witness nature’s splendor. Shown below, Beard Brook Bridge, a stone arch bridge in Hillsborough (photo by Stonewall Farm Bed & Breakfast).
Tucker Brook Falls in Milford is another excellent sight-seeing option. Hidden away in the 258-acre Tucker Brook Town Forest, you’ll find the 12-foot falls that effortlessly flows over surrounding boulders and ledges. This particular area is home to several other waterfalls within a 10 to 15-mile radius, including Upper and Lower Purgatory Falls also in Milford, Garwin Falls in Wilton, and Senter Falls in Lyndeborough. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, all five of these waterfall destinations can be visited within a single day!
These are just a few of the impressive fishing and hiking spots the Monadnock Region has to offer. As the weather continues to thaw and winter coats go back in the closet, the wild outdoors will feel even more boundless. That good old summer sun will be here in no time!