Five heat-wave hikes in southern New Hampshire

The thermometer is topping 90 degrees, and it’s not even July yet. What’s a walker to do? Air conditioning is a wonderful thing, but still, the trails beckon. I recommend shady ones. Here are a few favorites of mine, with photos I’ve taken along the way.

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Wild roses at Odiorne Point

Odiorne Point State Park, on the Seacoast in Rye (Rt. 1-A). If there’s an onshore breeze, this is heaven on a hot day. Take a walk along the rocky shore, or take one of the paths through the woods. The sharp contrast between adjacent environments is surprising. Bonus: the wild roses are in bloom this time of year. $4 admission/$2 ages 11 & under.

 Mine Falls Park in Nashua is accessible from exits 5E, 5W, and 6 on the Everett Turnpike. It’s a favorite of mine in all seasons. If you only have time for a quick lunchtime walk this summer, try the trail that runs along the mill pond, between Stellos Stadium and Nashua South high school. Bonus: if you have a kayak, you can launch it onto the pond via the ramp near Conway Ice Arena. Keep an eye out for muskrats, herons, and turtles. Free.

Lake Massabesic from Battery Point

Lake Massabesic from Battery Point

Massabesic Audubon Center, Auburn, just a few minutes from Manchester. 130 acres, several miles of wooded trails, shoreline on Lake Massabesic. Free admission, but donations are accepted and encouraged.

Madame Sherri's castle

Madame Sherri’s castle

Madame Sherri Forest, and the quiet roads around it, in Chesterfield. Sure, you could hike uphill from here, and getting to Mt. Wantastiquet is worth the effort. On a hot day, though, flatter is better as far as I’m concerned. Parking is available on Gulf Road. Check out the ruins of “Madame Sherri’s castle,” visit Indian Pond, and then stroll down Gulf Road at your leisure. Free.


Cooling off on Pawtuckaway Lake

Cooling off on Pawtuckaway Lake

Pawtuckaway State Park, Nottingham (take exit 5 from NH 101 and follow the signs). This is another year-round treat. Hike the flat trails, or pick a hill (one has a fire tower), or do both. I did a nine-mile loop here one warm Labor Day, ending at the beach on Pawtuckaway Lake — just the place to cool off on a summer day. Bonus: camping and boat rentals. $5 admission (day rate)/$2 ages 11 and under.

Water and bug repellent are essential.

Do you have any favorite summer spots for a dayhike? I hope you’ll leave a comment! I’m always looking for new trails.

2 thoughts on “Five heat-wave hikes in southern New Hampshire

  1. Hi Ellen,
    Nice choices. I’m also a fan of Pawtuckaway & Odiorne and enjoy your blog. Since you asked for suggestions I’ll offer a few down your way, not to diminish your selections in any way. In no particular order: Monson Center (SPNHF) – no water features but a chance to walk through a woods and imagine the town that once stood there; Manchester Cedar Swamp (TNC) and/or Rhododendron State Park for July’s blooming giant rhododendrons; Blue Job Fire Tower – very popular with a short walk and nice views and hopefully a little breeze. Keep up the good work!

  2. Steve – Manchester Cedar Swamp is new to me! I took classes at UNH-Manchester back when it had a Hackett Hill campus, and I guess I must have been right next to what became TNC property. I’ll be checking out the rhododendrons soon. Thanks for reading. Your Park Explorer blog is now giving me new ideas for hikes. Beautiful state we have here!

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