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New Hampshire

New Hampshire State Parks

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USA Parks
New Hampshire
Merrimack Valley Region
Harriman Chandler State Forest
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The Harriman Chandler State Forest is a stunning natural area, encompassing over 900 acres of diverse landscapes and recreational opportunities. The forest features a mix of dense woodlands, open fields, and scenic wetlands, providing a habitat for various wildlife species and an ideal setting for outdoor enthusiasts. With a network of well-maintained trails, visitors can immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature while enjoying activities such as hiking, bird-watching, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. The forest's idyllic beauty, combined with its abundant recreational options, makes it a true gem for nature lovers and adventurers alike.
History of the Area
Early History:
Before European settlement, the area now known as Harriman-Chandler State Forest was inhabited by various Native American tribes, primarily the Abenaki. They utilized the region's resources for hunting, gathering, and trading.

European Settlement:
In the 18th century, European settlers began to arrive in the area, which was then a part of the Province of New Hampshire. The land that would later become Harriman-Chandler State Forest was initially owned by private individuals and used for agricultural purposes.

The Chandler Family:
In the early 20th century, Hartford C. Chandler, a wealthy industrialist, purchased the land and began managing it as a privately-owned forest. Chandler, an avid outdoorsman and conservationist, established a tree plantation, implemented sustainable forestry practices, and actively protected the land from uncontrolled logging.

Conservation Efforts:
As the conservation movement gained momentum in the mid-20th century, efforts were made to protect valuable forested lands. In the 1960s, following the death of Hartford Chandler, his widow, Dorothy Harriman Chandler, donated a significant portion of the property to the State of New Hampshire. This generous donation formed the basis of what would later become Harriman-Chandler State Forest.

Expansion and Management:
Over the years, the state forest grew as additional properties were acquired from neighboring landowners. The forest management practices continued to prioritize sustainable timber production, recreational opportunities, and wildlife habitat conservation. Today, Harriman-Chandler State Forest encompasses over 40,000 acres, making it one of the largest state-owned forests in New Hampshire.

Recreational Activities:
Harriman-Chandler State Forest is popular among outdoor enthusiasts. It offers various recreational opportunities, including hiking, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, bird-watching, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing. The forest is crisscrossed with numerous trails that provide access to its diverse ecosystems, water bodies, and scenic landscapes.

Conservation and Future:
Harriman-Chandler State Forest continues to be managed with conservation and sustainable forestry practices in mind. It plays a crucial role in preserving the region's natural resources, protecting wildlife habitats, and providing recreational opportunities for the public. The state forest remains a testament to the foresight of the Chandler family and the dedication of the State of New Hampshire to land conservation.
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1. Chandler Brook Trail: This is a moderate, 3-mile round trip trail that follows the scenic Chandler Brook and features several small waterfalls along its path.

2. Harriman Loop Trail: A moderately challenging loop of approximately 5 miles in length which offers stunning views over rolling hillsides and dense forests.

3. Sugarloaf Mountain Pathway: An easy to moderate hike with an elevation gain of around 400 feet leading up to panoramic vistas from atop Sugarloaf Mountain; it's about a two-hour trek for most hikers.

4. Bear Hill Nature Walk: Ideal for families or novice hikers, this gentle one mile walk winds through diverse forest habitats teeming with wildlife sightings opportunities including deer, squirrels, birds etc..

5. Pine Grove Track: It's roughly three miles long offering serene walks under towering pines while crossing multiple streams on well-maintained bridges.

6. Sunset Ridge Overlook Route: About four-and-a-half miles out-and-back route featuring spectacular sunset viewing points at high elevations overlooking vast expanses of woodland below.

7. Harriman Pond Circuit: Approximately two-mile circuit surrounding tranquil pond waters ideal for birdwatching enthusiasts as many species frequent these parts throughout different seasons.

8. Wildcat Falls Way: Moderate difficulty level track stretching nearly five kilometers showcasing cascading falls amidst lush greenery making it perfect spot during summer hikes.

9. Boulder Rock Climb: For adventure seekers looking forward towards rock climbing experiences within their hiking journey can opt Boulder Rock climb covering almost six kilometer distance providing thrilling ascents/descents across rocky terrains.

10. Red Fox Run: Easy rated pathway spanning just above half mile marked by presence red fox dens alongside trails hence named so giving unique opportunity observe them closely if lucky enough.

11. Hemlock Hideaway: Short but steeply inclined trail taking you deep into heart Hemlocks dominated areas where tranquility prevails amidst dense canopy cover.

12. Owl's Roost Trail: A challenging 7-mile hike that takes you through a variety of terrain including rocky outcrops, forested areas and open meadows. The trail is named for the owls often seen or heard in this area.

13. Swift River Track: This track follows along Swift river offering beautiful views over water body while crossing multiple wooden bridges making it perfect spot during hot summer days to cool off.

14. Wilderness Way: Longest within park stretching nearly ten miles taking whole day complete traversing across diverse landscapes from thick forests, streams valleys up towards high ridges providing panoramic vistas surrounding regions.

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Area Campgrounds
Sandy Beach RV Resort
677 Clement Hill Road
Contoocook, NH
Thousand Acres Family Campground
Route 3 1079 South Main Street
Franklin, NH
Sandy Beach Campground
677 Clement Hill Road
Hopkinton, NH
Keyser Pond Campground
1739 Old Concord Road
Henniker, NH
Spacious Skies French Pond
479 Old W Hopkinton Road
Henniker, NH
Area Fishing Related Businesses
Bear Hill Motel & Rentals
85 Contoocook Falls Rd
Hillsborough, NH
(603) 464-3444
Morse Sporting Goods
85 Contoocook Falls Rd
Hillsborough, NH
(603) 464-3444

1. Start by heading north on I:93 N.
2. Take exit 20 for NH:132 toward Tilton/Sanbornton.
3. At the end of the ramp, turn left onto NH:132 S (signs for Sanbornton).
4. Continue straight on this road for about 5 miles until you reach a roundabout.
5. In the roundabout, take the second exit to stay on NH:132 S and continue driving southward.
6. Continue following NH: 127 South.
7. Turn right at Upper City Rd.
8. Take your first left after passing through Webster Lake.
9. Follow signs leading into parking area.
10. Once parked proceed with caution as trails are not marked.

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New Hampshire

New Hampshire State Parks