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New Hampshire

New Hampshire State Parks

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USA Parks
New Hampshire
Merrimack Valley Region
Ragged Mountain State Forest
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Ragged Mountain State Forest is a breathtaking natural haven encompassing over 10,000 acres of diverse terrain. This captivating forest boasts majestic mountains, dense woodlands, tranquil streams, and pristine lakes, offering visitors a multitude of outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and camping. With its picturesque vistas and abundant wildlife, Ragged Mountain State Forest provides an idyllic escape for nature enthusiasts seeking solace and adventure amidst the beauty of New Hampshire's landscape.
History of the Area
- Settlers and Lumber Industry: In the early 1800s, European settlers began moving into the Ragged Mountain area. They named the mountain "Ragged" due to its rugged and jagged appearance. The settlers utilized the abundant natural resources, particularly timber, for the lumber industry. They established sawmills and woodlots, exploiting the forest for its valuable wood resources.

- Land Conservation Efforts: In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there was a growing recognition of the need to preserve and protect natural landscapes. In 1912, the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) purchased land on Ragged Mountain to ensure its conservation. This acquisition marked the initial steps towards safeguarding the area.

- Expansion and State Acquisition: Over the years, the AMC continued to acquire additional land, expanding the protected area on Ragged Mountain. Recognizing the importance of conserving this region, the state of New Hampshire purchased approximately 3,300 acres of the Ragged Mountain area from the AMC in 1945, marking the establishment of Ragged Mountain State Forest.

- Recreational Development: Following the state acquisition, recreational development started in the state forest. Trails were constructed for hiking, and picnic areas were established for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy the natural beauty of the area. The forest became a popular destination for hiking, wildlife viewing, and other recreational activities.

- Ongoing Management: The New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands manages Ragged Mountain State Forest today. They oversee the forest's maintenance, including trail upkeep, invasive species control, and other ecological management practices. The management aims to strike a balance between conservation efforts, recreational opportunities, and sustainable forest management practices.
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1. Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway Trail: This is a 75-mile loop trail that connects summits of three mountains including Ragged Mountain, Mount Kearsarge and Lake Sunapee. The terrain varies from easy to moderate with some steep sections.

2. Balanced Rock Loop: A moderately difficult 5 mile round trip hike featuring the unique geological formation known as 'Balanced Rock'. It offers stunning views over Newfound Lake and Cardigan Mountain State Park.

3. Lower Ridge Trail: An easier option for beginners or families, this two-mile trail winds through dense forest areas providing ample opportunities for bird watching and wildlife spotting.

4. Upper Ridge Trail & Summit Route: These trails are more challenging due to their steeper inclines but reward hikers with panoramic views at the summit of Ragged Mountain (2286 feet).

5. Old Top Road Pathway: This pathway follows an old logging road which makes it relatively flat compared to other routes in the park; however, its length (around six miles) can still provide a good workout.

6. Ridge Link Trails: There are several link trails connecting different parts of ridge line offering alternative paths up/down mountain side allowing you customize your hiking experience based on fitness level/desired difficulty.

7. Wilmot Side-Trail: Shorter than most others within state forest yet provides access into adjacent Wilmot Town Forest expanding potential exploration area.

8. Busby/Proctor Ski Area Paths: During off-season these ski slopes convert into unofficial hiking paths leading directly towards top section where there's observation tower giving unobstructed view across entire region.

9. Bagley Field Pathways: Ideal choice if looking peaceful stroll rather strenuous climb they meander around open fields near base station parking lot.

10. Snowmobile Routes: While primarily intended winter use by snowmobilers many double-up walking/hiking tracks during warmer months.

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Area Campgrounds
Silver Lake Park Campground
389 Jamestown Road
Belmont, NH
Thousand Acres Family Campground
Route 3 1079 South Main Street
Franklin, NH
Area Fishing Related Businesses
Tight Lines Fishing Services
18 Elkins Rd
Elkins, NH
(603) 526-9299
Area Cabins and Lodges
Twin Lake Villa
164 Twin Lake Villa Rd
New London, NH
(603) 526-6460
Twin Lake Villa: Golf Shop The
21 Twin Lake Villa Rd
New London, NH
(603) 526-2034

1. From Interstate 93, take Exit 17 for US:4 West towards Boscawen/Andover.
2. Continue on US:4 West for approximately 9 miles until you reach a roundabout.
3. At the roundabout, take the second exit onto NH:31 North (also known as Wilmot Road).
4. Follow NH:31 North for about 5 miles until you see signs indicating Ragged Mountain Ski Area and Ragged Mountain State Forest.
5. Turn left onto Old Route 11 at these signs and continue driving straight ahead.

If coming from another direction or using GPS navigation systems, it's recommended to enter "Old Rte Eleven" instead of an exact address since there may be multiple entrances leading into different parts of the state forest.

Once inside Ragged Mountain State Forest area:
6a: For access to hiking trails near Mount Cardigan and other recreational activities such as camping or picnicking areas - follow Old Route Eleven further north past Tenney Hill Road intersection where parking lots will be available along with trailheads nearby;.
6b: If your destination is specifically skiing at Ragged Mountain Ski Resort - turn right before reaching Tenney Hill Road intersection following signage directing towards ski resort facilities including ample parking spaces provided by their establishment.

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New Hampshire

New Hampshire State Parks