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New Hampshire

New Hampshire State Parks

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USA Parks
New Hampshire
Merrimack Valley Region
Soucook River State Forest
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Located in southern New Hampshire, Soucook River State Forest is a picturesque nature haven that spans over 6,800 acres, captivating visitors with its serene beauty and diverse ecosystems. Within its boundaries, this enchanting forest boasts miles of hiking trails intricately winding through dense woodlands, offering breathtaking views of colorful foliage during the fall season. The Soucook River lazily meanders through the park, creating a tranquil atmosphere perfect for fishing, canoeing, or simply enjoying a peaceful picnic alongside its idyllic banks. With its abundance of wildlife and mesmerizing natural surroundings, Soucook River State Forest provides a sanctuary for outdoor enthusiasts, inviting them to connect with nature and unwind in its peaceful embrace.
History of the Area
Soucook River State Forest is located in southern New Hampshire and spans over 6,457 acres. The forest is named after the Soucook River, a tributary of the Merrimack River that flows through the region. Here is a brief history of Soucook River State Forest:

1. Historic Indigenous Presence: The area around Soucook River has a rich history of Indigenous presence, with the Penacook and Abenaki tribes being the most notable inhabitants. They relied on the river's resources for sustenance and transportation.

2. European Settlement: European settlers began arriving in the area in the early 18th century, establishing several small agricultural communities along the Soucook River. These settlers utilized the river to power mills for various industries, such as sawmills, gristmills, and textile mills.

3. Forest Regrowth: By the mid-19th century, the industrial activity along the river declined, and the land gradually reverted to forested areas. The forest regrowth was facilitated by the rural, agricultural character of the area and the abandonment of mills.

4. State Forest Establishment: In the 1930s, a severe drought swept across New Hampshire, causing substantial timber loss and wildfires. This devastating event prompted the state government to purchase lands for reforestation and conservation purposes. Soucook River State Forest was established in 1937 under the administration of New Hampshire's first "forester," Fred Aldworth.

5. Reforestation and Land Management: Throughout the 20th century, the state focused on reforesting large tracts of land within Soucook River State Forest. Extensive timber harvesting and forest management practices were implemented to restore the forest's health and promote biodiversity. These efforts continue to this day.

6. Recreational Activities: Soucook River State Forest offers various recreational opportunities to visitors. There are multiple trails for hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing. The river also provides options for fishing and kayaking. In addition, the presence of picnic areas, wildlife observation points, and camping facilities enhances the overall visitor experience.
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1. Soucook River Loop: This is a moderate, 3-mile loop trail that follows the banks of the Soucook River and offers beautiful views of waterfalls along its course.

2. Pine Grove Trail: A relatively easy hike, this 2-mile path winds through dense pine forests with occasional glimpses of wildlife such as deer and birds.

3. Granite Hill Summit Pathway: An uphill climb on rocky terrain leads to panoramic vistas from atop Granite Hill in this challenging but rewarding 4-mile round trip trek.

4. Wetland Walkway: Ideal for birdwatchers or those interested in wetlands ecology, this flat one mile boardwalk-style route traverses marshy areas near the river's edge where various species can be observed up close.

5. Old Logging Road Route: Tracing an old logging road over rolling hills and past remnants of historical industry activity makes for an interesting journey into local history; it spans about two miles each way.

6. Riverbank Ramble: As implied by its name, this leisurely stroll hugs closely to riverside offering tranquil scenes across approximately three miles.

7. Southern Ridge Hike: For more experienced hikers seeking elevation gain, this strenuous five -mile out-and-back track ascends steep slopes towards southern ridge providing sweeping forested landscapes below.

8. Forest Glade Circuit: A family-friendly option, the Forest Glade circuit covers just under a mile within lush greenery featuring picnic spots amidst serene settings.

9. Boulder Brook Connector: The Boulder brook connector links several trails together via narrow footpaths alongside babbling streams ;it measures roughly half-a- mile long making it ideal short cut between longer routes.

10. Hemlock Hollow Waypoint: Hemlock hollow waypoint meanders through stands towering hemlocks creating shady retreat during summer months. This pathway stretches around four-miles return.

11. Wildflower Wanderer's Track: Nature lovers will appreciate Wildflower Wanderer's Track, a two-mile trail that showcases the forest's diverse flora during spring and early summer.

12. Overlook Outpost Trail: This challenging 5 mile hike leads to an outpost with breathtaking views of Soucook River valley, a must for photography enthusiasts .

13. Snowshoe Sprint: In winter months, the Snowshoe sprint becomes popular among snow sports fans. This three -mile loop offers snowy adventure through frosted pines.

14. Fern Gully Pathway: A gentle one- mile stroll, Fern gully pathway is carpeted in lush ferns providing cool respite on hot days.

15. Hawk Watch Ridge Route: Hawk watch ridge route ascends towards high vantage points where bird watchers can spot various raptor species soaring above. It spans approximately four miles round trip.

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Area Fishing Related Businesses
Sunset Mountain Fish & Game Club
117 West Rd
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(603) 783-0454

1. Start by heading north on I:93 N.
2. Take exit 13 toward NH:3A/Manchester St/Bow Junction.
3. Keep left at the fork to continue onto Manchester St/NH:3A S (signs for Bow).
4. Continue straight onto Logging Hill Rd.
5. After about 0.7 miles, turn right onto Robinson Rd.
6. Continue on Robinson Rd until you reach Pembroke Pines Country Club where it turns into Sheep Davis Road.
7. Follow Sheep Davis road past Concord Airport.
8. After passing airport take first right after bridge over river which will be Short Falls rd.
9. Take next immediate Left off of short falls rd back across the soucook river this time via covered bridge.
10. Once crossing covered Bridge parking lot entrance will be immediately to your Right.

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New Hampshire

New Hampshire State Parks