8 Reservations for Dog Walking

Forest Society Picks of the Litter

Carrie Deegan | June 6, 2019
A hiker and dog on the summit of Pheobe's Nable Mountain at Moose Mountains Reservation

A hiker and his furry friend enjoy the view from Phoebe's Nable at the Forest Society's Moose Mountains Reservation. Emily Lord/Forest Society Photo.

Dog owners will find a lot to love about Forest Society lands: Dogs are permitted at all of our reservations except for Monadnock, Lost River, and Creek Farm. If walking is a social experience for you and your pooch, super-popular locations such as Mount Major may fit the bill. However, if you like quiet woods walks, where you can tread in blissful solitude and your dog can explore every rotted log and great-smelling boulder, there are many Forest Society reservations for you, too.

Here are our top 8 go-to reservations for dog walking, log exploring, and boulder smelling:

Dog in the trail in the woods at Champlin Forest in Rochester
Forest Society Staff Photo

1. William H. Champlin Forest

Champlin Forest in Rochester is a quiet dog-walking location despite being within the limits of New Hampshire’s fifth most populous city. You and your dog will enjoy the mix of different environments, from fields dotted with wildflowers to cool leafy forests to the shrub lands of a former beaver pond, on this 2-mile round-trip walk. The terrain is rolling and never strenuous, making this a great walk for dogs and owners of all ages and abilities. If you are interested in historical land uses, the remains of a small-scale granite quarry from the mid-1800s are visible alongside the trail near its southern end. Look for evidence of drill holes along the edges of the quarried rocks where stones were split with drills, wedges, and hammers. Your dog will likely be more excited about sniffing out rodents, but you’ll both enjoy the outing.

Parking: Route 108, Rochester
When to Visit: Spring–Fall (trailheads unplowed
in winter)
Admission Fee: Free
Info: forestsociety.org/champlinforest; forestsociety.org/forest-explorer


2. Weeks Forest

Weeks Forest offers two pleasant hiking loops. If you don’t have a lot of time, try the yellow loop (marked with yellow rectangles), which has wide, mostly flat paths that are great for cross-country skiing with your dog in winter.

Parking: Gilford Town Offices, Route 11A, Gilford (trailhead directly across the street)
When to Visit: Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset
Admission Fee: Free
Info: forestsociety.org/weeksforest

Dog rests on the side of a trail
Hot summer afternoons are the perfect time to take trailside siestas. Forest Society Photo..


3. Leslie C. Bockes Memorial Forest

More than 3 miles of trail wind through the reservation’s oak-pine forests, offering peaceful solitude in the heart of suburban Londonderry. Many of the trails in the forest are wide and mostly level, though some trails may be grassy, so remember to check yourself and your pooch for ticks after your outing.

Parking: Mill Road, Londonderry
When to Visit: Spring–Fall (trailheads unplowed in winter)
Admission Fee: Free
Info: forestsociety.org/bockesforest


4. Merrimack River Outdoor Education and Conservation Area

The Merrimack River Outdoor Education and Conservation Area, also known as “the floodplain,” is a very popular destination for dog walkers in Concord. You most likely won’t have the trails to yourself, unless you visit very early on a weekday morning, but you and your dog will love the variety of forests, fields, and river habitats on the property’s easy trail system. Water-loving dogs can have a swim in the Merrimack River, but please respect signed areas indicating areas of riverbank that are closed to foot (and paw) traffic to protect nesting swallow habitat.

Parking: Portsmouth Street, Concord
When to Visit: Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset
Admission Fee: Suggested donation: $3/hiker; $4/hiker and dog
Info: forestsociety.org/conservationcenter; forestsociety.org/forest-explorer


5. McCabe Forest

Two miles of easy walking trails await exploration at the McCabe Forest in Antrim. You and your dog will relish the reservation’s shady hemlock forests, old apple orchards and fields, and beautiful resting spots along the Contoocook River.

Parking: Route 202, Antrim
When to Visit: Spring–Fall (trailhead unplowed in winter)
Admission Fee: Free
Info: forestsociety.org/mccabeforest


Service dog wearing a buff to stay cool and keep the bugs off for spring hikes.
Even dogs need to stay cool and keep the bugs off on the trail. Forest Society Photo.

6. Langenau Forest

If you and your canine companion are hoping to have the trails to yourself, try the Langenau Forest in Wilmot. This quiet property has a beautiful 2-mile loop trail with some moderate elevation gain. The trail begins by skirting the edge of a scenic beaver pond before heading into hemlock and spruce forests. About half way around the loop, there are nice views to the southwest along the property’s boundary. The trail system here connects with the Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway Trail if you are looking to extend your walk.

Parking: Granite Hill Road, Wilmot
When to Visit: Spring–Fall (trailhead unplowed in winter)
Admission Fee: Free
Info: forestsociety.org/langenauforest


7. Mary and Quentin Hutchins Forest &
8. Paul and Thelma Ambeau Memorial Forest

These two small forests in Canterbury abut each other and share a trail system. The two reservations’ approximately 1.5 miles of trail pass through forests of white pine, red maple, white oak, and red oak. Several wetland areas can also be seen from the trails.

Parking: Route 132, Canterbury
When to Visit: Spring–Fall (trailhead unplowed in winter)
Admission Fee: Free
Info: forestsociety.org/hutchins-ambeau-forest


This blog post originally appeared in the Spring 2019 edition of Forest Notes: New Hampshire's Conservation Magazine. Join today to start receiving our quarterly, award-winning magazine that will keep you up-to-date on the latest land conservation news and special stories of people and place in New Hampshire.

Dog wearing bright colors for hunting season

Tips for Dog Owners

Please keep control of your dog, by voice or leash, at all times and pack out dog waste. Be aware that Forest Society reservations are open to hunters in accordance with New Hampshire state hunting laws. Visit NH Fish & Game for hunting season dates. It’s important for dogs and dog owners to wear bright colors during hunting seasons. It’s also a great idea to make sure your dog has received treatment for ticks prior to heading out in the woods in order to prevent Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. Always check yourself and your dog for ticks after your walk. (Photo by Kate Wilcox)