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Nature & Outdoors In The Upper Valley

The Upper Valley offers a multitude of outdoor activities for all levels of experience: Hiking, Biking, Boating, Skiing, Ice Skating, Snowshoeing, Sightseeing, And More!

HIKING

Quechee Gorge
Quechee, VT
Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Description: Some 13,000 years ago, as the glacier receded from the ocean waters, the melting waters slowly and steadily cut away the bedrock ridge that has become Vermont’s most spectacular natural wonder, Quechee Gorge. Enjoy beautiful vistas 168 feet above the Ottaquechee River, have a picnic overlooking the waterfalls or get something to eat at the snack bar. Enjoy hiking or walking the trails along the mile-long chasm.

Link: https://vermonttourismnetwork.com/quechee-gorge-vermonts-little-grand-canyon/

Storrs Pond Recreation Area
Hanover, NH
Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Description: The Storrs Pond Recreation Area is operated by the Hanover Improvement Society, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Storrs Pond is located only minutes from the Town of Hanover, New Hampshire and Dartmouth College. The Area features scenic woodlands, a man-made 13-acre pond and two sandy swimming beaches, a heated swimming pool, tennis courts, basketball court and picnic areas.

Link: http://www.storrspond.org/

Holt’s Ledge
Hanover, NH
Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Description: Easy Day hike, 2.2 miles (approx. 2 hours). 13 miles from Hanover -  Holt’s Ledge is a precipitous cliff with fine views to the east. The cliff edge is fenced off not only to protect unaware hikers on foggy days, but also to protect the peregrine falcons who nest on the cliff. Before being protected by the Endangered Species Act, peregrines were driven out of New England by the ravages of DDT, which thinned their egg shells and caused the eggs to break before the chicks were mature enough to survive. Holt’s Ledge was one of the first sites in New Hampshire where peregrines were successfully reintroduced. The gentler northern slope of Holt’s Ledge is home to the Dartmouth Skiway, and also the route of this day hike.

Link: http://outdoors.dartmouth.edu/activities/hiking/hikes/holtsledge.html

Wright’s Mountain in Bradford
Bradford, VT
Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Description: Wrights Mountain Trail is a 1.6 mile lightly trafficked, out and back trail located near Bradford, Vermont that features a great forest setting. The trail is good for all skill levels and primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Link: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/vermont/wrights-mountain-trail

Mt. Cardigan in Orange
Canaan, NH
Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Description: Cardigan Mountain State Park spans 5,655 acres and is an excellent area for hiking. A mountain road leads to trails on the west slope of Mount Cardigan as well as a trail to the summit. Mount Cardigan's 3,121-foot treeless granite summit affords outstanding views of west central New Hampshire, with a panorama that includes Mount Monadnock and the White Mountains, Camel's Hump in Vermont, and Pleasant Mountain in Maine

Link: http://outdoors.dartmouth.edu/activities/hiking/hikes/cardigan.html

Balch Hill Natural Area
Hanover, NH
Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Description:  The Balch Hill Natural Area has been a favorite of Hanover residents for its great views, picnicking, walking, and bird watching.  Ten trails provide easy to moderate routes to the 937-foot summit.  Its diverse communities include a former pasture and apple orchard at the summit, and forests of pine, hardwoods, and hemlock on the slopes. Owned by the Hanover Conservancy, the oldest local land trust in New Hampshire, Balch Hill is one of many trails and natural areas open to public hiking.

Link: www.hanoverconservancy.org/

Mount Kearsarge
Warner, NH
Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Description: On paper (aka the map) Mt. Kearsarge in Winslow State Park appears to be an easy, breezy hike perfect for families with young kids. You drive more than halfway up the mountain to reach the trailheads, after all, and there’s a playground adjacent to the parking lot.

Link: https://www.northeasthikes.com/mt-kearsarge-hike-winslow-trail-barlow-trail-loop-winslow-state-park-nh/

Sculptured Rocks Natural Area
Groton NH
Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Description: The Sculptured Rocks Natural Area spans 272 acres. Popular activities include exploring the sculpted canyons, picnicking, and hiking.

Link: https://www.nhstateparks.org/visit/state-parks/sculptured-rocks-natural-area.aspx

Moose Mountain Trail
Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Description: The north peak of Moose Mountain, at 2,300 feet, is the highest point within Hanover’s town boundaries. Where cleared pastures once bordered the summit of this long ridge, now the forest has grown back and returned Moose to its wilder past. For those whose picture of Hanover is limited to the busy intersection of Main and Wheelock Streets, this hike is an opportunity to see another side of town and to experience the rural landscape of the Upper Valley.

Link: http://outdoors.dartmouth.edu/activities/hiking/hikes/moosemountain.html

Gile Fire Tower
Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Description: Gile Mountain Trail is a 1.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Norwich, Vermont that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Link: http://outdoors.dartmouth.edu/activities/hiking/hikes/gile.html

Vershare Snow-Shoe-A-Thon
Vershire VT
Festivals & Events, Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Description: A two-mile snowshoe hike for all ages.

Link: http://vershare.org/snowshoe.htm

Valley Quest Books
Local Flavor, Activity
Outdoor Activity

Description: The Upper Valley is full of adventures, and the Upper Valley Quest Book is the ultimate guide.

Link: http://vitalcommunities.org/valleyquest/questing-book/

True’s Ledges 
Lebanon NH
Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Rocky gorge (between upstream and downstream parcel boundaries, True’s Brook drops some 50 ft. in elevation along 700 linear feet of shoreline with 3 dramatic overlooks); long-popular local swimming hole; varied plants and animals (aquatic, riparian, and upland species share relatively small area). In 1998, local efforts succeeded in City’s acquisition of this parcel; now permanently conserved by easement to Upper Valley Land Trust.

Link: http://www.uvlt.org/docs/trails/Trues_Ledges_trail_map_from_lebcity.pdf

Boston Lot Lake and Wilder Dam Ledges
Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Description: Boston Lot is a forested upland area. The Boston Lot Reservoir, (elevation 638 feet) is ringed by ridges. Several small streams flow into the reservoir, and one stream flows from the dam spillway to the Connecticut River.

Link: https://lebanonnh.gov/448/Boston-Lot-Conservation-Area

Eshqua Bog 
Hartland, VT
Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Description: Eshqua Bog is a botanical wonderland of cold-climate holdovers--small pockets of bog plant species and a two acre fen--from the post-glacial era 10,000 years ago. This preserve contains a diverse array of bog and fen plants: labrador tea, cotton grass, pitcher plants, showy lady's slippers, larches and buckbean.

Link: www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/places-we-protect/eshqua-bog-natural-area/

Carriage Roads (Trails)
Woodstock VT
Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Description: Between 1880 and 1895 Frederick Billings oversaw the construction of 10 miles of carriage roads to access the pastures and young woodlots on the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller property. Carriage rides, in pursuit of scenic views, were a popular pastime in the nineteenth-century. Hikers can enjoy the diverse and picturesque landscape on the carriage roads or the more narrow hiking paths. Traversing the property on the carriage roads one can experience many scenic views, from shady groves of Norway spruce to brilliant green meadows and sunny open woodlands composed of mixed hardwoods.

Link: https://www.nps.gov/mabi/planyourvisit/outdooractivities.htm

Appalachian Trail
Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Description: The Appalachian Trail is a 2,190+ mile long public footpath that traverses 14 states (from Maine to Georgia!) featuring scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Conceived in 1921, built by private citizens, and completed in 1937, today the trail is managed by the National Park Service, US Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, numerous state agencies and thousands of volunteers. And, the trails run right through the Upper Valley in Hanover, New Hampshire and Norwich, Vermont!

New Hampshire Link: appalachiantrail.org/explore/explore-by-state/new-hampshire/

Vermont Link: appalachiantrail.org/explore/explore-by-state/vermont/

MOUNTAIN BIKING

Upper Valley Mountain Biking Association
Upper Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont

Description: The Upper Valley Mountain Biking Association maintains and expands access to multi-use, non-motorized trails in the Upper Valley of NH and VT, including the towns of Lebanon, Hanover, Hartford, Norwich, Plainfield and others. UVMBA has maps of Upper Valley trails ranked easy to difficult of the region.

Link: www.uvmbta.org

Green Woodlands Foundation
Lyme/Dorchester, NH

Description: Green Woodlands Foundation has over 50 miles of single and double track trails that span from Lyme to Dorchester. NH. Free to ride.

Link: www.greenwoodlandsfoundation.org/

BOATING

Sunapee Harbor
Sunapee, NH
Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Description: Sunapee Harbor has been a mainstay for vacationers since the 1800’s when the sweltering heat of the cities sent vacationers fleeing north by train to enjoy the cool waters of Lake Sunapee. Nestled along the shores of Lake Sunapee in the heart of the Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee Region of New Hampshire, Sunapee Harbor offers boating, kayaking, shopping, waterfront dining, picnicking, fishing, free music, narrated boat tours, ice cream and much more.

White River Canoeing
Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Description: White River is fairly shallow although rocky with some deep smooth areas with MANY small rapids and ledges along the way. It is rated between Class 1 and 3 according to the Appalachion Canoe and Kayak NH/VT guide.

Link: https://paddling.com/paddle/trips/white-river-vermont-1/?lat=43.7195&lng=-72.3981&zoom=11

Link: http://www.sunapeeharborriverway.com

Ledyard Canoe Club
Hanover, NH

Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Description: Rent a canoe, kayak or stand up paddle board. Membership fees apply.

Link: http://www.ledyardcanoeclub.org/

WINTER SPORTS

The Dartmouth Skiway | Winter Skiing
Lyme, NH

Description: Dartmouth Skiway offers big-mountain challenges in a family-friendly setting with more than 100 ski-able acres spread over two mountains and enough terrain variety to thrill any ski or snowboarding enthusiast. The Skiway has something fun for everyone: a 968-foot vertical drop, full-service day lodge, superb grooming, and exciting terrain features. A special ticket price also means a family can enjoy a weekend of skiing and riding at the Skiway for one great price.

Link: skiway.dartmouth.edu

Occom Pond | Winter Ice Skating
Hanover, NH

Description: Delightful year-round, but known for ice skating and the Winter Carnival in February (weather dependent – the ice has to freeze solid).

Link: http://outdoors.dartmouth.edu/activities/natural_areas/occom_pond.html

Skyline Ski Trail
Pomfret VT

Description: The Skyline Trail travels a scenic route through rural central Vermont, crossing numerous farms and pasture lands. The official Skyline Trail begins in East Barnard with a two-mile climb which most skiers avoid. Details are available in the Skyline Trail pamphlet, from the Woodstock Touring Center.

Link: http://outdoors.dartmouth.edu/activities/backcountryskiing/trips/skyline.html

Lake Morey Ice Skating and Ice Hockey
Fairlee, VT
Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Description: Lake Morey's 4.5 Mile skate trail is longest ice skating trail in the US. Pond Hockey Tournaments can also be found along with skate and cross country ski rentals during the winter months at the Lake Morey Resort.

Link: http://lakemoreyresort.com/

RECREATION

Cornish-Windsor Bridge
Cornish, NH
Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation, Historical

Description: The Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge is the longest wooden bridge in the United States and the longest two-span, covered bridge in the world. It is also a classic example of wooden bridge-building in 19th-century America. With copious supplies of timber at hand and a generous reserve of carpentry skills available, bridge builders in early America quickly discarded the masonry arches prevalent in the Old World. Instead, they opted for a revival of timber-truss designs dating from 14th century Europe.

Link: http://www.asce.org/project/cornish-windsor-covered-bridge/

Vermont Institute for Natural Science (VINS)
Quechee, VT
Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Description: Motivating individuals and communities to care for the environment through education, research, and avian wildlife rehabilitation.

Link: http://www.vinsweb.org/

Saint-Gaudens National Historic Park
Cornish, NH
Arts & Culture, Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Description: Saint Gaudens' Sunday afternoon concerts (2 – 4 p.m.) https://www.nps.gov/saga/planyourvisit/summer-concerts.htm

Step into the world of one of America’s greatest artists. Discover the home, studios and gardens of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, one of America’s greatest sculptors. See over 100 of his artworks in the galleries and on the grounds, from heroic public monuments to expressive portrait reliefs, and the gold coins which changed the look of American coinage. Enjoy summer concerts, explore nature trails, or indulge your hidden talents during a sculpture class.

Link: https://www.nps.gov/saga/index.htm

Concerts In The Park & On The Green
Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Colburn Park music in the summer in Lebanon https://lebanonnh.gov/367/Front-Porch-Concert-Series

Lyme Town Band on summer Tuesdays: http://fairleevt.org/event/concert-on-the-common-lyme-town-band/

Pick-Your-Own Farms
Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation, Local Flavor

Description: Seasonal pick-your-own farms offer everything from pumpkins, to apples, to flowers , to strawberries and blueberries

New Hampshire Link: https://www.pickyourown.org/NHnorth.htm

Vermont Link: https://www.pickyourown.org/VTnorth.htm#orange

Fore U Mini Golf & Ice Cream
Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Description: West Lebanon, NH's mini golf court. Come play the course and enjoy the best ice cream in town.

Link: http://foreugolf.com/icecream.html

Light Shrine at LaSalette Shrine
Enfield, NH
Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Description: The spectacular LaSalette light festival has been a local tradition since 1954.

Link: http://www.nhmagazine.com/December-2015/Visit-the-La-Salette-Shrine-Light-Display/

Joseph Smith Memorial
South Royalton, VT
Natural Wonders & Outdoor Recreation

Description: Guided tours are available to visitors at no charge. Some features of the historic site are self-guided. Plan to spend between 45 minutes and 2 hours visiting the site. The visitors’ center and monument are ADA accessible. Vehicles can access the other areas of the site, except for the walking trail to the top of Patriarch Hill.

Link: https://www.lds.org/locations/joseph-smith-birthplace-memorial?lang=eng&_r=1

Alyson's Apple Festival
Outdoor Recreations
Walpole, NH

Annual apple festival. Pick your own. Apple pie contest. Fun for the entire family.

Link: http://alysonsorchard.com/upcoming-events/

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