Looking to play outside when you visit North Conway, New Hampshire? You've come to the right place. North Conway is the gateway to a 20-plus town region that creates what is known as Mt. Washington Valley. Here you'll find fishing, biking, hiking, and more. There's plenty of space to do the things you like, it's just a matter of finding it!
Below are examples of non-profits committed to providing access to the outdoors by preserving land and building trails and pathways, so that we may all enjoy it for years to come. Plan your vacation to the Mt. Washington Valley by exploring each of the trails, pathways, and forests protected by these non-profits. You’ll find peace and quiet, and the chance to reconnect to nature, to those you love spending time with, and the time to reconnect with yourself!
Upper Saco Valley Land Trust (USVLT): This non-profit, which has been in operation since 2000, was started as grassroots initiative to preserve land for community benefit in the watershed of the Upper Saco River in New Hampshire and Maine. To date it has conserved 12,000 acres of land through over sixty conservation projects. While all of its lands are special, two (among many) that visitors can note for their hiking, walking, and biking purposes are the Pine Hill Community Forest and Redstone Preserve.
Pine Hill Community Forest is accessed by a parking lot off of Meeting House Hill Road off of East Conway Road. This forest spans 460-acres and encompasses part of the Conway Rec Path. This land feeds experiential learning through its outdoor education programs, as well as land used for hiking, biking, hunting, and fishing. Please note there is a $20.00 all-day parking fee.
Redstone Preserve is a multi-use parcel of land that serves bikers, hikers, neighborhood dog-walkers and snowmobilers. It’s accessed from Hemlock Lane, just behind the Wal-Mart in downtown North Conway, NH. Users of the trail will also come across remnants of the Redstone Quarry - a nod to the history of granite miners from the late 1800’s. The land also abuts The Nature Conservancy’s Green Hills Preserve, another protected area for outdoor recreation.
The Green Hills Preserve is a parcel of protected land located on Thompson Road in North Conway. It’s home to trails that take you up to Middle and Peaked Mountains, as well as trails that connect hikers to Black Cap Mountain at the top of Hurricane Mountain Road. Mountain bikers can also find a slew of trails in this preserve that are maintained by NEMBA.
Tin Mountain Conservation Center (Tin Mt.): This non-profit has been providing education programs that foster greater awareness and understanding of the natural environment. It offers hands-on and online programs in the schools, at summer camps, and within communities throughout northern New Hampshire and western Maine. Part of its mission includes caring for its multiple land sanctuaries found throughout Mt. Washington Valley.
One of its sanctuaries, the Tin Mountain Timberlands, also known by the name "East Bear Paw," this trail network appeals to mountain bikers looking for trails to ride. It can be found off of Route 302 by the Conway, NH/Fryeburg, ME state lines. Known formerly as the Bear Paw lands bikers will find a logging road that splits off into a mountain biking single-track trail network that offers a variety of biking for different abilities. A walking path exists at the end of the logging road, that is only open to those making their way by foot. Motorized vehicles and bikes are not allowed on the path.
Mountain Division Trail in Fryeburg, Maine: Located just down the road from the Tin Mountain Timberlands is the Mountain Division Trail. Marked by the Maine Visitor Center as you cross state lines, this eight mile paved, multi-use path begins there. This path is great for dog-walkers, runners, those with wheelchairs and parents with baby carriages, and bicyclists.
Whitaker Woods and MWV Trails Association (MWVTA): The MWVTA, a non-profit who’s mission is to build and maintain multi-use recreation paths within the Mount Washington Valley area to promote health, alternative transport options, and meaningful recreation for all, is currently working on connecting rec paths in North Conway, NH and Conway, NH. A portion of this multi-use trail will also cross through trails found in the Redstone Preserve, maintained by the Upper Saco Valley Land Trust. Construction on this path has begun.
While this path is being constructed other paths and trails that MWVTA supports include those found in Whitaker Woods, Pudding Pond, Marshall Conservation area, among others.
Whitaker Woods specifically, is a trail network of about 45 kilometers that criss-crosses the entire woods. Originally logging roads; these trails have been groomed, widened, and reconfigured to create a park-like woodland for the enjoyment of walkers, hikers, joggers, and cross country skiers. Located just outside of North Conway Village, it's pet friendly, offers a parking lot, and has a trail map at the entrance of the parking lot.
Click here for more details on the current trails that MWW Trails Association supports.
If you're looking to head deeper into the woods, the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce highly recommends the hiring of a guide for any outdoor adventure. Not only will you be supporting the valley's local economy, which is substantially made up of those dedicated to outdoor recreation, but you'll also be ensuring a successful trip through safety, and technical training. Click the link for a list of guiding outfitters.
You can also learn more about individual guides and the passion each one brings to their job by clicking the link on the Chamber's Hire A Guide feature. Each guide brings something interesting to their work, and has years of exploring the Mt. Washington Valley. They can certainly bring you to open spaces, and maybe even help you find a few treasured spots. When planning a guided adventure in North Conway, NH and beyond, starting with the inventory of guides here, can help you organize the planning around your vacation.
The tranquility and opportunity to connect on a deeper level with the natural world and outdoor recreation that so many are seeking can be found in quiet walks or hikes in the woods and trails of Mt. Washington Valley. With nothing but miles of natural beauty on the horizon, the valley is rich in natural elements, and just as abundant with non-profits who have made it their mission to make these natural resources accessible to all, in the most sustainable way.
For complete trip planning resources and information, visit visitmwv.com or call 800-367-3364 (800-DO-SEE-NH) to talk to a Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce rep. To learn more about New Hampshire vacations, go to www.VisitNH.gov.