Pisgah State Park - Old Forest, Wetlands, and More
Description: Pisgah is New Hampshire’s largest state park. While primarily forested, it contains countless brooks, swamps, marshes, ponds, and vernal pools, all of which support an array of wildlife and plant species. The park also has miles of trails, many of which are open to multiple uses. Visitors should be prepared for biting insects in the summer months.
The trail loop described in this guide takes visitors past a sampling of the many habitats present at Pisgah, including marshes, swamps, ponds, streams, old forest, and rocky ridges. The land hikers traverse is dominated by hemlock - beech - oak - pine forest, the most common forest natural community type in southern New Hampshire. Hemlock, beech, red oak, and white pine are the dominant species, but a variety of others may be present in various abundances. Pisgah State Park contains some of the largest unbroken examples of this forest type in the state. Although the portion seen along this trail has been used for timber production for over 200 years, it was never cleared for agricultural uses, and its soil has never been tilled. In some places, the hemlock - beech - oak - pine forest transitions to pure hemlock forest ommunity, and in other places to hemlock - oak - northern hardwood forest where sugar maple and yellow birch mix with hemlock, red oak, and beech.
Directions: From Keene, take Rte. 9 about 9 miles west to the junction with Rte. 63. From Brattleboro, VT go 6 miles east to the junction with Rte. 63. Go south on Rte. 63, through Chesterfield where there are access roads to the northern part of the park, and drive for 5 miles to the marked trailhead at a dirt parking lot on the left. From Rte. 119 in Hinsdale, go north on Rte. 63 for 3.5 miles to the parking lot.
Landowner: State of NH – DRED, Division of Parks & Recreation / Division of Forests & Lands
Site Guide and Map
Images (hold mouse over image for caption)
Stream through a shady hemlock ravine at Pisgah State Park (photo by Ben Kimball)
emergent marsh community vegetation at the north end of Pisgah Reservoir (photo by Ben Kimball)
Kilburn loop trail at Pisgah State Park (photo by Ben Kimball)
Mt. Monadnock as seen from the Pisgah Mtn. vista (photo by Ben Kimball)
old forest at Pisgah State Park (photo by Ben Kimball)
Pisgah Reservoir as seen from a vista on Pisgah Mtn. (photo by Ben Kimball)
NH Division of Parks & Recreation Link: http://www.nhstateparks.org/explore/state-parks/pisgah-state-park.aspx
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