Riley Trails Next to Hoit Marsh

Sign at Riley Trails Parking Area

May 21, 2020 A short trail that is quite beautiful can be found next to the Hoit Marsh on Hoit Road in Concord. There is a small parking area (Beware of large rocks in the parking area) on the right hand side of the road just after the marsh is you are coming in from the Mountain Road side heading east. The trail starts across the street from the parking area.

Sign at start of Riley Trails Snaptown Road Loop Trail

This trail is a typical woods trail, with some rocks and bridges that need to be walked over while hiking. There is a stream that runs through the property, and the largest diameter pine tree I have seen in a long time.

Pine at least six feet in diameter.

The area was once believed to be cow pasture due to the barbed wire fencing you will see from time to time. There are also several stone walls. Two persons working a full day could build eight to ten feet of stone wall. A look around shows a lot of time invested in moving rocks.

Stone wall

The trail brings you back to Hoit Road by the marsh, go directly across the street. If you look you will see the yellow paint on the tree straight across at the end of the guardrail. There is a trail sign that guides you to go right to the parking lot, but I recommend you go straight to the viewing platform. There is a tree that has fallen across the path, but it is easily crossed.

Hoit Marsh Viewing Platform

While heading to the platform I saw a Snapping Turtle in the pond that must have been 16 inches long, and was serenaded by a host of very loud frogs. The path to the parking lot from the viewing platform is wide and easy. It claims to be wheel chair accessible, but I would think it difficult to navigate, just saying. The total walk is 1.2 miles and will take about 45 minutes, not counting time to view the marsh.

Northern Rail Trail, Boscawen (Going North)

April 28, 2020. The Northern Rail Trail is accessed from Depot St. off of King St. in Boscawen, NH. I parked in the parking lot of All States Asphalt next to the small sign for the rail trail. This time I went left and traveled north on the trail which is easy walking and wheel chair accessible (up to the turn off I will come to shortly).

Merrimack River just north of Depot St. Boscawen

The Merrimack river turns away from the trail heading off to your right. The trail is not as scenic as the trail going south. About a half mile down the trail the rivers returns for a short time as it winds its way through the ever changing riverbed.

Merrimack River, Boscawen, NH

The trail is straight and flat. About a mile and a quarter up the trail you will find the following mile marker.

Fifty nine miles to White River Junction

Just ahead on the left you will see the following sign telling you that you have reached the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery. On the opposite side of the trail (that would be the right side going north) is an easy to follow quarter mile trail to the river.

Trail from NH State Veterans Cemetery to Merrimack River, Boscawen, NH

The waters edge is right on the trail. Note that the drop off into the water is straight down and the water is moving fast. If you have a dog with you, do not let it into the river because it will not be able to get back out of the water.

Merrimack River from end of NH State Veterans Cemetery trail.

The whole round trip is just under four miles and will take you and hour and a half. Enjoy.

Sewall’s Falls Park Trail

Sewall’s Falls Trail

April 17, 2020 Another good hike that is easy walking and safe is Sewall’s Falls Park Trails. I started at the large parking area on Sewall’s Falls Road at the new bridge crossing the Merrimack River. Head south and you will find and easy walk with the river on your left. This is a favorite trail for dog walking, and most people let there dog run free even though a leash is required. Go for 0.85 miles to Rotary Park at the location of the now washed away Sewall’s Falls Dam.

Site of Sewall’s Falls Dam

The dam washed away in 1984 but the base of the dam is still visible.

Base of the 1892 Timber Crib Dam

The dam was build in 1892 to divert water to the first commercial three phase alternating current electrical plant in the United States.

Gates to Control Water for Power Plant

There is a parking area at Rotary Park and the end of Second Street in Concord in case you want to view this site without the river walk.

This area has been in continuous use for over 5000 years and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Click for the wikipedia link to the Beaver Meadow Brook Archeology Site .

By the time you get back to the Sewall’s Falls parking lot you will have gone 1.7 miles. Cross the parking lot to the historical plaques for the old Sewall’s Fall metal bridge and you will see that the trail goes under the new bridge.

New Trail Under Bridge

This trail is short and in about a quarter mile it bring you to a outcropping if bedrock that makes a nice overlook of the river.

North of Sewall’s Falls Bridge

If you head back to the parking lot you will now have gone about 2.3 miles total.

Northern Rail Trail, Boscawen (Going South)

Northern Rail Trail

April 15th 2020. The Northern Rail Trail is accessed from Depot St. off of King St. in Boscawen, NH. I parked in the parking lot of All States Asphalt next to the small sign for the rail trail. The trail crosses Depot St. and I went south back towards Concord where the trail dead ends after 1.9 miles. The trail is flat, wide and covered with granite dust that makes for easy walking and is wheel chair accessible.

Oxbow Lake

The trail goes beside fields and crosses a bridge at an oxbow lake, a place that was once part of the Merrimack river, but the river has since moved. There were lots of birds here, Red Winged Blackbirds and actually a pair of Loons in the lake.

The Merrimack River

The trail comes to the river about a mile from the start, and as you can see the river is high and filled with silt and soil.

81 Miles to Boston

As you get toward the end of the trail you will see one of the old granite mile markers telling you that you are 81 miles from Boston. Look across the field here and you will see Muchyedo Banks on the opposite side of the Merrimack River in Canterbury, NH.

Muchyedo Banks

Muchyedo Banks is also a park. the banks are 60 to 80 feet high and show signs of having been built up in layers over time.


Finally, I also saw my first chipmunks of the year, a sure sign of Spring. The black flys were not out yet, and a good breeze meant no bug spray as well as no ticks since I kept to the wide stone-dust trail.

The whole walk is 3.95 miles and takes about two hours.

Hikes You Can Do Alone.

Until I have some actual data on the when it is safe to hike in groups (I will follow OLLI’s guidelines in this decision) I will not be leading groups of us seniors into the woods.

The outdoors is the absolute best place to be when people around us are sick, both for our mental and physical health. We need to breath fresh air and to see how nature is ordered and in control when so much around us feels out of balance.

For that reason I am going to use this space to highlight different short hikes in the Concord area with up to date trail information and a few pictures. I suggest if you do chose to take some of these hike that you go on a weekday if possible. The trails are getting crowded on weekends as we all suffer from “cabin fever”.

I will do these hikes as separate posts here so you can find them easily.

See you in the woods. Sincerely, Ray Mercier

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining us!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

Welcome to the blog for the Concord Area Hiking Group, A Special Interest Group of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Granite State College in Concord, NH.

First, some contact information. We have an email address which is:

My name is Ray Mercier and I will be leading this group for its first year.

Please follow the link at the top of the page to read about the Concord Hiking Group. The link should answer most of your questions about how the group functions.

Stay tuned, and use the contact page to be added to the email list.