Fox Forest

It’s full name is The Caroline A. Fox Research and Demonstration Forest and it’s a treasure. I’ve been there several times and in all seasons. Enough so that I found my favorite beech tree (off the path, but visible and tremendously large). Since 1933 it’s been the forest research station for New Hampshire. Its area is approximately 1445 acres with miles of trails over differing terrain. Here’s a list of some of it’s diverse features –

  • Black gum swamp – these trees are some of the oldest and rarest in New England.
  • Surface streams – non- or barely tannic, these streams play host to frogs and other wildlife, occasionally slowing and widening into ponds.
  • Kettle bog – also known as Mud Pond, this is a typical kettle bog hosting many distinct plants such as tamarack pine, black spruce and pitcher plants. There is a small boardwalk and a screened in house which is not ideal for viewing, but a relief from insects.
  • Beech groves – the Ridge trail will bring you into one of the largest beech groves I’ve seen, especially wonderful in the fall when they’re at their golden best.
  • Family cemetery – with only five markers, the Gearry graveyard is tiny and picturesque.
  • Tree identification trail – a great way to learn about the many trees growing here and in other New Hampshire forests – includes some amazing Douglas Firs.
  • Tons of wildflowers and ferns – lots of Christmas fern and many species of wildflower including purple and painted trillium, bluebeard lily, lady slipper, jack-in-the-pulpit and wild iris.
  • Boulder fields and exposed ledge
  • Unlogged, virgin forest tract – this small strip of unspoiled forest hosts some enormous hemlocks.
  • American chestnut restoration – the Fox Forest is one of a select group of sites participating in a controlled project aimed at producing trees capable of resisting the disease that nearly wiped out this entire species in North America.

If you’re a fast hiker you can probably walk most of the trails in a single day, but if you’re a photographer or like to really explore it will take you a few days to cover it all. There is a handy information kiosk by the parking area with great maps and information about what projects and initiatives are underway. Please pay attention to trail closures!

Also you can attend the Cottrell-Baldwin Environmental Lecture Series which is hosted at the Fox Forest headquarters and is co-sponsored by the NH Division of Forests & Lands and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire’s Forests. For more info call (603) 224-9945. The 2015 spring schedule is on the link below.

How to get there –

Head for the town of Hillsborough, NH

From Route 9/202, turn onto Center Road past a small downtown, schools and a large orchard and farm. There is a sign on the right and ample parking.

Additional info Here.

More photos can be found here.

Happy trails and remember to carry out what you carry in (and pick up after those who don’t) and please leash your dogs! Also please respect local rules and regulations.


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Posted in Merrimack Valley (South)

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