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Best Walking & Hiking Trails Around Hanover & The Surrounding Areas

May 13, 2020 02:34PM ● By Gabrielle Varela
Immersing yourself in nature has long been a form of therapy with the Japanese going as far to coin the term shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing”. We’d like to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month with a round-up of the best hikes and walks in the Upper Valley. The hikes chosen are for all ages and skill levels so that you and your family may explore places to find peace and tranquility, stamina and strength, reflection, and clarity and revisit them whenever you choose.

1.) Pine Park - Hanover, NH. Over 90acres of towering pine trees that are over 125 years old. This park, which was once saved by 17 locals from the Diamond Match Company in the early 1900s, is now a local favorite for strolls with bubbling, shady brooks and stunning river views

2.) Parcel 5 - Norwich, VT. 3mi. This easy loop with slight elevation is one of Norwich’s most notable trails. Built as a multi-recreational trail, the inclines and windy paths are sure to raise your heart rate!

3.) Velvet Rocks - Hanover/ Etna, NH. 5.2 mi. A moderate day hike that is known for being one of the first expansions to the Appalachian Trail in 1981. Trails through hardwood forest of hemlock and pine lead to the aptly named moss-covered Velvet Rocks.

4.) Mink Brook Nature Preserve- Hanover, NH. A protected area, the wooded trails are home to brook trout, bears and many other species of New Hampshire wildlife and flora. The trails on this 112-acre preserve are reserved for foot traffic only.

5.) Boston Lot - Lebanon, NH. The lot named for the Boston company that planned to remove granite there in the late 19th century is now a scenic park with seven miles of trails that range from easy to moderate. The trails encircle the lake for adventures open to hikers and mountain bikers.

6.) Gile Mountain- Norwich, VT. 1.4mi. Most known for the fire tower at the top, this mountain provides sweeping views of Mount Ascutney, The Green Mountains, Mount Cardigan, Smarts Mountain, Croyden Mountain, the White Mountains, and Dartmouth College at its summit.
7.) Heyl trail- Norwich, VT. 1.1mi. Short and easy this walk will take you through forest and farmland. You can hit this lovely rural terrain on foot, bike or horseback.

8.) Hazen Trail -Norwich/ Wilder, VT. 4.2mi. These trails connect with Montshire Museum property; in fact, the museum is an easy entry point to traverse the rolling dirt trails.
9.) French’s Ledges - Meridan, NH. 1.9 mi. An extensive trail network of mostly shaded forest built by property owner Ira Townsend with stunning 360 degree views of Kimball Union Academy, Croydon Mountain and Grantham Mountains at the top. Trails range from stroller-friendly to moderate.

10.) Cascade Falls -Ascutney, VT. 2.1 mi. Often known as Crystal Cascade Falls, this trail’s main attraction are the two majestic waterfalls that in high water periods like spring can flow up to 60ft down.  A moderate hike, it is fairly seasonal as the falls are due to water draining off the mountain.

Share your favorite hikes in the comments!

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