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A Piece of Pisgah, the Doolittle Trail

Posted on by Lisa Wiley

 On Sunday, May 26, our family chose to spend the afternoon hiking a small portion of New Hampshire’s largest state park, Pisgah State Park.  We took the Old Chesterfield Road route from the east near Route 10, in Winchester.  From the trail, we saw a wetland with beaver lodge and dam.

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Old Chesterfield Road is very popular with off-road enthusiasts. It was more quiet once we left the road. We explored this beaver pond, enclosed with the longest beaver dam I have ever seen – easily 30 feet across.

I confess that I was dragging my family along on a selfish quest.  Being May, I love scouring  forested areas for my favorite, and very elusive, wildflower Trillium.  It is only in bloom in mid-May, and I knew my chances of seeing it were slim, especially with the week of rain that just came through.


Broad Brook on the Doolittle Trail

There are markers for the historic homestead of the Doolittle family who operated a Cider Mill in the 1800’s.  The road here is lined with ancient apple trees from their orchard.  It was an easy choice for all of us to follow the Doolittle Trail.

From Old Chesterfield Rd, a short distance from the parking area.

From Old Chesterfield Rd, a short distance from the parking area.

Our walk took us toward Broad Brook passing many wildflowers including lady slippers, Solomon Seal, Indian Cucumber, Bluebead Lily, and to my great delight…..

Painted Trillium

Painted Trillium

Beautiful specimens of both Painted Trillium still in bloom and Purple Trillium just past its prime!

Broad Brook after days of rain

Broad Brook after days of rain

The walk was fairly strenuous as the trail is wide but filled with roots and rocks.  After almost a mile we came to Broad Brook Meadow filled with songbirds and the Brook itself, swollen from the week of spring rain.

Broad Brook heading into the meadow

Broad Brook heading into the meadow

Pisgah State Park covers 21 square miles.  It includes Mount Pisgah which is just a few hundred feet shorter in altitude than Mount Monadnock.  We could have approach the summit on this trip, the reservoir, and the many ponds encompassed by this park. My family’s walk took two hours comfortably with many stops to photograph or simply listen.






Come fall, this tree should turn a vibrant red, something to come back for!

We mostly used a map of Pisgah State Park offered here by New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation.  This trip quickly turned from sharing the road with ATVs to exploring one of the most pristine forests I’ve ever encountered.  It was untamed and awe-inspiring.

Broad Brook

Broad Brook

In my co-blogger Andrew’s last post of Miller State Park, he brilliantly offered a list of essentials to bring on a hike.  I am going to add to his list a must have for any of my future adventures, a wildflower field guide!  What item would you add, reader?

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About Lisa Wiley

My name is Lisa Wiley and I am native to mid-New England, but a NH transplant once my husband and I started a family. We have five children and multiple pets, including a bassett named Rue who will be featured in many of my posts! I work in two academic libraries and recently completed a Bachelors in Education and Training through Granite State College. My husband and I are both educators and love outdoor adventures on a shoestring budget! On the side, we garden and raise chickens and angora rabbits. I enjoy spinning the angora fiber from these gentle animals into beautiful yarns. I can't wait to share the adventures of the 'Wiley Rangers' as we explore NH! View all posts by Lisa Wiley →
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