Oak Hill, Knowlton Forest, Concord NH

• 3 & 4-star hikes
• 2.9 to 4.7 mile options
• Easy difficulty | Gain 520 to 760 feet
• Concord, NH | Merrimack Region
• Driving Directions: Knowlton Forest, Oak Hill

Oak Hill Fire Tower
Locked cabin, but there's a great view from the stairs.

Image of fire tower
Fire Towers of New Hampshire
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Popular with Concord residents, the woodland trails of Oak Hill City Forest and Knowlton Forest parks are moderately easy to hike, with few rocky sections and low gradient paths. Trails criss-cross the forest, so we've marked out some recommended routes, all of which include a journey to the top of the recently restored fire tower. Until you reach the summit of Oak Hill where the tower is located, your views are mostly limited to the canopy of oak trees for which the park is named, though there are a couple of good viewpoints worth checking out on the route.

Hiking to the summit of Oak Hill is worth the ascent. Be sure to climb the stairs to the underside of the locked fire tower hut for the best panoramic views. The fire tower shares the summit with a picnic table, an ancient rusted grading machine and three ugly, but no doubt necessary microwave and radio towers. We worked hard to keep them cropped them out of our photos, of course.

red icon Knowlton Loop, purple icon Tower Trail, yellow icon Oak Loop Expand Map

red icon Knowlton Loop 4★
3.3 mi, Loop, Easy, Gain 560ft
Trailspotting Map: AllTrails, GPX File

The quickest loop trail from trailhead to tower. You could also reduce your hike further to 2.9 miles and 520 ft gain if you took a strict out-and-back route to the tower, but you'd be missing the viewpoint by Swope Loop.

yellow icon Oak Hill Tower Trail 3★
3.8 mi, Out & back, Easy, Gain 570ft
Trailspotting Map: AllTrails, GPX File

The shortest route from the Oak Hill Park Trailhead to tower and back again along the same trail. We'd rate this as a 3-star trail because it doesn't include either of the viewpoints aside from the one at the top of the tower.

purple icon Oak Hill Loop 4★
4.7 mi, Loop, Easy, Gain 760ft
Trailspotting Map: AllTrails, GPX File

This circuitous route intersects with itself twice, to offer the chance to explore most of the park and take in the two viewpoints as well as the tower on top of Oak Hill. These viewpoints provide great northerly views as far as Mt. Kearsage and Ragged Mountain on a clear day, which is particularly impressive when still so close to the city of Concord.

The best views are at the Oak Hill Vista on Vista Way.
The best views are at the Oak Hill Vista on Vista Way.

rusted frame of an old road grader
Previous visitors clearly weren't familiar with the meaning of 'leave no trace'.

• Trail Links: Official (PDF), Public Map at AllTrails
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