Plaistow Town Forest

• 3-star hike
• 2-10 mile loop trails
• Easy difficulty | Elevation gain 100-600 ft
• Seacoast | Plaistow NH
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Located between the towns of Plaistow and Hampstead, the Plaistow Town Forest provides more trails per square foot than any I've previously come across, which makes it easy to find a loop trail of any length. I chose a perimeter forest hike as a challenge, and to get the best understanding of what the park to offer.

The forest is a great example of New Hampshire hiking; a woodland hike with 80-90 per cent shade, featuring ponds, small hills, a boardwalk section and a covered trail bridge. The trails themselves are pleasant by being not too rocky. Trail markings however are sporadic, so wayfinding can be a challenge; particularly since this park is a rats' nest of trails. The paths feel random to me - mostly not dictated by terrain - so I had to work the map hard to stay on my planned route.

Surprise rainbow on the boardwalk trail, near Noyce Rock.

We've linked to the town website which includes a PDF map that unfortunately isn't a comprehensive guide to the trails in the forest. As you might expect from it's name, for the best map of all the trails, you'll do much better with the AllTrails app. Trailspotting's map at least includes the park perimeter and trailheads, so you'll always be able to find your way back to your starting point.

In retrospect our perimeter hike was longer than we needed to do to get the most out of the area - particularly all the switchbacks in the South end of the park which cover the same terrain multiple times. Much more fun for the occasional mountain bike, with which you'll be sharing some of the trails.

Official websiteAllTrails link
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