|Fire tower at the summit of Stratham Hill|
Kim let me know that there are over 9 miles of trails at Stratham Hill - traversing by fields, through forests, over hills, to fire towers, and alongside woodland ponds. It's a hidden gem of peaceful nature in an otherwise populated part of the state.
Yesterday, Summit and I enjoyed a great 2 mile loop that got us out of the heat, into the forest, and a peaceful nature visit.
|Sign at the parking lot at the end of Jack Rabbit Lane|
Here is how to recreate this adventure....
Adventure: Loop Hike at Stratham Hill Park in Stratham, New Hampshire
Getting there: Stratham Hill Park is easily located along Route 33 between Portsmouth and Exeter, NH. From Exeter, head east on Route 33/Portsmouth Ave. Stay straight through the traffic circle. The park will be on the right after a couple miles. A large sign and parking lot marks it's presence.
If you have a dog and you'd like to take her off leash, Pam suggested parking in a different entrance on Jack Rabbit Lane. It is accessed on the right just feet before the main entrance to the the park. At the end of the road is a large dirt lot and a sign greeting you to "Gordon Barker Town Forest". This is the start of the Tote Road trail. This is where Summit and I started our hike.
|End of the Tote Road Trail|
Trail: From the parking lot at the end of Jack Rabbit Road, I took the Tote Road trail. It is just inside the woods. On the right will be a field and on the left a series of ponds/wetlands. We took this for about 0.5 miles. About 0.2 miles after the pond we took a sharp left onto the Kitty Rock Trail (not signed, but obvious). This trail continues through woods and gradually ascends 60 feet in elevation over 0.45 miles until it connects to the Lincoln trail. Follow the Lincoln trail out of the woods and on to the grassy summit of Stratham Hill (elevation 280 feet). You will see the fire tower and views of area lakes and even views of the Great Bay. Enjoy the sunshine and picnic area before continuing forward, past the tower to continue on the Lincoln Trail. The short and steep 0.36 miles will take you down 60 feet of elevation and into the main park area. To return to our car, we stayed left (outskirts of the fields) on the Eagle trail to connect back to the parking lot at the End of Jack Rabbit Lane (0.3 miles).
|Marker at summit|
Difficulty: Easy! Great trail for a lazy day, families, or those who just want a casual stroll in nature.
Distance: 1.5-1.7 mile loop. It is possible to have a longer/shorter loop. The Outer Perimeter trail
skirts the entire park and is a 4.6 mile hike in total. My version is shorter, and gets a view from the summit of Stratham Hill.
- Grab a trail map at the main entrance or download on from the town website here. Not all trails are well marked. Use the map and bring a compass.
- Wear bug spray. Although I haven't noticed many problems there, Southern New Hampshire is
Summit loves hiking at Stratham Hill Park
- Realize that if you start from the Jack Rabbit Lane Entrance, there will be multiple dogs off leash. If you want to avoid this, stick to the Stratham Hill side of the park and don't take the Tote Road - a popular run for local pups.
- Bring a picnic and frisbee/ball. Enjoy the wonderful facilities of Stratham Hill Park!
- Greet the staff - they are friendly and helpful! There is always filled water bowls for dogs near the caretaker garage and dog treats if you meet Park Ranger Kim.
I'm so glad I discovered this local treasure. Not only is Stratham Hill a great sports park, but it's a wonderful spot to hike, picnic, and get into nature in the Seacoast region.