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Blackwater Dam

Blackwater Dam provides miles of trails for horseback riding, and excellent paddling and fishing opportunities along the river.
Trail Activity
10.5 miles, Loop
Moderate, Advanced
Salisbury (NH), Webster (NH)
Packed Earth/Dirt
Other Activities


The area upriver and to the north of Blackwater contains miles of trails for horseback riding, and a winding stretch of river for paddling. There are also several primitive picnicking locations along the river.

The trail system is within 3,600 acres or protected land, consists of a 10-mile loop that is particularly well suited for horseback riding for all ability levels, though other users are also welcome. Note that this loop crosses the Blackwater River twice; riders are encouraged to use these water crossings, but both crossings can be skipped using alternate trail options, such as the Warner Road bridge in the north.

For paddling, the parcel also contains a meandering 8-mile stretch of the Blackwater River, which can be accessed at several points. The easiest put in is at Warner Road and the takeout is just south of the parking area. However, the river is slow and upstream travel is possible. The river is home to a variety of fish, and is stocked with brown and rainbow trout making it a good location for fishing.

Other Information

The Blackwater Dam area is popular with hunters; be sure to wear plenty of bright orange clothing during hunting seasons.

For paddling, there must be at least one portable floatation device (PFD) for each occupant in the boat at all times.

Dogs must be kept on leash. Please properly dispose of pet waste.

Trail Manager

Blackwater Dam is maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers. More information can be found on their website.

US Army Corps of Engineers - Franklin Office

US Army Corps of Engineers - Franklin Office
46 Granite Street
Franklin, NH 03235
Phone: 603-934-2116

Trail Tips

Leave What You Find
Leave the trail work to the pros: they will add or remove blazes, cairns (stone trail markers), structures, and trail improvements as deemed necessary.
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Trailhead Information

There are multiple parking area in the Blackwater Dam area.

For the easiest equestrian parking: From I-93, take Exit 17. Follow US-4 north for 4.7 miles. Turn south on NH-127 for 4 miles. The entrance to Cogswell Woods Recreation Area is on the left. If you reach the center of Webster, you have gone too far.

For the paddling put-in: From I-89, take exit 7 and turn onto East NH-103 at the end of the ramp. After 0.8 miles, turn left onto NH-127 North and proceed for 9.6 miles. Turn left on Warner Road on proceed 2.2 miles to the Blackwater River. There is pull-off parking on the north side of the road before the bridge. 

For the paddling take out or for the equestrian trail on the west side of the river: From I-89, take exit 7 and turn onto East NH-103 at the end of the ramp. After 0.8 miles, turn left onto NH-127 North. Turn onto White Plains Road after 5.2 miles. Drive past the dam structure, and after 1.4 miles turn right onto Little Hill Road, then after 0.1 miles turn right onto Guide Board Hill Road. The parking area, which can accommodate horse trailers, is located roughly 0.5-miles along this road.

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
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Trail Alerts

Be a Safe and Respectful Paddler
Paddling conditions will vary according to the weather and season, so always exercise caution and always wear a lifejacket. With good judgment and proper equipment, the risk associated with paddling can me minimized. Respect the natural world and the rights of landowners, and be considerate of other outdoor enthusiasts. Paddlers should seek to avoid causing erosion, trampling vegetation, disturbing wildlife, and harming water quality.

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