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Contoocook River Park

Situated near the northern Concord village of Penacook, this trail system crisscrosses an old railroad bed to offer beautiful views of deciduous forests, wetland vegetation, the Palisades, and the Contoocook River. 
Trail Activity
2.0 miles, Network
Concord (NH)
Packed Earth/Dirt, Road, Unpaved
Other Activities


Follow the road (Red Trail) past the gate for less than a minute, watching for a path on the right (northern entrance to Yellow Trail) which runs northwesterly past Canada mayflower and wintergreen on the ground, through maple, birch, and hemlock trees, down into a boggy area passable on a wooden plank bridge. Soon, you will reach the path's junction with another dirt path that goes both left and right along the river. Turn left (staying on the Yellow Trail). 

You are high above the rapids in the river. Notice a rocky outlook and great cliffs, locally known as "The Palisades", rising across the river. There are blueberry bushes along the trail. When you reach the road, proceed in the same direction you have been traveling until you arrive at a clearing at the end of the road. To your right, you will view a dam and waterfall on the river. 

Follow the road (Red Trail) back to your car or extend your walk: east of the clearing at the end of the road, an old road (Orange Trail) goes into the woods. Follow this road along an old canal. You will reach an opening and an old woods road that goes along the hydroelectric canal. There are deep blue, closed gentians at the edge of the woods and in the spring, a pale blue flag on the water's edge. The road bears left and soon reaches Electric Avenue a few yards past the parking lot. 


East of the circle and a little distance onto the same road from the dam, there's a fork onto a narrower path on the left (Blue Trail). This path makes a loop through a patch of lady's slippers and ends on the old trolley track road. Turn right to return to the parking lot. There are also two unmarked short-cut trails that connect the previously mentioned two trails. 

Trail Manager

City of Concord

City of Concord
14 Canterbury Road
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: 603-225-8690
View website

Trail Tips

Dispose of Waste Properly
Pack it in, pack it out. This goes for trash, leftover food, toilet paper, and hygiene products. If you brought it into nature, please bring it out.
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Trailhead Information

From the center of Penacook, drive 0.6 miles on Washington Street to Electric Avenue on your right. Take Electric Avenue 0.2 miles to a gate and parking area across the road. 

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
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