Scotland Brook Wildlife Sanctuary
To get to Scotland Brook Wildlife Sanctuary:
Coming from the south, take Exit 38 off I-93 in Franconia. Turn left at the bottom of the ramp and then right onto Routes 116 and 18 north. Drive 0.5 miles through Franconia and turn left onto Route 117. Travel 3.2 miles on Route 117 to Sugar Hill; turn left onto Pearl Lake Road. Drive 3.8 miles along Pearl Lake Road, turning left onto Scotland Road at the end of the lake. Go 1.7 miles and turn left onto Jim Noyes Hill Road. The parking area and kiosk for the sanctuary will be on your right about 0.3 miles down Jim Noyes Hill Road.
To reach the trail system, walk to the right out of the parking area. Proceed about a tenth of a mile down the road to a tree on the right with a yellow blaze and a NH Audubon sanctuary sign on it. Turn right here onto the trail system.
The Scotland Brook trail system consists of two trails—a yellow-blazed trail (referred to here as the Yellow Trail) and a red-blazed trail (referred to here as the Red Trail). Disregard any blue blazes you see on the trails.
The Yellow Trail (1.25 miles long; out & back to the trailhead is 1.8 miles)
As you start down the Yellow Trail, you soon pass through a wide power line corridor and then bear to the left. Proceed down the trail until you come to the junction with the northern end of the Red Trail. Turn right here, continuing to follow the Yellow Trail over several bog bridges past a junction on the left (the southern end of the Red Trail), and then bear right. The trail passes over more bog bridges and then takes a sharp left onto a wider trail. Walk down this corridor and bear right at an old fork. The trail now crosses some bog bridges and soon emerges into more open woods. As you approach the junction with the loop portion of the Yellow Trail, you will see a wetlands area on your left which was created by beavers that once frequented this area.
Walk past the loop junction and head uphill. You will soon pass a bench on your left and a plaque noting that this spot is in memory of John McIlwaine, who for many years was the president of the Ammonoosuc Chapter of NH Audubon. The bench offers a nice view of the pond and hills to the east. Continue uphill—and then downhill—along the trail, soon bearing right. The trail now runs next to an old stone wall, passes through a wet area, and begins to climb up a hill. After a few minutes of steady uphill walking, you will come to an old woods road. Turn right and walk along the road, which follows another stone wall. Eventually, you will bear to the right and head back down the hill. When you reach the bottom of the hill, follow the trail through open woods back to the junction near the wetlands area. Turn left and retrace your steps back out the Yellow Trail to the trailhead.
The Red Trail (0.25 mile loop)
The Red Trail is a loop trail off the Yellow Trail and is a nice option for someone wanting a short hike. Starting at the northern junction of the two trails, proceed along the Red Trail past several large boulders on your right. Turn to the left and, shortly after that, to the right as you draw near the edge of Scotland Brook, the sanctuary’s namesake. After following along a short stretch of the brook, the trail bears away from it and makes several turns as it loops back to the southern junction with the Yellow Trail through open woods and (in the summer) glades of ferns.
A hike incorporating both trails is 2.3 miles long with just over 300 feet of elevation gain.
About Scotland Brook Wildlife Sanctuary
The 102-acre Scotland Brook Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1984, when Gene Twaronite and Josie Kelleher donated the land of the Scotland School Environmental Center to New Hampshire Audubon. The Center, which was based in the old Scotland School building just down the road from the parking area, was founded by Twaronite and Kelleher in 1980 and offered programs to foster a greater awareness and appreciation of the White Mountain region. In order to make the land that is now the sanctuary accessible for hiking and nature study, Twaronite and Kelleher developed a network of trails, several of which are still in use today.
As evidenced by the stone walls that crisscross the land, much of the sanctuary was once open pasture. Today the sanctuary is almost completely wooded with a diversity of habitats ranging from wet meadows to northern hardwood and conifer forests. Several streams, including Scotland Brook, flow through the property, and beavers have created a series of ponds and wetlands in the southern portion of the sanctuary. Other interesting natural features include the large glacial boulders at the junction of the Yellow Trail and the northern end of the Red Trail, which were deposited about 12,000 years ago by the continental glacier as it receded.
The sanctuary supports a large variety of flora and fauna. Animals observed here include moose, bears, beavers, porcupines, and snowshoe hares. Among the 100 or so bird species that frequent the property over the course of the year are pileated woodpeckers, scarlet tanagers, vireos, nuthatches, warblers, and barred owls. Also notable are the many varieties of ferns found in the sanctuary, particularly along the Red Trail, and the wide array of wildflowers, including painted trilliums, lady slippers, and several species of orchids that bloom in the spring and summer months.
- Scotland Brook Wildlife Sanctuary is open throughout the year during daylight hours.
- Only foot travel is permitted in the sanctuary.
- Smoking, swimming, camping, fires, hunting, firearms, and trapping are prohibited.
- Please stay on the marked trails and do not collect or in any way disturb any plants or animals.
- Dogs are permitted on a short leash at all times, and you must clean up after your pet.
- Please carry out all trash and litter.
- Some terrain can be rough and wet, so sturdy footwear should be worn.
A portion of this trail runs through private property. Please observe all above guidelines in this area.
New Hampshire Audubon is an independent statewide membership organization whose mission is to protect New Hampshire’s natural environment for wildlife and for people. It operates nature centers throughout the state that provide educational programs for children and adults; oversees research projects, from developing a plan to preserve the bio diversity of a rapidly growing state to monitoring many of the New Hampshire’s endangered species; protects thousands of acres of wildlife habitat through its sanctuaries program; advocates for sound public policy on environmental issues.
For more information visit: www.nhaudubon.org
84 Silk Farm Rd.
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: (603) 224-9909
Check for nearby geocaches to Scotland Brook Wildlife Sanctuary.
Leave No Trace Principle
Plan Ahead and Prepare
Respect trail closures.