1.7 Miles / 2.7 km
Time to Hike:
~51 minutes
Surface Type:
Rand Brook Forest
Francestown, New Hampshire
42.964065, -71.79799
March 12, 2020
March 30, 2020
122 '

Total Change
195 '

196 '


The Forest Loop at Rand Brook Forest in Francestown, New Hampshire is an easy 1.7-mile loop trail that features a peaceful walk through the forest that covers two trails - a service road and a footpath.

Trail names: Forest Trail and Rand Brook Forest Road.

Location: Forest Trail can be found at the Rand Brook Forest located off of Old County Road South in Francestown NH. This forest is owned and managed by the Francestown Land Trust (FTL). The Francestown Land Trust has directions to this forest at the link below:


Allowed activities: hiking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, birding

Forbidden activities: no motorized vehicles

Hours: The Rand Brook Forest is open daily. There are no times posted for opening or closing at this trailhead parking area.

Parking: There is plenty of parking near the trailhead and information kiosk. Winter parking cannot be guaranteed and visitors may need to use caution when driving on Old County Road South as this road is unpaved and can be hard to traverse during late winter/early spring when roads can be rutted or muddy.

Pets: Dogs are not forbidden from this area, however dogs should be under control of their owners and all waste should be carried out with the hiker.

Accessibility: Both the Rand Brook Forest and the Forest Trail are not wheelchair accessible. The Forest Trail has some hills with some elevation but the hills are not steep or long in duration. Hikers with moderately good health and fitness should have no trouble hiking this short hike. In late winter and early spring, the trails can be icy, muddy, wet or all of the above. Hikers should plan accordingly for the trail conditions to avoid any trail hazards from slippery conditions. 

Sanitation: There are no restrooms or trash bins at the parking area near the Trailhead. Please carry out any trash or animal waste.

Trail information:  There is an information kiosk with a posted map at the trail head parking area. There is a small back mailbox on the kiosk, which sometimes has maps to take and return as well as information about the Francestown Land Trust.  It’s a good idea for visitors to print a map before heading out, or snap a picture of the posted map at the kiosk before heading out.  A map can be printed by going to the link below.


Length and features: By combining the Forest Trail and Rand Brook Forest Road, visitors will be able to enjoy an easy 1.7 mile “loop” hike.

The trail begins past a metal gate and continues up Rand Brook Forest Road which is a spacious wide path. At this point of the hike there are no trail blaze markers but the trail is obvious due to the width of the trail and the evident maintenance performed by the FTL. The Forest Trail branches off of this road to the right not far from the gate. It is very easy to miss the entrance to the Forest trail because the trail sign is situated slightly off of the main pathway.

Once the trail sign is located it is very easy to follow the trail. The Francestown Land Trust has done an excellent job marking the trail with blue diamond shaped trail blaze markers. If hikers miss the entrance off to the right, they can continue on the Rand Brook Forest Road and access the Forest trail at the top of the hill.

For this hike, we chose to continue on the Rand Brook Forest Road and head up the hills. There are a couple of good hills, but as mentioned  previously, they are not very steep or very long but will get your blood pumping if you take them on with a fast pace. The road is flanked on either side by many small trees of varying varieties: white birch, black birch, beech and white pine to name a few.

If hikers visit during winter when foliage is gone, they will be able to see distant hillsides and old stone walls through the dense tree cover. The road leads up the hills to a very large cleared field. The Forest trail is to the right of the field and skirts along a stone wall. The trail is marked by the Blue Diamond blazes which are abundant and very easy to follow. At this junction the trail changes from a road like substrate to a typical forest floor. There are plenty of tree roots and leaf cover along the trail through the woods. The width of the trail is also much narrower and is better suited for hikers to travel single file.

The forest trail winds its way through the forest and descends at a gentle rate. There is one small stream to cross but the Francestown Land Trust has installed a sturdy wooden foot bridge to cross over. The trail connects back to the wide road-like path and back to the parking area.

This hike would be fun to do as a snowshoe or even on cross country ski’s. However, if doing as a cross country ski, it might be better to stay on the Rand Brook Forest road with its nice wide path and do the hike as an “out and back”, and taking advantage of the large open field at the top of the hills. This is a great hike if your time is limited and is a quiet retreat to reconnect with nature and the peace it brings to all visitors.

Explore 79 trails near Francestown, NH
  1. Parking

    42.964065, -71.79799
  2. Main Trailhead

    42.964065, -71.797993
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Write-up by:
2Adamswalking user profile picture
1.7 miles / 2.7 km
Trail added
March 12, 2020
Hiked on
March 11, 2020
Updated on
March 30, 2020

Weather Forecast

In Francestown, NH

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