The Garwin Falls Trail and Unnamed Snowmobile Trails in Wilton, New Hampshire is an easy 3-mile out-and-back hike that covers two different trails and features a large waterfall.
Trail Name: Garwin Falls Trail and Unnamed Snowmobile trails.
Trailhead Location: Isaac Frye Highway, Wilton NH.
Allowed activities: biking, hiking, birding, geocaching, foraging, snowmobiling.
Forbidden activities: Littering, use of alcohol, fires, and no ATVs.
Hours: Trails are open daily. There are no hours of operation posted.
Warning: Winter and early spring visitors may encounter dangerous icy conditions.
Parking: There is very limited parking at the trailhead, and only enough room for 4 cars. The Town of Wilton has HEAVILY posted “no parking” signs along the road to discourage any street side parking.
Pets: Dogs are allowed on the trails as long as they are leashed and waste is carried out with the hiker.
Accessibility: This is not a hike recommended for anyone who may have mobility issues. This trail has a flat wide path to start, but turns into a gravely rocky descent in less than an eighth of a mile in.
Sanitation: There are no restrooms or trash bins at the trailhead. Please carry out any waste and leave no trace.
Trail information: There is no Kiosk or posted Trail map. The trail to the falls is wide and the hike to the falls is short.
Length and features: The hike to Garwin Falls is only 1 mile round trip done as an out and back hike. Hikers will first travel down a nice, wide flat road that has a sign posted reminding visitors that this is privately owned land. The trails have been developed thanks to the local snowmobile club called “Wilton-Lyndeborough Winter Wanderers”. The trail turns to the left and hikers can see from the trail the remains of an old cellar hole. There is an active geocache hidden not too far from this area of the trail, there is another one located near the trailhead parking area. The trail begins to descend and narrow at the turn and the footing becomes less smooth with a rocky substrate. The trail leads along an old dam site that now has a meadow growing and a stream traveling toward the falls. Hikers can hear the waterfalls at this point and there are several places where a short bushwhack to the right will reward the visitor with a picturesque spot or a preview of the falls just ahead. The falls can be seen from the trail off to the right. There is a path leading down to the falls where visitors can enjoy the sights, sounds or take pictures. If it’s a hot day, there are several spots to enter for a quick dip to cool off.
There is an orange sign posted just before the falls, asking visitors to “Please keep our community CLEAN”. This is privately owned land and if visitors do not clean up after themselves, access to the Garwin Falls and trails could be denied. The Garwin Falls trail terminates at the falls; however there is an unnamed snowmobile trail here that is marked by a White square trail blaze that has a Red Diamond center. This trail can be hiked without difficulty. It is very wide and well maintained. The trail has an orange sign posted with a black arrow pointing the way. The trail continues through the forest and along a stream and eventually comes to a parking area at Sand Hill Road and a gate to cross through. If the trail head on Isaac Frye Highway is full, this is an option for parking and visiting the falls, although the hike in will be a little bit longer. Carefully crossing over Sand Hill Road, the trail continues through a small meadow where the trail is less traveled and the grasses have grown up a bit. Continuing on the trail, hikers will see posted snowmobile stop sign and will see another gate at Burns Hill Road. This area could be a second option for parking and hiking in to the falls if the Isaac Frye Highway trailhead is full. The trails continue across Burns Hill Road and onto the Sullivan Family property. A sign is posted there explaining the tree harvesting that occurred in 2016. The public is welcome to use these trails, but are asked to be respectful of their property and treat it as they would want their own property treated. We chose to make this spot the place to turn around, retrace our steps. When we got to the falls, we realized that another unnamed trail was available to explore. This trail is not marked either, but is at the junction of the Garwin Falls trail and the previously hiked Red diamond marked snowmobile trail. This trail has some loose rocky footing and some muddy areas. It crosses a stream, but a wooden bridge makes crossing easy. The trail has some ascents and descents, but nothing too dramatic. There are no blaze markers on this trail either, but it’s wide enough not to get lost. The only signs posted were signs warning visitors to NOT be on an ATV. There is not a whole lot to see on this trail, but it is a nice walk in the woods. The trail exits the forest and crosses over Holt Road. We chose to end our hike at Holt Road and retrace our steps back past the Garwin Falls and then back to the Isaac Frye Highway Trailhead.
The hike to Garwin Falls is a short one, and worth the trip to see the beauty of the waterfalls. If hikers want to add on to their visit, as we did, and enjoy the trails made by the snowmobilers, it’s an easy thing to do.
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