The Jaquith Rail - Eastview - North Pond Loop at the Harris Center for Conservation Education in Hancock, New Hampshire is an easy 6.5-mile loop hike that features an old railroad bed, scenic brooks, glacial erratic, and beautiful pond views that follow several name trails and a road.
Trail name: Jaquith Rail Trail, Eastview Trail, North Pond Trail and Jaquith Road
Location: Jaquith Road, Hancock NH
Allowed activities: Hiking, Mountain biking, Nature Study, Horseback riding, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, geocaching
Forbidden activities: No Motorized vehicles, No fires, no hunting
Hours: There are no posted hours at either the Jaquith Rail Trail or Eastview Trail information kiosks
Fees and Parking: There are no fees to park or to use the trails. The parking at the Jaquith Rail Trail Trailhead is not marked. The Jaquith parking area is privately owned and is not maintained in the winter. Parking at the west end of the Eastview Trail does have a Trail parking sign out by the road. Both parking areas have ample parking spaces.
Pets: Dogs are welcomed as long as they remain on a leash and they have their waste removed.
Accessibility: The trails are not wheelchair accessible.
Sanitation: There are no restrooms or trash bins at either of the trailheads or along the trails. Please carry out what you carry in.
Trail information: For this journey, we intended to hike an “out and back” hike by following the Jaquith Rail Trail in Hancock NH eastward toward the Eastview Trail and then heading back once we reached the end of the Eastview Trail on Hancock Road in Harrisville NH.
We ended up changing our hike to a “loop” by including the North Pond Trail and Jaquith Road. There are no trail blaze markers along the Rail Trails or Jaquith Road but North Pond Trail has blue blazes. All the trails along this hike were easy. We hiked a total of 6.5 miles.
On the East end of the hike is the parking area and Trailhead for the Jaquith Rail Trail. The parking area for the Jaquith Rail Trail is not marked from the street. Visitors will want to be watchful for the entrance of the parking area just after passing between the large stone remnants of the trestle bridge on the South side of Jaquith road. Once you find the parking area for the Jaquith Rail Trail, there is plenty of room to park and there is an information kiosk with a posted map. There would normally be maps to take, but at the time of our visit the map holder was empty. A copy of the Jaquith Rail Trail can be downloaded by following the link below:
Hikers may not realize that they are on two separate trails as the Jaquith Rail Trail starts on Jaquith Road in Hancock, NH and ends 1.5 miles at Jaquith Road in Harrisville, NH. At this location, hikers can continue their hike by crossing the road and connecting onto the Eastview Trail. There is no kiosk at this junction for either of the trails. Hikers will see a chain across the end of the Jaquith Rail Trail. Opposite the chain hikers will see a painted wooden sign (“Eastview Trail”) nailed to a tree as well as a painted trail map holder on the Eastview trail side. Off street parking is not available here.
At the West end of the Eastview Trail, parking is located off of Hancock Road in Harrisville, NH. There is a small sign that marks the parking area and it is visible from Hancock Road. At the end of the parking area is a bridge that crosses over the Nubanusit Brook. Past the bridge is an information kiosk with a posted map and some trail information. A trail sign is posted on a nearby tree and maps to take along the hike are inside a painted map holder just below the sign. The map offers some history of the area and a brief description of the trails. Hikers can also download a trail map by following the link below:
Even without a trail map the trail is very easy to follow. The substrate at the beginning of the Jaquith Rail trail is gravely and wide. The trail slowly narrows and the embankments become steeper. There are several sections where hikers will need to watch their footing as they travel over the wooden railroad ties that are protruding from the trail. The trail widens out again, and off to the left side of the trail a large glacial erratic can be seen. Just a little further on hikers will see a mile marker just before the 50 foot trestle bridge that crosses high above the beautiful Jaquith Brook below. This bridge was replaced in 2018 thanks to the Harris Center, the Harrisville Trails Committee and several community participants. There is access to the brook just off to the right side of the trail. Hikers venturing down the side of the trail will be able to see a different view of the massive granite blocks that were once part of an old trestle bridge as well as the underside of the new bridge. The bridge and its granite supports on either side are truly impressive. As a nod to days gone by, one of the metal railroad spikes has been welded to the side of the bridge. The end of the Jaquith Rail Trail ends not too far from the bridge and the Eastview Trail begins across the road.
As we continued our hike we came upon a small beaver pond. We were delighted to find a bench to sit so we stopped for a minute to relax and take in the symphony of the birds and frogs that live in this beautiful spot. Past the pond, the Eastview Trail narrows to a single footpath but widens out again as it nears the end of the trail. Off to the side of the trail hikers will be able to catch glimpses through the woods of the Nubanusit Brook that runs alongside the trail.
As mentioned at the start of this report, we decided to incorporate the North Pond Trail into our outing. The North Pond Trail runs north to south of the Rail Trails. The trail is narrow, and the topography is rolling but not severe. The substrate has roots and rocks to be aware of. The trail meanders through the dense mixed wood forest and offers views of North Pond as it passes by glacial erratics and old stone walls. The trail is well blazed and turning points are well marked. The North Pond trail terminates on Jaquith Road which at this point looks like an old logging road. There are painted wooden signs in either direction. Heading west is a sign that says “Cobb Hill Trail” and heading east is another wooden painted sign: “Merrill 4 Corners”. We headed east toward Merrill 4 Corners. There are no longer blazes to mark the trail, but the trail is wide and easily to follow. The trail heads downhill past a wooden gate. Across the street from the gate is a private residence where the road comes to a dead end. The only option is to turn to the right and travel down the dirt road. About a quarter of a mile from the house and gate, there is a parking area for hikers to access these trails. The area is marked with a Harris Center sign. This parking area is a good size and would allow for several vehicles to park but it was a bit overgrown.
We continued past this parking area and straight on Jaquith Road. We realized that our change of plans would make part of our hike on a residential part of Jaquith Road. We have had hikes in the past where we had to hike along roads and that can take away from the tranquility we experience when hiking in the woods. We decided to give it a shot because, well, we are in rural New Hampshire and the road we traveled on was a dirt road with very little vehicle activity on it. We were pleasantly surprised by our decision. Along this section of the hike we saw a gorgeous view of Mount Monadnock framed by a beautiful meadow and body of water in the distance. We passed by a sign posted by a generous land owner inviting visitors to park in a designated area and to responsibly enjoy the surrounding area for fishing or to observe nature. We passed by an old New England Barn across the street from some massive rock formations that were beyond impressive. We were pleasantly surprised by the beautiful sights we saw along the way, so our apprehension about being on the residential road was unwarranted and we were glad we made the decision to change our plans.