This Joe English Western Loops hike at the Joe English Reservation in Amherst, New Hampshire is an easy 3.8-mile loop hike that features a pond view, large boulders, and a peaceful walk in the woods along handful of trails that pass through the western side of the park.
Trail name: Bicentennial Trail, Hemlock Trail, Hammond Brook Trail, Eagle Trail, Timber Trail
Location: Joe English Reservation at the Peabody Mill Environmental Center (PMEC), 66 Brook Road, Amherst NH
Allowed activities: Hiking, Nature study, picnicking, Geocaching, Birding, Snowshoeing, Cross country skiing and Mountain biking allowed on most, but not all trails.
Forbidden activities: no motor vehicles, no camping, no fires, no littering, no tailgating, do not alter or build trails, do not park on the road, do not use trails when wet or muddy
Warning: This is a multi-use area and hunting is allowed in season. Visitors are encouraged to wear Hunters Orange or other bright colors to avoid being confused with prey.
Hours: There are no posted hours for trail usage at the Brook Road Kiosk
Fees and Parking: There are two parking areas at this trailhead allowing for ample parking. There is no fee to park or use the trails.
Pets: Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a leash at all times and waste carried with the hiker. Please do not leave bagged dog waste along the trail to “pick up on the way back”. Please take all waste with you as you hike.
Accessibility: For the most part, the trails are not wheelchair accessible from this trail head and are not stroller friendly. There is only a short section of trail around Old Brook Road and the beginning of the trails near the PMEC that could accommodate a wheelchair.
Sanitation: There is a port-a-potty restroom with hand sanitizer as well as a large trash receptacle at the PMEC parking area trail head. Hikers are encouraged to carry out all waste.
Length and Trail information: During this visit we did our hike as a loop that was 3.8 miles long. We hiked some of the trails that are on the West side of the PMEC.
Across from the large parking area at the PMEC is a small pond with memorial benches and picnic tables. Visitors can take a short walk around the pond or have a picnic before or after their hike.
At the Trailhead Kiosk, there is a container for maps to take with you. At the time of our visit, the container was empty. There is a map posted at the kiosk if you want to snap a picture to take along. Visitors should plan ahead and download or print out a map before visiting. The link to the trail system at Joe English Reservation can be found at the link below.
The trails we took for this hike were mostly easy with some having moderate sections to climb. There is a wide range of substrates depending on the trails chosen, but most of the trail hazards were limited to rocky or protruding tree roots. Several of the trails were wide enough for hikers to walk comfortably side by side. There are several boardwalks and low wooden bridges along the trails that assist hikers over wet or muddy areas and streams. There are several benches for hikers to take breaks if needed or if you just want to stop and enjoy the nature surrounding you. All the trails are marked with colored trail blaze markers. There are posts at each trail junction and all posts are numbered and named: some have maps posted to assist hikers to stay on their hike and “hike by number”. The trails are very well maintained and the posted maps make it difficult to lose your way. There is an abundance of Mountain Laurel here: vast sections surround the trails and will be blooming soon, making this a truly beautiful place to hike.
There are lots of highlights at Joe English Reservation. One of the highlights for us is to be able to search for fun geocaches hidden along the trails. Another highlight is the opportunity to be a part of an ongoing Environmental study conducted by the Girl Scouts.
In New Hampshire, the New England Cottontail Rabbit is considered endangered; this is due in part to loss of habitat. In 2017, a timber harvest was conducted along several sections of the Hemlock Trail. Responsible timber harvests open up the tree canopy, letting in more sunlight and encouraging new growth. These new growth areas provide spaces for animals to forage and find protection from predators in the low growing shrubs like Mountain Laurel. A picture post is set up just off of the Hemlock trail and visitors are encouraged to participate in the study by stopping by the post, taking a series of photos, and then uploading the photos to the online study website, thus help document the changes to the habitat.
Additional highlights are the numerous education information posts that have been installed along several of the trails. We were able to stop and read some along the Hammond Brook Trail and Old Brook Trail. These posts enhance our hike by increasing our knowledge about the natural features around the trail. They also give us a reason to pause and absorb the sights and sounds of the forest.
There are numerous trails at the Joe English Reservation and hikers are able to make different hikes each time they visit by changing the combinations of trails to hike. We will be back again and again.