The Mt. Wallingford Trail at Buxton Forest / Elizabeth Simons Preserve in Weare, New Hampshire is a moderate 2.9-mile out-and-back trail that summits Mount Wallingford and features spectacular views.
Trail name: Mount Wallingford Trail.
Location: Buxton Forest and Elizabeth Simons Preserve, Flanders Memorial Drive, Weare NH.
Allowed activities: Hiking, Bicycling, Horseback riding, Geocaching, Nature study, Snowshoeing, Snowmobiling, Cross country skiing.
Forbidden activities: No motorized Wheeled Vehicles, no camping, no fires, no littering, no disturbing plants, animals or cultural features.
Special note: On the Forest Society website “HUNTING” is mentioned as a recreation opportunity. HOWEVER…. It also states on the same website that visitors are “not to disturb animals” in this area. Our advice is to err on the side of caution and wear some kind of gear that would make you stand out during hunting season and call the Forest Society to clarify the hunting permissions needed if you plan on hunting in that area.
Hours: This area is managed by the Protection for New Hampshire forests. There are no posted hours at trailhead and no mention of hours at the Forest Society’s website.
Fees and Parking: There are no fees to park or use the trail. The Parking area is small allowing limited off street parking for up to 3 vehicles and is not plowed in the winter.
Pets: There are no restrictions on pets posted at the trailhead. The Forest Societies website lists “dog walking” as one of the recreation opportunities for this area.
Accessibility: The trail is not wheelchair accessible. There is a gate across the start of the trail.
Sanitation: There are no trash receptacles or restrooms. Please carry out all trash.
Length and Trail information: The trail is approximately 2.92 miles long and is done as an out and back hike. The majority of the hike is easy for all fitness levels; however it becomes more strenuous as the trail ascends the Mountain. The trail is wide and well-marked by yellow blazes on trees along the trail. The substrate of the trail is most like a class six road and is almost as wide in some areas. There are few trip hazards other than the normal roots and rocks and the occasional tree debris. Occasionally, hikers will see painted wooden arrow signs and when the trail intersects with snowmobile paths, orange markers and signs for snowmobiling can be seen alongside the yellow blazes. The Forest Society website states that there is a kiosk at the trailhead; however we did not find one there. If hikers would like to download a trail map they can do so by following the link below:
At the time of our hike (early Spring 2021), the State of New Hampshire is teetering
on the brink of a drought. Despite the small amount of snow over the winter and
the limited amount of rain this Spring, there were still some muddy wet spots
along the trail that needed circumvention. During the hike we passed two swamps/ponds,
and both had an ample amount of water to support a very loud population of wood
frogs. There were several areas along the hike where large trees had snapped
and damaged over the winter. Caution should be used when passing near or
underneath the broken trees.
There are a couple of fun geocaches to look for on this trail and hikers will not have to stray too far off the trail to find them. There are also two designated Nature studies that Hikers can participate in set up by the NH Forest Society, as of April 2021. At two spots along the trail, posts have been installed with instructions for taking pictures and then where to upload them to. These shared pictures will help document the changes to the Environment. From this post the trail narrows, and wanders up and through a thick stand of young saplings. The trail then opens out onto a large area that is surrounded by low bush blueberries and juniper bushes and offers hikers a lovely view of the surrounding towns below and the mountains in the distance. Beyond this open area, there is a large rock cairn that marks the end of the maintained trail. There is a path beyond the cairn that leads to the highest point on Mt Wallingford. There are no nice views here, just another smaller cairn to mark the spot. If you want to find the cairn, use GPS, and then retrace your steps back to the trail.