Shannon's Trail at Crotched Mountain Town Forest in Greenfield, New Hampshire is a moderate 3.4-mile out-and-back trail that features a mountain summit of Crotched Mountain and beautiful vistas along the route.
Trail name: Shannon’s Trail
Location: There are some options to access this trail. The trail can be accessed by using connecting trails at the Farrington Road Trailhead in Francestown, NH or by using connecting trails located across from the Crotched Mountain Rehab Center on Crotched Mountain Road in Greenfield, NH. The trails that connect to Shannon’s Trail from Francestown, NH will create a much longer hike than accessing the trail from Greenfield, NH. The trail physically crosses the towns of Greenfield and Bennington, NH.
Allowed activities: hiking, snowshoeing, birding, picnicking, nature study.
Forbidden activities: no motorized vehicles, no fires, no camping.
Hours: The Crotched Mountain Forest and trails are open daily from 30 minutes after sunrise and close 30 minutes before sunset, depending on the conditions.
Parking: There is ample parking at either of the trailheads.
Accessibility: Shannon’s Trail is not wheelchair accessible.
Pets: Dogs are not allowed on the wheelchair accessible trails at Crotched Mountain. Shannon’s trail is not named on any of the Greenfield trail maps that are posted in the plaza (near the parking area ) or online. Since Shannon’s trail is not a wheelchair accessible trail and there were no signs posted that prohibit dogs on it, it is reasonably safe to assume that dogs are allowed on Shannon’s Trail. Also, dogs on leash are allowed on the trails from the Farrington Road trailhead. There were several dogs seen with their humans while we hiked. It’s always a good idea to keep dogs on a leash and clean up after them.
Sanitation: At the Greenfield trailhead, there is a large, wheelchair accessible port-a-potty at the parking area that is clean and well maintained. There is no running water, but there is hand sanitizer mounted on the wall just inside the port-a-potty. The public is also welcome to use the restroom at the Crotched Mountain Rehab Centers Main building during their normal business hours. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, this may not be the case. Call ahead if you need to confirm restroom accessibility. There is a small trash bin and a Hiker registration house at the plaza area off of the parking lot. It is best to take out any trash with you. From the Francestown trailhead, there are no restrooms or trash bins.
Trail information: In Greenfield, there is an information kiosk with a posted map at the trail head plaza and parking area. However, the posted map is for the wheelchair accessible trails and Shannon’s trail is not named on this map. The service road up to the lookout platform can be seen on the map, but is not named. There is a map posted at the Farrington Road trailhead in Francestown, NH
A trail map can be found by following the link below:
Length and features: We chose to access Shannon’s
trail from the trailhead in Greenfield NH. This hike is an easy to moderate “out and back”
hike, approximately 3.46 miles round trip. At the summit of this trail is a
rocky outcropping with small sized trees scattered about as well as a cell
tower with random cement blocks that were most likely part of securing the cell
tower at one time. The best views on this trail are not at the summit but
rather just below on another rocky outcropping where a picnic table waits for
weary hikers to stop and have a snack while taking in the views of the
The fastest way to the start of this hike is to bypass Gregg’s trail (dogs are prohibited on Gregg’s trail) that zigs and zags up the hill, and head straight up the service road located off to the left of the information plaza and just before the stone wall. The service road has a gate across it and two forest signs on a pole to the left. The road is not too steep with a loose gravel substrate. There are no markers on the service road but it is obvious due to its width and substrate.
The road will terminate at the top of the hill in a small open area with the lookout platform off to the left. Hikers will have to continue past the platform and along the middle path flanked on either side by small shrubs and saplings. The path becomes narrower and leads across a meadow-like area and toward the woods. Hikers will see the yellow blaze markers and then see a white sign posted for the trail. The trail passes through a rock wall and then into the woods with hemlock and spruce filling the area. The trail is narrow and rock strewn but not hard to navigate.
Waterproof footwear with good treads are a must along this trail as spring streams increased water flow causing parts of the trail to flood or become muddy and wet. The small boulders along the path will slow your speed as you carefully pick your way along the trail. The trail ascends with the area becoming more wooded and rocky with interesting large boulders visible just off the trail. There are some rock scrambles to climb. The incline is not too difficult and the views are well worth the effort.
A word of caution:
On your return trip, there is a split in the narrow trail that looks like a cow
path through the saplings. The split is not marked as to which trail leads back
the way you came. It is important to check your GPS at this junction and stay
to the right.
Vista Point: The best views on this trail are not at the summit but rather just below on another rocky outcropping where a picnic table waits for weary hikers to stop and have a snack while taking in the views of the surrounding mountains.