The Smith Brook - Patten Farm Trails via Black Fox Pond Trail at the Deering
Wildlife Sanctuary in Deering, New Hampshire is an easy 3.4-mile loop
hike that features pond views, a cemetery from the 1800's, and an old cellar hole.
Trail names: Black Fox Pond Trail, Smith Brook Trail, Patten Farm Trail, Clement Hill Road
Location: Deering Wildlife Sanctuary, Clement Hill Road, Deering NH
Allowed activities: Hiking, nature study, snowshoeing, birdwatching
Trail restrictions: Only foot traffic is allowed on the trails. No hunting, No camping, No Fires, No Firearms, No horses, No motor vehicles, No bicycles, No swimming, No smoking
Hours: Daylight Hours only
Fees and Parking: There are no fees to park or use the trails. There is ample off road parking at the trailhead parking areas.
Pets: Dogs are only allowed on the Patten Farm Trail and must be leashed
Accessibility: The trails are not wheelchair accessible
Sanitation: There are no restrooms or trash bins at the trailhead or along the trails. Please carry out all trash including animal waste.
Length and Trail information: This easy 3.4 mile hike was done mostly as a loop with an out and back hike on the Patten Farm Trail included so that we could explore an old cemetery from the 1800’s.
We had previously hiked at the Deering Wildlife Sanctuary and wanted to visit the trails that were opposite the Black Fox Pond. We parked at Trailhead on Clement Hill Road. There is an information kiosk at this parking area and posted map of the trails, but no trails to take along. A trail map can be downloaded or printed by following the link below (be sure to scroll down to find the map):
We hiked along the Black Fox Pond trail with its yellow trail blaze markers until we came to a junction where a memorial bench sits next to the dam with views of the pond. We headed away from the pond following the trail into the woods. We came upon a chain gate and another parking area. We then crossed the street and continued our hike along the Smith Brook Trail with its yellow trail blaze markers and back into the woods. The trail skirts a large swampy area. The NH Audubon websites says that in the 1990’s beavers built a pond here. The water table is now extremely low, and only a tiny bit of water remains for the areas wildlife. It was unclear if the area was dry because of our current drought situation in New Hampshire or if this was due to the beaver no longer living in the area. The trail continued into the forest and brought us to a Smith Brook. There is a very sturdy wooden bridge that has been installed to assist hikers to for the stream, and continue the hike along the other side of the stream. There are the usual trip hazards to watch for along the trail, such as roots and rocks as well as downed trees to navigate around. If you enjoy finding old cellar holes, this hike has one that can be seen from the trail. We hiked until we came upon the junction of the Patten Farm Trail. There is no trail sign at this junction, but hikers will notice the trail off to the side as well as Red trail blaze markers directing off the Smith Brook Trail. We wanted to extend our hike and visit an old Cemetery from the 1800’s that is at the end of the Patten Farm Trail. There is another parking area not far from the Cemetery on Clement Hill Road, but it is not noted on the map. This part of the road is not maintained year round. The Road is maintained from April 10th to December 10th. so access cannot be guaranteed. This parking area allows access to the Patten Farm Trail if hikers want to bring their dogs however, please bear in mind that this is an Audubon wildlife sanctuary and all dogs must be kept on a short leash and owners must remove all pet waste. After exploring the cemetery, we backtracked on the Patten Farm Trail until we came back to the junction with the Smith Brook Trail and continued until we reached Clement Hill Road. Hikers can cross the street and enter back into the woods, or head up Clement Hill Road back to the parking area. We chose to hike along the road as there is not much traffic here, and we finished up our hike back at the trailhead parking.