4.0 Miles / 6.4 km
Time to Hike:
2 hours
Surface Type:
Stoddard, New Hampshire
1200 shedd hill road, stoddard nh
43.106195, -72.082378
June 21, 2020
July 15, 2020
238 '

Total Change
738 '

758 '


The Stoddard Rocks via Pioneer Lake Trail in Stoddard, New Hampshire is an easy 4-mile out-and-back trail that follows several trails and features views of Pioneer Lake and leads hikers past large boulders, also known as the Stoddard Rocks.

Trail name(s): Pickerel Cove Trail, Pioneer Lake Dam Trail, Apple Orchard Trail, North Apple Orchard Trail Or Pickerel Cove Trail and Dodge Farm Road

Location:  Pickerel Cove, Stoddard Rocks /Pioneer Lake Preserve, Shedd Hill Road, Stoddard, NH

Allowed activities:  Hiking, birding, geocaching, nature study, picnicking, snow shoeing, cross country skiing

Forbidden activities:  no littering, no fires, no camping, no motor vehicles, foot traffic only, no hunting, no trapping, no boats

Hours:  Trails are open from dusk to dawn

Fees and Parking:  There are no fees to park or to use the trails. There is limited parking at the Pickerel Cove trailhead.

Pets: Dogs are allowed on the trails and must be leashed at all times. Please pick up after your pet, do not leave waste along trails in bags to “pick up on the way back”, take it with you.

Accessibility:  The trails are not wheelchair or stroller accessible.

Sanitation: There are no restrooms or trash bins.  Please carry out all waste.

Bouldering: Stoddard Rocks are a great place for bouldering and boulder climbing.

Length and Trail information:  This hike was done as an easy/moderate 3.94 mile “out and back” hike.  There is an information kiosk at the start of the trail just beyond the parking area. Visitors will find a trail map posted along with historical information about the Preserve. There are no trail maps to take along from this kiosk. The trail blaze markers are diamond shaped white markers outlined by a thick red border.  Unfortunately, there are no other markers or signs out on the trails informing hikers that the trail has ended or has changed to another named trail. Finding a good downloadable map online has proved to be very difficult. The trail map posted at the kiosk shows several trail names assigned to the trails we hiked, and other maps online, show that we hiked on the Pickerel Cove Trail and the Dodge Farm Road.  Some maps will show Pioneer Lake as Pickerel Creek Pond. Our advice is to take several pictures of the posted map at the kiosk and make sure you are able to access it during your hike. 

The Stoddard Conservation Commission has an online map, but it is not very detailed. The link below will provide a map, but you may have to move around and zoom in to find the trails.

If you type in: “Stoddard Rocks, NH, USA “at the website search box, the map will center. To get detail to print, zoom in until you find the maroon marked trail system.  The locations you will want are close to the northeast border of the Cheshire/Sullivan County lines.  On this map, Pioneer Lake is called Pickerel Creek Pond:


 In 2010, a “forever wild” conservation easement was placed on this land and was granted to the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.  The goal of this “forever wild” status is to minimize “human manipulation” thus encouraging biodiversity and protecting the “ecological integrity and the wild character of the land”. There are sections of the trail that are indeed very wild. We initially had hoped to hike around Pioneer Lake, but the trail became too ambiguous to continue and so we altered our plans to more evident and passable trails.

This Preserve protects some 731 acres of wetlands, ponds and forests.  Along the Pickerel Cove trail the footing is very uneven, rocky and root covered with lots of turns, dips and changes in elevation. Wear good hiking boots and watch your step. Here, the thick tree canopy keeps the forest shaded and cool. There are interesting rocks to explore, plant life to study and several different birds living in this protected area.  There are several geocaches to hunt for that adds an extra layer of fun to this hike. 

The trail changes from a narrow twisty path to a class 6 road once the trail exits onto what some maps refer to as Dodge Farm Road. The trail leads hikers past Pioneer Lake (which is also called Pickerel Creek Pond on some maps).

Pioneer Lake is a large 50 acre tranquil lake, with no developed shore line. This lake is also home to pollywogs, hundreds of dragonflies and nesting Loons. We were able to spot a Loon out on the lake during our visit and heard its haunting call.  A Beaver was spotted swimming just off of the shoreline that let us know it was time to move on with a loud SLAP of its tail against the lake surface.

We continued to follow the white and red trail blazes away from the Lake and headed westward up the road and through the forest. There were several trees down across sections of the trail, but they were easy to either go around on step over.  The trail blaze markers stopped and the trail went from a wide road to a single path. The path led through a fern filled meadow. The options at this point were to continue straight staying on Dodge Farm Road (aka North Apple Orchard Trail), or head off onto Apple Orchard trail to the right, or turn around. The trail off to the right will lead visitors to The Stoddard Rocks. The trail blaze markers are nonexistent here.  We followed the Dodge Farm Road (North Apple Orchard Trail) straight through the ferns where it opened back out to a wider path and then changed back to a single wide foot trail. This trail leads through the forest to a locked and posted gate that was marked as the “Pioneer Lake preserve” located on East Shore Drive. At this point, we turned around and retraced our steps.

Although this is a beautiful place to hike, the map, signage and limited markers leave a lot to be desired. Study the area before you head out, make sure you have good batteries in your GPS and go have an adventure.

Explore 72 trails near Stoddard, NH
  1. Parking

    43.106195, -72.082378
  2. Main Trailhead

    43.106102, -72.082425
No community routes found. To add your own hike as a Community Route for this Trail guide, leave a Trip Report with an attached GPX file.


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Write-up by:
2Adamswalking user profile picture
4.0 miles / 6.4 km
Trail added
June 21, 2020
Hiked on
June 17, 2020
Updated on
July 15, 2020
4.0 miles / 6.4 km
February 21, 2021

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In Stoddard, NH

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