Horse Hill Nature Preserve, Merrimack
Hiking, biking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, hunting, and snowmobile and horseback riding.
Not Permitted Activities:
ATV use and Target Shooting is expressly prohibited.
The 563± acre property consists of gently rolling to fairly steep terrain and two hills approximately 400' elevation. The land was cleared for pasture many years ago, it has been logged several times, and now consists primarily of mixed hardwood forest with trees between 20 and 60 years of age. The property includes a series of streams, ponds, swamps, and numerous wetlands totaling approximately 60 acres. The varied terrain, habitat, and large areas of undisturbed open space have encouraged a wide variety of wildlife to thrive on the property.
The trails are 30% doubletrack and 70% singletrack. There are two large hills (Horse Hill and Blodgett Hill) with several routes up and down each allowing for multiple loops. If you stay on the loop trail right out of the Amherst Rd parking lot the trails are relatively flat and suitable for a novice rider. Loop will give you roughly 4.5 miles and give you a few challenges to test your skills. There are a few singletrack trails you don’t want to miss if you are looking for some tech, Outer Ledges, Twister and East Slope. There are also many unmarked trails, so if you can score a guide to bring you around, do it. Horse Hill has many beaver ponds within the 560 acres so if it rains, give it time to dry out.
There is another group of trails on the other side of Naticook Road using Quarry Trail that are commonly referred to as the Greens Pond / Wasserman Park trails. Total mileage at Horse Hill is around 12+ miles, 15-20 miles if you cross Naticook. The largest parking lot is at 184 Amherst Road in Merrimack, NH and you can print a trail map from merrimackoutdoors.org.
The Preserve takes its name from Horse Hill, one of two 400' hills located within the Preserve. Blodgett Hill, the highest point within the Preserve, is named for the Blodgett family who were early settlers of this part of Merrimack. The Spalding family were also early settlers, and the foundation of the house of a Captain Spalding is located in the Preserve. Numerous stone walls still mark the one time farming activities of these two families. Two hand dug, stone lined, wells are located on the property. One of these wells is still in use today. A well preserved portion of Old Kings Highway, a Colonial road which once ran from Keene to Portsmouth, crosses the southeast corner of the Preserve.
Horse Hill has a dedicated group of trail workers including many from Southern NH NEMBA that keep things clean and ever expanding. Many of them also groom the singletrack in the winter for Fat Biking so it has become a premiere fat bike spot. HH also hosts all day dog walking, snow shoe races, Audubon Society hikes, scouting hikes, and geocaching events.
Come and enjoy this little gem tucked between Nashua and Manchester