Editor’s note: This “Taking to the Trails” column first appeared in The Londonderry Times newspaper.
By Mike Byerly, Londonderry Trailways
Let’s face it, some people dread winter. However, for those who enjoy winter weather, Londonderry is a great place for getting outside for fun, exercise and fresh air – even in the winter! Aside from your own yard, there are many recreational areas in town that provide joy in the white stuff.
At the top of the list is Mack’s Apples on Mammoth Road. It offers a very popular sledding hill behind their main building, with a small hill for the less daring and a large hill for the more adventurous. In fact, Mack’s, Sunnycrest, Elwood, and Merrill orchards offer miles and miles of space for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or just walking through the snow.
Hike, ski, skate or fish
At Mack’s you will find a groomed cross-country trail that runs to Adams Pond, then up and around their orchard on Adams Road. The trail entrance is on the dirt road that runs between Mammoth and Pillsbury Roads. If you walk along the Adams Pond Trail, please stay outside the groomed area to protect the grooming for skiers.
All the orchards have plenty of ungroomed snowscape available. When it is cold enough you can ice skate on the pond at Mack’s. Speaking of ponds, Scobie Pond on Brewster Road in Londonderry is a fun place for ice fishing if that is your thing.
If you want to hike, snowshoe or cross-country ski on wooded trails you have many options. For a short hike, check out the Kendall Pond Conservation Area. This is an easy loop and great for little ones.
Fun in the Musquash & Rail Trail
For more variety and challenge, the Musquash Conservation Area is very popular with residents from all over southern New Hampshire. It offers over 20 miles of serene, well-marked trails that can be accessed from trailheads on Tanager Way, Preserve Drive, Faucher Road, Sara Beth Lane and Hickory Hill Drive. The trails are blazed and well signed, and maps are available at each trailhead.
In February, the Conservation Commission holds its annual Musquash Field Day event. A short walk in from Hickory Hill Drive, the event includes a campfire, free food and fun activities for kids and adults alike. The Musquash is also very popular with mountain bikers, even in the winter. They use fat tire bikes for improved traction and control.
While it is not plowed or maintained in any other way during the winter, the Londonderry Rail Trail is another great option for getting outside in the winter to walk, or if snowfall cooperates, cross-country ski or snowshoe.
Regardless of where you go, at times when the snow gets packed down and moisture conspires with cold temperature to form a layer of ice, walking in regular footwear can be treacherous. In cases like this, it is a good idea to get some microspikes that fit over your boots, for added traction.
And if you are still not convinced to embrace the Londonderry winter scene, pack your bags and take a nice drive over to the north side of Londonderry and Manchester Boston Regional Airport. It offers daily non-stop flights to Florida.