For those of you who like to hike Concords offers over 56 miles of trails to walk. From short 1/4 mile jaunts to a 7 mile hike. Some flat, some hilly, some wooded, some open you can choose what you enjoy. Over the next few months we will be hiking all the trails found here (http://www.concordnh.gov/trails) and jotting down our thoughts.
The Marjory Swope trail found on Long Pond Road in Concord is a fairly new trail to the system and has 3 different trails with great views. Starting at the trailhead you can go either right of left as the trail loops around. Starting to the right (blue blaze) takes you uphill right away (going to the left is a little easier) but it follows the side of the mountain making the 300+ ft. elevation change easy enough feet even kids can hike this trail. After about 15 minutes you come to the view you see above. This is Penacook Lake and on a clear day you can see the mountains beyond. Take a quick rest on the bench and then continue on. The trail mellows out from here and after a few minutes you come to a trail blazed in yellow which links back to the blue trail or hooks up with the orange blaze trail. The trails are wooded and well marked. By following either the yellow or orange trails (which runs off the blue trail) you come to Gilfillan Rock. From here you have views of Crotched Mt and Pats Peak. A good challenge is to go left at the trailheads follow the blue trail to the orange trail and go right and follow it up. This trail gives your legs and lungs a decent workout as it goes straight up the side of this mini mountain.. The whole trail system is about 2 miles and can be hiked in under an hour if you push. Or take your time and it can be a 2 hour exploration. Open year round (you have to park on the road in the winter) this is a really nice way to spend a morning or afternoon enjoying the outdoors.
Sunday I decided to hike the Swope trail to Carter Hill Orchard. This 3.3 mile hike (total) can be accessed from either side of the main trail and then you can choose to hike to Carter Hill or Dimond Hill Farm. The hike starts flat but then slowly works its way uphill for most of the hike. It is wide enough to walk 2 abreast in most spots and well marked with Red squares to keep you on track. While not extremely steep it does have some good inclines. Views include a small pond and deep woods with a lot of stone walls.
After a little over a mile you come to District 5 road...take a left and walk down about 100 yards and you'll find the trail going right into the woods (this is private land so please stay on the trail and don't litter as this is a nice gesture from the land owner). The trail again starts uphill for about 3/4 of a mile and then levels out. When you get to the junction you can access Carter Hill 2 ways. To the right you end up in the back of the orchard (go left then right and follow the rows to the store) to the left you end up going by the pond and come up in the backside of the store. A really nice cardio hike and I was the only person of the trail that day. The whole hike took me 2 hours at a leisurely pace. I parked at Marjory Swope and had my wife pick me up at Carter Hill when I was done but you can park at either end.