Visit the Ossipee Pine Barrens
7.5 miles of hiking trails in the preserve provide terrific opportunities to explore the Ossipee Pine Barrens Preserve. The 3/4-mile accessible trail is flat and graded to accommodate visitors of all abilities, including those using wheelchairs or pushing strollers. Access this trail from the parking area on Route 41.
The 1.3 mile Pine Barrens Loop begins at the preserve parking area along Route 41 in Madison and offers an easy excursion through classic pitch pine/scrub oak barrens, while the 3.2 mile West Branch Trail is a popular snowmobile trail that begins just across from the boat access on the south end of Silver Lake, follows the West Branch, and traverses through pitch pine and hardwood forests before ending at the Camp Calumet Conference Center.
A trail leading from the Camp Calument Center parking area up to Jackman Ridge offers excellent views of the pine barrens, the Ossipee Mountains, and Ossipee Lake. Trails off of Leadmine Road provide access to Cook’s Pond and Cook’s River along with an interesting sandy esker.
Trails are easy to moderately strenuous. Summer is prime time to visit the pine barrens when blueberries are plentiful and the songs of whip-poor-wills fill the nighttime air. Fall is beautiful as the scrub oaks and blueberry bushes in the understory turn a brilliant scarlet. You can also canoe or kayak on Cook’s River and Pond from the Town of Madison boat launch on Silver Lake.
Special Visitation Guidelines
Dogs are required to be leashed at all times in order to protect birds, wildlife, habitat and the safety of other visitors. This is especially important during the breeding bird season as many of the rare species nest on the ground from late May through mid-July.
Visitors of all abilities should check out the universally accessible trail. It is perfect for wheelchairs, strollers and those using canes or other assistive devices.
Take a short (1.65 mile) loop hike along the Pine Barrens Loop Trail off Route 41. There are additional trails to explore here!
Check out the fire protection buffers along Route 41 and along the Pine Barrens Trail near the West Branch entrance. The Conservancy cleared these areas to mimic fire disturbance and protect nearby homes from wildfire.
In early summer, this is the best place in New Hampshire to hear whip-poor-wills and nighthawks; best after dusk. Later in summer, the blueberries are ripe!
Please enjoy the preserve responsibly
• No camping or open fires allowed.
• Motorized vehicles (except snowmobiles along designated trails) and horses are prohibited.
• Keep pets leashed to avoid disturbance to birds, other wildlife and preserve visitors.
• Hunting is allowed on portions of the preserve. Tree stands and blinds are prohibited. Please obey all posted signs and contact NH Fish & Game for dates and regulations.
• No removal or destruction of plants, wildlife, minerals or cultural items.
• Carry in/carry out trash (and any you find).