NH Family Hikes

Chesterfield Gorge

Length: 0.7 miles out-and-back with loop

Difficulty (click for info): Beginner

Elevation Gain: 160 feet

Rating (click for info): 6/10

Height: 120'

Source: Wilde Brook

Driving Directions:
Trailhead and parking area are on Rt. 9 in Chesterfield, NH, 0.5 miles east of the eastern junction with the Rt. 9A loop road around Spofford Lake and 5.7 miles west of the traffic light with Rts. 10 and 12. The entrance is on the north side of the road, just west of a four-way with Sugar Maple Lane and Wellington Drive. Click here for a Google map.

About the Hike:
This state wayside showcases a beautiful cascade chain in a dark forest ravine. A well-maintained loop trail takes you around both sides of the Chesterfield Gorge. Follow the trail behind the kiosk at the middle of the parking area. The trail begins as a wide dirt path through the forest, descending gently through a shady woodland of sparse hemlocks. As it reaches the brook in just over 0.1 miles, it splits into a loop, with the right side crossing on a bridge. We recommend completing the loop in the counterclockwise direction, crossing the bridge first. This allows you to enjoy the best views of the cascades facing forward when you walk back uphill. On this side of the gorge, the brook bank slopes down to the ledgy bottom where the cascades are. You will see across to the cliffs walling in the other side. It's around 0.2 miles to get to the bottom of the loop, where the trail crosses the brook on another bridge. Now you climb back uphill along the top of the cliff walls, lined with a fence. This side affords the best shots of the cascades, with the best view being near the bottom. None has a single drop of substantial height, but taken together, they cover over 150 feet of vertical. The chain of rushing water persists for the entire length of the gorge. Different points as you walk along the edge allow for good views of the individual cascades. In the same distance, you will arrive back at the first bridge and can walk the trail back to the parking area.

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