The North and South Uncanoonuc Trails hike in Goffstown, New Hampshire is a difficult 5-mile loop that features the summits of North and South Uncanoonuc Mountains.
Trail Name (s): White Dot Trail, Red Dot Trail, Class 6 Road Trail, Link Trail, Kenlaw Trail, Unnamed Trail, Mountain Trail, Taber Trail, Summit Trail, Incline Trail, Walker Trail,
Trailhead Location: approximately 227 Mountain Road, Goffstown NH for The White Dot Trailhead,
Allowed activities: hiking, birding, geocaching, nature study, snowmobiling on Class 6 Road Trail and Link Trail,
Forbidden activities: No off road vehicles,
Hours: There are no hours posted for trail use.
Parking and fees: There are no fees to park at any of the parking areas for North or South Uncanoonuc Mountains. Some of the trailhead parking areas have a lot of parking and some have only enough space for a few cars.
Pets: Dogs must remain on a leash at all times and pet waste must be carried out with the hiker.
Accessibility: The trails at this location are not wheelchair accessible.
Sanitation: There are no restrooms at any of the Trailhead parking areas or along any of the trails. There are no trash bins and visitors are strongly encouraged to “carry out” any trash.
Trail information: There is an information Kiosk at the trailhead that is found roughly at 300 Mountain Road, Goffstown NH. The Kiosk has a posted map, but no maps to take or borrow; hikers must bring their own maps or take a picture of the posted map at the small Kiosk trail board. The parking area for the White Dot Trail can be found at roughly 227 Mountain Road, Goffstown NH. The White Dot trail has a white dot for a trail blaze mark. Red Dot Trail has a Red dot for a trail blaze marker. Class 6 Road Trail has wooden named signs but no trail blaze markers. The Link Trail has a Blue Trail blaze marker. Kenlaw Trail has no trail blaze markers but it is an obvious trail, well maintained and easy to follow even without any blazes to guide the way. There is a section of trail between Kenlaw Trail and Mountain Trail that is unnamed. Signs for Taber Trail can be seen but are currently not on any printable or posted maps. Summit Trail has a maroon/purple trail blaze marker and the Walker Trail has a yellow trail blaze marker.
To download a trail map, click on the link below:
Length and features: This was a difficult 5 mile
trek done as a “loop” hike. This hike began from the White Dot trailhead parking
area. To reach the trail visitors must
first park and carefully cross Mountain Road. The entrance is well marked, however
care must be taken when crossing the road as there are cars frequently coming up
or down the Mountain Road.
Hikers will notice that the ascent is almost immediate and continues for quite a way up the trail. This part of the hike is quite strenuous and has the steepest grade of the entire hike. There are geocaches along the trail and they make for a fun excuse to stop for a rest while traveling up the steady steep slope. The footing along this part of the trail is strewn with roots, rocks and tree litter. There are stone outcroppings beside the trail, one showing off someone’s ingenuity having turned one outcropping into a sizeable cave. The forest is thick with Eastern Hemlock and White Pine that provide welcome shade from the mid-day sun.
The climb gradually becomes less steep and the forest gives
way to rocky ledges and small grassy meadows. The trees have grown tall below
this area and hikers can almost see the mountains in the distance. Where the
trees are sparse and the sun shines down along the slope, low bush blueberries
and blackberries carpet the sides of the trail. Bring along a container to
collect the berries or pause for a delicious trail side nibble.
The summit of North Uncanoonuc Mountain is reached at 1,324-feet and the area surrounding the summit is a grassy meadow dotted with small trees for shade, and scattered rock ledges and outcroppings. This is the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic, relax and spend some time berry picking, take in views of the summit of South Uncanoonuc with its many communication towers or gaze toward the City of Manchester NH below.
From the summit of North Uncanoonuc, hikers can
continue by taking either the Red Dot Trail or the Blue Trail. Another option
is to use the summit as an place turn around, retrace their steps back down the
White Dot Trail, making the hike an “out and back” journey. For this hike, we
continued on down the mountain via the Red Dot trail. The Red Dot trail
descends almost as steeply as the White Dot Trail ascends. Caution is needed to
avoid any unintentional slips on the steep rocky sections.
At the base of the Red Dot Trail is the Class 6 Road Trail. The Class 6 Road Trail is a wider trail with a loose gravel terrain. There are wooden named signs as well as an occasional snowmobile sign along this route, but no traditional trail blaze markers. The Class 6 Road Trail narrows as it winds its way through the forest and approaches the Mountain Road termination point. To continue hiking to the summit of South Uncanoonuc, hikers will need to carefully cross over Mountain Road and pick up the hike on the other side of the road via the Link Trail with its blue trail blaze markers.
The link trail is steep and gravely at the start, but widens out and becomes less strenuous. The Link Trail winds its way through the forest and across an open section where the trail crosses over a powerline. Picking up the trail on the other side of the powerline the Link Trail leads hikers to the junction of the Kenlaw and Bickford Trails. For this hike we kept to the right and stayed on the Kenlaw Trail. The Kenlaw Trail has no trail blaze markers, but again is well traveled and easy to follow. There is an abundance of blueberry bushes along this trail and several switch backs that make the ascent up South Uncanoonuc Mountain far less strenuous than the White Dot Trail on North Uncanoonuc Mountain.
The Kenlaw Trail leads hikers to a junction sign where the Taber Trail begins. This trail is not on the map, and it may be that Mountain Trail has been renamed, as we never saw any signs for The Mountain Trail during this hike. By taking what was shown on the map as The Mountain trail, we eventually came upon Summit Road. To continue, hikers will need to cautiously cross over Summit road and pick up the Summit Trail on the other side of Summit Road. The trail blaze marker for the Summit Trail is a maroon/purple dot. The Summit trail winds its way through the Hemlock forest and spills out onto a rocky ledge with panoramic views of the forest below and in the distance, the City of Manchester. The trail continues across the rocky ledge and joins with the Incline Trail not far from the road for the communication towers.
The summit of South Uncanoonuc Mountain is reached at 1,317-feet. The area surrounding the summit has communication towers and is fenced off. The Incline trail begins here and a named wooden sign is not too far from the paved road. There are no trail blaze markers on the Incline Trail. The Incline trail is very steep and the footing is rather treacherous, as the substrate resembles a washed out riverbed. Caution is needed as the terrain is loose and the descent is steep.
The Walker Trail can be found as the first left off of the Incline trail. It is a narrow gravel path at the start. The trail blaze marker for this trail and the trail name sign cannot be seen at the start of the trail hikers will need to hike a bit along this trail before seeing the markers, but will see a gorgeous view of the valley below. At the lookout point, hikers are able to see the trail name sign and notice the trail blaze markers begin, which for the Walker Trail, are yellow dots. Hikers will approach a stone cairn and a sign with the names of the mountains off in the distance. Continuing on the Walker Trail hikers gradually turn and will pass by a burnt out house and then another sign that names the mountains that can be seen from this vantage point. Hikers will cross over a flat wide open rocky ledge area and pick up the trail on the other side, reentering the forest.
Walker Trail leads hikers back toward the Summit trail. Hikers may either retrace their steps back down the mountain on the Taber trail, or continue to the right and down the Summit trail. For this hike, we chose to go down the Summit trail, back to the Like trail and head toward Mountain Road and where the hike terminates at the large parking area where the Information Kiosk is. Hikers must carefully travel a quarter of a mile down Mountain Road back to the White Dot parking area as there is not trail connecting the two parking areas.