Spring is right around the corner! With temps reaching 75 already, many Wildcats are looking for places to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday UNH life. Luckily, we find ourselves surrounded by some of the most beautiful areas in the region, if you know where to look. With warm weather bearing down on us, put down your phones, leave your laptops behind, and check out some of these gorgeous spots for a nice stroll!
Most people think of T-Hall when they’re asked about the most beautiful places on campus, but no one really thinks of the great expanse of forest that we call College Woods. Home to both a natural, preserved area and a recently cut area, the woods provide the perfect opportunity for discovery and research for students,faculty, and staff at UNH. But it’s vast network of paths opens it up to more than just researchers. Venture deep into the woods on a sunny day and you’ll pass runners, bikers, families, hammockers, and maybe even a class or two. The best part about this particular get-away is that it’s so close to home. With entrances all over the UNH campus, you’re never too far away from the woods at UNH. There are entrances by the Field House, along Mill Road, and even one over by West Edge. The paths will take you down by the Oyster River, where ice is still flowing, all the way to the train tracks by Mill Road. If you find yourself without a car on campus, this is definitely the best place for a nature walk as it is so close to home. And don’t worry about getting lost, the trails are easy to follow and usually end at a fairly recognizable part of campus!
Located on Route 155 in Madbury, Kingman Farm is a beautiful area just three miles from campus. The area is owned by UNH is used for educational field experience for those in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment. But of the 330 acres of land, 230 acres is strictly woodland. This vast expanse includes a beautiful trail system used year round for nature walks, biking, cross-country skiing, and even snowmobiling! Not only is there a huge system of paths to take, but wetlands nearby, Kingman is known for its wildlife. If you’re lucky, you might come across all sorts of cool creatures on your travels!
This one’s a bit farther from campus, but it’s definitely one of the prettiest nature walks in New Hampshire. Located in Rochester, NH, the 2 mile path takes you down to the Isinglass River and more importantly, to the amazing waterfall found there. Locke’s Falls, during the warmer months of the year, provides the perfect cliff diving spot for all you daredevil Wildcats out there. The Falls, as early as April or May, is warm enough to swim in and is the perfect spot to bring your friends or your dog! The trail is well kept and quite beautiful. The rocks along the coast of the Isinglass River are particularly nice as they have large quantities of mica in them, which make them sparkle in the sunshine, along with the sun reflecting off of the river. Grab your swimsuit and head over once the weather warms up!
While this hike is about 15 minutes drive from campus, it is my absolute favorite area to watch the sunrise or sunset. Located on the coast of Great Bay, Adams Point is home to UNH’s Jackson Estuarine Lab. At first, all the walk seems to be is a huge expanse of meadow. Yet farther down, you’ll come to the edge of the water. Try to time your walk at low tide, as the beach of rocks is incredible. The coast of Adams Point is home to some of the oldest rock formations in the area, which are absolutely perfect for skipping. The hike takes you full circle around a 1.5 mile stretch, almost 100% right on the water. The area features plenty of rock outcroppings perfect for laying back and watching the sunset, sturdy trees for climbing, and even a geocache or two (if you can find them). If you have a car on campus, or a friend with one, head out around an hour before sunset to this gorgeous spot and escape to nature for a while.
It may not seem like there’s a ton of nature to explore on a college campus, but luckily, we’re not in the middle of a bustling city. We live in Durham, NH, a town surrounded by forest teeming with life. Not only that, but we live no more than 20 minutes away from Great Bay, and only slightly farther from the seacoast! So I implore you, explore the bus routes, ask your friends, or just walk to College Woods, but find somewhere that makes you appreciate nature again. We need the occasional escape from the constant emails, relentless Facebook notifications, and Blackboard updates. So when you’re done reading this, find a friend, head out to one of these beautiful spots, consider leaving your phones behind (or at least on Do Not Disturb), and just go enjoy nature for a little while. I think you’ll like what you find.