Family Travel Stories

Bradford Pines Natural Area in Bradford, NH

In New Hampshire, trees are plentiful. We look around and see trees that are 24”, 36” or even 48” in diameter and we think “what a big tree”. But at the Bradford Pines Natural Area located in Bradford, NH, there are very large pine trees (I wish I had measured the diameter, but I did not think of it at the time).

The trees are so tall that lightning rods have been installed to protect them. These pines lie near the Warner River just off of a rest area on Route 103 near the Route 103 & 114 intersection in Bradford.

Once we parked at the rest area, we saw a trail immediately off on the right hand side and thought this was the trail.

This first trail resembled an old woods road and brought us into the forest where we discovered an old stone cellar hole, but no large trees. 

We then turned around and instead, walked north about 300 feet from the parking lot where we found an opening in the woods with a small sign that read “trail”.

This second trail winds through gently rolling terrain. It was fairly easy walking for our children (5 and 10 at the time).

At about 0.2 miles down the trail, we reached the pine trees. They were very large in diameter and very tall (as you can see from the pictures). I could not see the tops through the surrounding canopy.

A word of caution for young hikers – the trees have a large base and some are on banks. When our youngest tried to hug the tree, he lost his footing on the bark base and slid down the tree causing some minor scrapes.

We continued to walk around the area to see how many of these colossal giants we could find and came across a small river. The river was low and perfect for wading in. Our dog and kids loved playing in the water and soft sand.  In early spring or during a very wet period, this river can become much deeper. You can see where the river overflowed the banks. 

We followed the same trail back to the parking lot and it was approximately 0.4 miles in length, round trip.

Author: rbisson

I am a licensed land surveyor in New Hampshire and Maine, enjoy the outdoors and being with my wife and two boys.

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