Chesterfield Gorge

Destination:  Chesterfield Gorge
Trail:  Wilderness Loop Trail
Region:  NH - Southwest  
Chesterfield Gorge State Park
Location:  Chesterfield, NH
Rating:  Easy/Moderate  
Features:  Gorge, brook, waterfalls, cascades, loop hike
Distance:  0.7 mile  
Elevation Gain:  180 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Typical: 0:25  
Outing Duration:  Typical: 1:30  
Season:  Summer
Hike Date:  07/24/2009 (Wednesday)  
Last Updated:  08/08/2009  
Weather:  Overcast
Author:  Jeff Littlejohn

Wilde Brook running through Chesterfield Gorge (photo by Jeff Littlejohn)
Wilde Brook running through Chesterfield Gorge (photo by Jeff Littlejohn)

Route Summary   

This is a loop hike on Wilderness Loop Trail around Chesterfield Gorge through which Wilde Brook runs.

  • From the parking lot, pick up Wilderness Loop Trail and bear left at an early fork.
  • As the path nears the gorge, it will branch off in three different directions. The left branch will quickly meet up with the middle branch and the right branch crosses the gorge. Take the middle trail which runs along the left side of the gorge.
  • Follow the path until it crosses the gorge on a bridge.
  • Cross the bridge and then follow the trail uphill as it works its way to the bridge that you bypassed earlier.
  • Cross this bridge and turn left, and then later bear right at a junction, to retrace your steps back to the parking lot.

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Trail map of hike route around Chesterfield Gorge (map by Webmaster)


Trail Guide   

This loop around Chesterfield Gorge can be walked in under an hour, but take the time to stop along the way and enjoy the scenery no matter what the water level may be.

This was our second visit to the gorge, and we did not go into the visitor center, as the hours were not posted on their website (Chesterfield Gorge), and it did not look like it was open. It is run by volunteers, and may have limited open hours.

The hike around the gorge is an easy walk; although there are many tree roots across the trail, so you do have to watch where your step. There are fences and railings along the gorge to keep you a safe distance from any steep drop-offs, and there are well-constructed bridges over Wilde Brook. (Along with a makeshift bridge to assist in getting over a wet spot on the entrance trail, which was easy to hop over as well.)

Wilde Brook running through Chesterfield Gorge (photo by Jeff Littlejohn)
Wilde Brook running through Chesterfield Gorge (photo by Jeff Littlejohn)

We planned this second trip here to see if there would be an increase in water level due to the wet spring and summer we have had so far this year. During our first visit (September 2007) there was not a lot of water, but this time the water level was definitely up from our past visit. The falls have twisted and turned through the gorge and are a credit to Mother Nature. There are a few different sets of falls as you walk down one side of the gorge, and up the other, and it's worth taking a few stops along the way to enjoy the quiet, the beauty, and the photo opportunities. Besides the water, there are the walls and ledges within the gorge, which you should take time to enjoy.

As stated on their website, the gorge does not get a lot of sunlight. Between the rock and water, I would venture to guess that the temperature runs about 5 degrees cooler in the gorge compared to the entrance above.

Wilde Brook running through Chesterfield Gorge (photo by Jeff Littlejohn)
Wilde Brook running through Chesterfield Gorge (photo by Jeff Littlejohn)
 


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NH - Southwest

  Driving Directions   

Chesterfield Gorge State Park is located in Chesterfield, New Hampshire off of Route 9.

From Keene, NH:
  • Head southeast on Rt. 12.
  • At the junction with Rt. 9, turn right onto Rt. 9 West.
  • Follow Rt. 9 West for 5.7 miles.
  • Turn right into Chesterfield Gorge State Park just after passing Maple Road, also on the right.

From I-91:
  • From I-91, take Exit 3 and pick up Rt. 9 East.
  • Follow Rt. 9 East for about 9 miles.
  • Turn left into Chesterfield Gorge State Park which is about 0.5 mile past the east entrance to Rt. 9A and Spofford Village.
 
 
Wilde Brook running through Chesterfield Gorge (photos by Jeff Littlejohn)
Wilde Brook running through Chesterfield Gorge (photo by Jeff Littlejohn) Wilde Brook running through Chesterfield Gorge (photo by Jeff Littlejohn)
 

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