Pawtuckaway State Park

Area:  Pawtuckaway State Park
Trails:  State Park Road, Fundy Trail, Shaw Trail, Woronoco Trail, Mountain Trail
Region:  NH - Southeast  
Pawtuckaway State Park
Location:  Nottingham, NH
Rating:  Easy/Moderate  
Features:  Brook, loop hike, orienteering/route finding
Distance:  Approximately 6.0 miles  
Elevation Gain:  Minimal  
Outing Duration:  Actual: 4:30     
Season:  Winter
Hike Date:  01/01/2008 (Tuesday)  
Last Updated:  07/04/2012  
Weather:  Snowy
Author:  Faye Doria
Companion:  Five SDHers

Route Summary   

This is a loop hike that involves a section of orienteering to connect two trails that are not otherwise linked.

  • From the parking area, walk up the access road (State Park Road).
  • After 0.4 mile you will pass the trailhead for Mountain Trail and Round Pond Trail on the left.
  • Keep walking on State Park Road for another 1.0 mile and then turn left onto Fundy Trail.
  • Follow Fundy Trail for 1.0 and then turn left onto Shaw Trail.
  • Follow Shaw Trail for a while and then orienteer over to Woronoco Trail towards the southwest.
  • Upon reaching Woronoco Trail, turn right and follow it to its end.
  • Upon reaching Mountain Trail, turn left which will quickly return you to State Park Road.
  • Turn right and follow State Park Road for 0.4 back to the parking area.


Click for a larger trail map (it will open in a new window).   

Map of approximate hike route at Pawtuckaway State Park (map by Webmaster)

Trail Guide   

There was no one else in the parking lot when five sleepy Dayhikers met at 8:00 a.m. on New Year's Day to hike in Pawtuckaway. We were escorted by two dogs - one a 10-week-old puppy who bravely hiked with us. With all of the new snow, snowshoes seemed to be the footwear of choice, at least once we left the access road.

We decided on a pretty ambitious loop and started down the access road (State Park Road) towards the Fundy Trail. This is the snowmobile trail, but we were lucky to be out before any of them were out of bed. One hiker and the two dogs left us when we got to the Mountain Trail junction. The puppy was ready for a nap. We reached the Fundy Trail and loved the new snow on the trees. The trail had been broken, but was rough. So another hiker left as we started up the Fundy Trail, due to a nagging injury.

The Fundy trail was very quiet except for the crunching of our snowshoes. We saw lots of moose and deer tracks, but were making too much noise to see the animals. The bridge over Round Pond Brook just before the junction with the Shaw Trail was out, leaving us with an interesting crossing. Using poles, we were able to hop between the various skinny support boards that were only partially submerged in the cold rushing water. We all held our breath until all three of us were safely across.

We turned up the Shaw Trail, which had not been broken. The snow was not too deep or soft so we did not have too much trouble. But we started to realize that looping back between the mountains (our original plan) was going to be too long with the approaching snow.

Wetlands (photo by Mark Malnati)

So we decided to orienteer from the Shaw Trail down to the new bike trail (Woronoco Trail) and take that back to the Mountain Trail. Unfortunately, the route we needed to take was in an area of lots of small streams, ponds, and marshes. We were also trying to stay out of the thick woods. So we seemed to post-hole often - ending up with one leg buried up to our hip in snow. The bushwhack was only half a mile or so, but it went slowly as we were trying to be careful.

But soon we saw the orange arrows and white reflectors on the bike trail. We stopped for a quick lunch and then set off. That trail had not been broken, either, so it continued to be pretty. None of us had a map with the western half of the bike trail marked on it, so we couldn't tell how far we had gone or where we were or how much longer we had to go. And it was snowing by now, with heavy snow predicted for the afternoon. We felt better when we came to the first bridge, and the trail started to have other footprints. And we could hear snowmobiles on the access road and the Mountain Trail. But the snow kept getting heavier, so we were anxious to be done.

We were happy to finally stumble out onto the Mountain Trail and realize we were very close to the access road, with multiple snowmobiles zipping by. We took off our snowshoes at that point so we could leave the snowy trail to the snowmobiles. We walked up the snow-covered ice on the plowed side of the access road to the parking lot. As we came to the lot, we were shocked to find it filled with cars, trucks, and snowmobile trailers.

We said quick good-byes since we were all anxious to get home before the roads got any snowier. I think our actual hike was about 6 miles and in about 4.5 hours. It was a beautiful hike with plenty of adventure to start the new year.


NH - Southeast

  Driving Directions   

The trailhead is located in Nottingham, New Hampshire.

  • From 101, take exit 5 for Raymond/Rt. 107.
  • Head north off the ramp to get onto Rt. 156 North.
  • Follow signs for "Pawtuckaway State Park". (Follow Rt. 156 North for a little over a mile to Mountain Road; Follow Mountain Road a little over 2 miles to the entrance for Pawtuckaway State Park; the parking lot is just inside the park on the right.)

Other Notes   

Dogs are not allowed in the park.

More Pawtuckaway State Park Trail Reports   


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