A novice rider mastering off-roading skills or a veteran ATV/UTV enthusiast who has already explored many trails and off-road zones across the globe, everybody has a particular spot in their heart for NH ATV trails. One of the favorite off-road spots to ride is Pisgah State Park in New Hampshire.
ATV enthusiasts who visited the park in summer were most amazed by its beauty and diversity. Here, the ATVNotes team shares why Pisgah State Park is an excellent destination for ATV riders and what you can expect to find there.
Jump To Contents
- Pisgah State Park NH: Brief History and Overview
- Pisgah State Park ATV Trails and Terrains
- Special Events Held on the Pisgah State Park
- Other Popular Off-roading Activities in Pisgah State Park, NH
- Tips and Experiences for Riding in Pisgah State Park
- Pisgah State ATV Park: An Off-roading Heaven beyond the Ride
Pisgah State Park NH: Brief History and Overview
Pisgah State Park is the largest ATV park in New Hampshire, covering over 13,300 acres of land in Winchester, Chesterfield, and Hinsdale. The park was established in 1967 after the state acquired the land from several private owners. The park’s name comes from Mount Pisgah, the highest peak in the park at 1,381 feet.
This off-road park contains a complete watershed north of the Ashuelot River, which flows through the park’s southwestern corner. The NH off-road zone features seven ponds, four highland ridges, numerous wetlands, and a 20-acre parcel of old-growth forest. This off-road heaven is home to a variety of wildlife, such as deer, moose, bear, bobcat, coyote, fox, beaver, otter, mink, and many species of birds.
This NH OHV Park is open year-round for hiking, biking, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, and, of course, ATV riding. The six trailheads around its perimeter provide free access to the public. It has a visitor center, a campground, and several picnic areas.
Pisgah State Park ATV Trails and Terrains
This NH State Park offers over 55 miles of trails for ATV riding, ranging from easy to difficult. The Pisgah State Park trail map shows that the courses vary in terrain, from dirt roads and gravel paths to rocky hills and muddy swamps. The courses also offer scenic views of the forest, the ponds, the hills, and the river.
Some of the most popular trails for ATV riding are:
The Reservoir Trail: This is a 7.5-mile loop trail that circles the Pisgah Reservoir, also known as Round Pond. With small hills and bridges, the NH ATV trail is comparatively flat and smooth. It offers mind-blowing views of the water and the surrounding forest. The trail is rated as easy and is suitable for beginners and families.
The Kilburn Loop Trail: This is a 9-mile loop trail that passes by the Kilburn Pond, the second largest pond in the park. Mostly wooded, this is an off-road zone with fields and wetlands.
It has moderate hills and curves and rocky and muddy sections. Kilburn loop trail offers a mix of challenge and scenery and is rated as average.
The Hubbard Hill Trail: This is a 4-mile out-and-back trail that climbs to the summit of Hubbard Hill, the highest point in the park. Steep and rocky, this trails features some switchbacks and ledges.
The trail requires skill and experience and is rated as difficult. Above all, Hubbard Hill Trail rewards the riders with panoramic views of the park and the surrounding area.
South Woods Trail: This is a moderate 4.5-mile loop trail that starts from the southern point of the park and heads north along Old Chesterfield Road, a historic road dating back to the 1700s.
The trail then turns east and climbs to Ladder Hill Ridge, where you can enjoy a spectacular view of the park and the Connecticut River Valley. descends to the road, the trail returns to the starting point from here.
Baker Pond Trail: A difficult 7-mile loop trail starts from the Horseshoe Trailhead and heads west along Baker Pond Road. This gravel road leads to the Baker Pond, a secluded pond ideal for fishing and wildlife viewing.
The trail then turns north and ascends to Baker Mountain, the second-highest peak in the park. Here, you can see the fire tower and Mount Pisgah in the distance. Descending to the Fullam Pond, another scenic pond, this Pisgah ATV trail follows the Fullam Pond Trail back to the trailhead.
Special Events Held on the Pisgah State Park
Pisgah State Park hosts several special events throughout the year that are open to the public and cater to different interests and activities. Some of the events that are related to ATV riding are:
Pisgah ATV Club Annual Poker Run
This is a fundraising event held every June by the Pisgah ATV Club. In fact, this is a local organization that promotes and supports ATV riding in the park. The event involves a poker game along the trails, where the riders collect cards at different checkpoints and try to make the best hand.
The event includes a barbecue, a raffle, and a prize ceremony. The event is open to all ATV riders who register and pay a fee. Keep updated on Social page of the Club for timely and precise notifications.
Pisgah ATV Club Annual Trail Maintenance Day
The Pisgah ATV Club holds this volunteer event every October in collaboration with the park staff and the Bureau of Trails. The event involves a trail cleanup and improvement project, where the riders help clean, repair, and mark the trails, signs, gates, and bridges.
With a lunch, a meeting, and a ride, the event is open to all ATV riders who sign up and show up. The benefits go to the park and the riders.
Pisgah Mountain Trail Races
These annual races take place in September, including a 50K ultra-marathon and a 23K trail run. The races start and finish at the Chesterfield Elementary School and follow a challenging course through the park’s trails and roads.
Attracting hundreds of runners and spectators, the races add to the festive atmosphere. The gathering aims to raise funds for the Friends of Pisgah, a nonprofit organization that supports the park.
Pisgah ATV Club Rides
These monthly rides take place from May to October and are organized by the Pisgah ATV Club. It is a local club that promotes safe and responsible ATV riding in the park.
The rides start from different trailheads around the park and follow various routes and distances. Open to club members and guests, the rides offer an excellent opportunity to enjoy the park and meet other riders.
Pisgah Volunteer Work Days
These are occasional workdays throughout the year, coordinated by the park staff and the Friends of Pisgah.
The work days involve various tasks, such as trail maintenance, trash removal, sign installation, bridge construction, and invasive species control. Like the racing events, the work days are open to anyone who wants to volunteer and help the park.
Other Popular Off-roading Activities in Pisgah State Park, NH
Pisgah State Park is the largest natural area in New Hampshire and offers a variety of recreational activities, as mentioned earlier. Among them, hiking, mountain biking, and hunting are the most popular ones, next to ATV riding. Here you go with a brief overview of them.
Pisgah State Park Hiking
Hikers can enjoy the park’s scenic views and diverse wildlife on trails ranging from easy to moderate. Some of the popular hiking trails are Kilburn Pond, Hubbard Hill, and Beal’s Knob, which offer loops of different lengths and elevations.
You as hiker can also access the Pisgah Ridge Trail, which runs along the park’s spine and connects to other trails. The park is open year-round for hiking, but some trails may be closed during mud season or hunting season.
Pisgah State Park Mountain Biking
Mountain bikers can find challenging and fun trails in the park, with a mix of singletrack, double track, and old roads. Some of the best trails for mountain biking are Old Chesterfield, Nash, and Fulham Circle, which feature fast descents, technical sections, and rolling terrain.
Mountain bikers can also explore the Reservoir Road, which leads to the scenic Pisgah Reservoir and North Ponds. The off-road park is open year-round for mountain biking, but some trails may be closed during mud or hunting season, as with hunting there.
Pisgah State Park Hunting
Hunters can pursue a variety of game species in the park, such as deer, turkey, bear, and small game. The park has two wildlife management units with different seasons and regulations. Hunters must follow the state hunting laws and obtain the appropriate licenses and permits.
On it’s top, they must also respect the park’s rules and regulations, such as wearing blaze orange, using designated parking areas, and avoiding trails and locations other visitors use. The park is open for hunting from September to December, depending on the species and zone.
I know the questions lurking in your mind. What about Pisgah State Park camping? Contrary to Jericho mountain state park, camping is not allowed anywhere in Pisgah State park, and visitors must use nearby private campgrounds or state parks for overnight stays.
Some of the closest options are Otter River State Forest, Jamaica State Park, and Mt Pisgah State Park in Pennsylvania.
Tips and Experiences for Riding in Pisgah State Park
Riding in Pisgah State Park is a fun and rewarding experience but requires some preparation and caution. Here are some of my tips and experiences for riding in the park:
Best time to visit the park: From late spring to early fall, when the weather is mild and the trails are dry and clear, you better visit this park.
Avoid visiting the park during mud season, when the trails are closed, or during hunting season, when you need to wear blaze orange for safety.
Equipment Requirement: Equipment preference depends on the length and difficulty of your ride. However, some essentials are a helmet, gloves, goggles, boots, water, snacks, a map, a compass, a first aid kit, a tool kit, a spare tire, and a tow strap.
You also need to have a valid NH OHRV sticker mandatory to surf the NH ATV trails or a temporary nonresident registration. You can obtain it online or at any authorized OHRV dealer.
Safety precautions: To remain safe, you need to follow the safety measures, which are more or less the same for any ATV park and trail. Here you go:
- Check the trail conditions and the weather forecast before you go;
- Ride within your skill level and your machine’s capability ;
- Stay on the designated trails and respect the signs and the boundaries;
- Ride with a buddy or let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return;
- Follow the rules of the trail and the road;
- Yield to other users and wildlife;
- And be courteous and responsible.
Places to avoid: Avoid riding in closed or restricted areas for environmental or safety reasons. Such spots in Pisgah State Park are the wetlands, wildlife habitats, private lands, and active logging sites.
You will also avoid the trails that are too narrow, steep, rocky, or muddy for your machine. More in line are the areas that are crowded or noisy, such as the campgrounds, the picnic areas, and the residential neighborhoods.
Pisgah State ATV Park: An Off-roading Heaven beyond the Ride
By now, you have developed an impression about this off-road park that Pisgah State Park is more than just an ATV playground. It’s a place to reconnect with nature, challenge yourself, and create lasting memories.
Indeed, it is a paradise for ATV riders looking for a place to ride that offers a variety of trails and terrain, a beautiful and diverse nature, and a friendly and supportive community.
Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, a solo or a group rider, a casual or a serious rider, you’ll find something to suit your taste and your level in Pisgah State Park. Every ATV rider who has been to this particular NH ATV zone highly recommends visiting the park and seeing what it offers.
To your utter amazement, you can surf across this vast forest area at zero charge as nowhere you need to pay Pisgah State Park entrance fee.