For the Insider
As cabin fever starts to set in by mid-January and you’re looking for a fun, free adventure – don’t forget that the Concord trail system does not close down for the winter.
Spending time outdoors is one of the best ways to banish those winter blues. The winter season is also a great time to see the natural open spaces of Concord, and perhaps catch views that are hidden by leaves and underbrush during the rest of the year.
For example, grab your cross-country skis, snowshoes or heavy winter boots and hit the Carter Hill Connector Trail between Swope Park and the Carter Hill Orchard. Along the way, you’ll see clues of the old Russell Pond winter recreation area, including remnants of the toboggan shute and the stone base of the ski jump.
Other popular trails for winter activities include Swope Park, the West End Farm Trail, the Rossview and Carter Hill Connector Trails, Carter Hill Orchard, Dimond Hill Farm, Oak Hill Trails, the Broken Ground Trails and the new Swope Park to Winant Park connector trail.
Maps for all of the Concord trails can be found on the city’s website, concordnh.gov/hikingtrails, or you can purchase a guide in City Hall, at the Planning Office.
If you’re new to winter trail use, we have some tips for making it an enjoyable adventure. Always wear thick, winter-weight socks, since your toes are one of the first places that you’ll feel the cold. Dress in layers – you may be surprised that even on a cold day, you’ll start to warm up as you hike. Consider purchasing micro spikes or cleats that attach to the bottom of your boots to provide traction on compacted or slick trails. Walking poles are also helpful to keep your balance. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are also great options for enjoying the snowy trails.
Check out the local sports and outdoor stores in Concord, such as S&W Sports, L.L. Bean or Dick’s Sporting Goods, many of which sell or even rent most of these items. And don’t forget to bring water – even though it’s cold, you’ll still build up a thirst.
Consider bringing a thermos of hot cocoa or tea to enjoy during a break to warm you up and keep you going.
And if you need more motivation to get you moving outdoors in the cold weather, it has been found that you burn more calories exercising in the cold weather, as you expend more energy to raise your body temperature. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing can burn up to 475 calories per hour.
If you don’t feel comfortable going it alone, join the trails committee on one of their monthly group hikes. There will be a guided snowshoe hike in February, and another hike or snowshoe group going out in March.
Check out the Capital Area Wellness Coalition website, capwellness.org/ concord-public-trails for those announcements.
Beth Fenstermacher is the city of Concord assistant city planner and a contributing member of The Capital Area Wellness Coalition, which coordinates community resources and builds partnerships to create a culture of healthy living for everyone. The CAWC meets monthly on the second Wednesday at 8 a.m. at the Center for Health Promotion, 49 S. Main St. in Concord. Visit capwellness.org to learn more.