A JOINT PROJECT OF HOPKINTON'S CONSERVATION COMMISSION AND OPEN SPACE COMMITTEE

Mast Yard State Forest

  • Overview
  • Description/History
  • Trail Map

Mast Yard State Forest lies in the northwest corner of Concord and northeast corner of Hopkinton, and provides 5 miles of interconnected trails that wind through shady forest and provide scenic views of Dolf Brook and the Contoocook River. The trails are open to hiking, mountain biking and cross-country skiing. Some trail sections follow former railroad grade, making them fairly flat, while others traverse slightly hillier terrain.

Distance:
About 5 miles total; hiking travel time: about 2 hours

Directions:
Take Broad Cove Road from Briar Hill Road. After passing under the powerlines, there is an opening on the left and a small area to park your car. Step over the large log to begin your walk.

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The Trails

The Mast Yard trail on the Concord side is a loop starting at the northwest corner of the parking lot, taking the left fork after crossing Dolf Brook, turning right onto the old railroad bed, right again at the power lines and returning over Dolf Brook. A total of about five miles, the trails also travel into Hopkinton and are flat and excellent for hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing with children.

History

According to Bouton’s History of Concord, in the early 1800’s this area was famous for supplying trees, two to three feet in diameter, that were used as masts for “His Majesty’s Royal Ships” and later as masts for various other vessels built on the seacoast. The best masts were from the northwesterly side of Horse Hill. The trees were “drawn” to the Contoocook River to an area now called the “Mast Yard,” then floated down to the Merrimack River. Larger logs were drawn by 52 teams of oxen (104 animals) along Borough Road to the sandbanks below Sewalls Falls and there “thrown” into the Merrimack River and floated to the coast.

The Mast Yard Forest trail map is shown below. Please click the text or image link to open/download/print the PDF map located on the City of Concord website.

Mast Yard Forest Trails - Click here to open/download/print PDF map (City of Concord website).

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