Bear Brook State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Awe-inspiring forests, towering summits, and picturesque ponds are all waiting for you and your RV at Bear Brook State Park. Bear Brook, with over 10,000 acres is the largest developed state park in New Hampshire. Located in the southeast region of the state, there is plenty to do and see for everyone. Hiking, biking, swimming and fishing are a few of the favorites. Forty miles of trails traverse the heavily forested park, leading to seldom visited marshes, bogs, summits and ponds and offer a variety of options for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians. Canoe rentals are available at Catamount Ponds, while rowboat rentals are also available at Beaver Pond. Fly-fishing enthusiasts will be pleased to know Archery Pond welcomes their specialty and is universally accessible. Across the road from Archery Pond is a special little pond just for children under twelve to fish.

If archery is your sport you might already know that Bear Brook boasts the only two archery ranges in the state park system. One 15-target range is maintained by the N.H. Fish and Game Department, plus an additional 4-target practice range that is universally accessible. (Bring your own archery equipment.)

Worried about no workouts or aerobics while on vacation? You can stay in shape by using the park's 1 1/4 mile, twenty-station fitness course that is fun for the whole family. A charge for admission is collected at the toll booth near Catamount Pond.

The park also pays homage to its history with a Museum Complex that is home to New Hampshire Antique Snowmobile Museum, Old Allenstown Meeting House, and the Richard Diehl Civilian Conservation Corps Museum. If you are at the park in winter you will be able to go snow-skiing and snowshoeing.

Peak season is May through to October and remember to reserve your campsite in advance. This is a dry park, so there are no electricity or water hookups available for RV's.

Group-Use

Bear Brook is a popular group destination with many ponds, streams and trails for exploration. Enjoy the museum complex, swimming, canoeing and fishing. The 95-site campground offers a camp store, canoe and rowboat rentals, showers, laundry facilities, a dump station, ice and firewood. Reservations for organized youth group camping may be made Monday through Friday, from January through mid-October. The shelter, located in the day-use area of the park, may be reserved for group picnics and outings by calling the park directly. A ball field, barbecue pit, horseshoe area, nearby trails, wooded surrounds and isolation from other park visitors make it a great spot for family reunions, class picnics and office outings.

Pets

Leashed pets are permitted in the campground on the trails only, not in the day-use area. Service animals are exempt from this policy.

RV Rentals in Bear Brook State Park

Transportation in Bear Brook State Park

Driving

From the I-93: Continue along this road until you see Exit 9N. Take this exit and merge onto Route 3/28 North. Follow the signs to Bear Brook State Park.

From I-95: Continue along I-95 until you reach Route 4 West. Take Route 4 West to Route 28 South. From there, follow the signs to Bear Brook State Park and you will reach the park.

The camping areas at the park are quite a ways away from the park entrance. To access the camping areas, you will travel approximately four miles from the junction of Deerfield Road and Route 28, turning right onto Podunk Road. Once on Podunk Road, there is a fork in the road. Take the left to reach the main campground or take the right to stay on Podunk Road for the cabins at Bear Hill. The main campground at Bear Brook and the Bear Hill cabins are located at the end of their respective roads.

Remember to stock up on supplies before you come into the park as there are no large grocery stores close to the park's entrance. The closest ATM is also over 10 miles away, so make sure to have some cash handy on you.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Bear Brook State Park

Campsites in Bear Brook State Park

Reservations camping

Bear Brook Camping Area

The campground is remotely located on the shore of Beaver Pond, five miles from the day-use area. Canoe and rowboat rentals, as well as showers and laundry facilities, are available. A camp store offers a selection of camping supplies, ice, wood, and snacks. Located adjacent to the campground is a small beach and swimming area reserved for campers only. Pets are permitted at this campground, but must be leashed and attended at all times. The 95-site campground includes 93 sites available by reservation only, and 2 for first-come/first-served campers. Although hook-ups are not available, RVs are welcome in sites where they fit.

While there are two different campgrounds in the park, the Bear Brook area is the one that will accommodate you and your RV as the other only has cabins. If you visit the campground in winter it will be much quieter than during the peak summer season. Reservations can be made as much as 11 months in advance. We recommend site 31 through to 34 if you want to be close to the park gate, water station and bathrooms.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Bear Brook State Park

In-Season

Hiking

One of the highlights of Big Brook State Park is the amount of hiking available. There are over 40 different trails within the park with difficulty ranging from beginners to expert level. One of the most popular trails is the three-and-a-half-mile Hemlock Trail. It will take you through the park with some rolling climbs and descents and will provide you with some views down to the brook. This trail will also take you over an old stone bridge and across a small stream, giving you a great view of some of the larger trees in the park. For a shorter trail, give the Big Bear trail a go. This is a short, narrow multi-use trail that has many twists and turns, all within a short distance.

Mountain Biking

The riding at Big Brook is top tier. The trails at the park accommodate all abilities and consist of dirt roads, double track, and single track as well as numerous natural features for extra fun. This variety is what makes Bear Brook a great park to ride in. If you are a beginner rider, try out the six-mile beginner loop that is located up from the hill that you drive down to get to the parking lot. For the advanced riders, there is a 17 mile loop that will get your adrenaline pumping. There will be a short hike-a-bike section on this trail, with lots of rock and boulders for you to navigate.

Swimming

There is no better way to cool down after getting set up in the campground than going for a swim. At Big Brook State Park there is a swimming beach roped off with a lifeguard on duty during the summertime. The towering trees behind the water paint a near perfect picture and are a stunning backdrop for your swim. There is also a beautiful stone pavilion that looks out over the water, which provides picnic tables and lots of shade. Please note that dogs are not allowed on the beach at all times.

Off-Season

Museum Complex

For those interested in learning more about our natural and human history, a trip to the museum complex, located in the park, one-half mile from the toll booth, is a must. The 4-H Nature Center features exhibits of the natural history of the park. Interpretive programs are regularly held throughout the summer season. Also located in the museum complex are the New Hampshire Antique Snowmobile Museum, Museum of Family Camping, Old Allenstown Meeting House, and the Richard Diehl Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Museum. Most of the museums are housed in historic CCC buildings. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Bear Brook Camp is one of the most complete camps remaining intact and in use in the country. The museums are open at various times throughout the summer. The Museum of Family Camping is open daily from late May through mid-October.

Cross Country Skiing

Once the snow starts to fall in New Hampshire, taking to the skis is a popular pastime. The hiking and bike trails transform into fantastic terrain to ski, so if you are in the park during the winter time you should make the most of it. A nice thing about the trails is that they are completely separate from the snowmobile trails. This means you won't have to worry about jumping out of the way of snowmobiles! If you are new to cross country skiing, give the Little Bear Trail a shot. This is a one mile or so sloping path with an uphill challenge, as well as some fun downhill areas for you to go down.

Archery

Big Brook State Park is the place to be if you are an archery fan. There are two archery ranges: one 15-target range maintained by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, plus an additional four-target practice range that is accessible to all. Both these ranges are completely free of charge, which is always a bonus. One thing to remember is to make sure you pack your own equipment as there are no rentals available.

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