Bear Brook State Park, located in between Manchester and Concord, New Hampshire, is a heavily forested area waiting for you to explore. Pop-up campers, travel trailers, campervans, and smaller RVs are best suited to this park because of the primitive campsites and smaller spaces. Once you get to this wooded wonderland, set up your rig and head out to see all that this large, 10,000-acre park has to offer.
Campers who crave water recreation during their stay should head to one of the ponds for paddling. Visitors can rent a canoe or rowboat from the rental facility near the water. Multi-taskers might want to paddle and fish. If you are traveling with kids who like to fish, kids under 12 can fish in a kids-only pond. When you tire of paddling or fishing, head across from Archery Pond to the archery range. Bear Brook boasts the only two archery ranges in the New Hampshire state park system. New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game maintains the 15-target range, while the four-target practice range remains open for people who have their own archery equipment. If you aren't into archery, and you would prefer to get outside and do something cardiovascular, why not work up a sweat using the park's twenty-station fitness course? The course was created so that the entire family can have fun while exercising. Before heading to the course, stop by the toll booth near Catamount Pond and pay the course fee.
Bear Brook State Park isn't just for recreation-seekers. For people who like to learn about the historical aspects of the parks they visit, the Museum Complex is the place to see. The Museum Complex is home to the New Hampshire Antique Snowmobile Museum, Old Allenstown Meeting House, and the Richard Diehl Civilian Conservation Corps Museum.
After exploring and learning, RVers will be happy to return to their comfy-campsites. Bear Brook State Park is ready for your RV camping needs, thanks to the spacious, 95-site, primitive-style campground. The peak camping season is from May through October, which means there is plenty of time to come to this park more than once.
Getting to and from Bear Brook State Park can be a little complicated as the park amenities are spread out. There are entrances to the park on both the north and south sides of the park. The most popular of the two entry points is the northern entrance. This entrance provides access to the central area of the park. From the north gate, if you follow the road for four miles, you will find the camping facilities.
If you are looking to get some supplies for your RV trip, there are a few small towns nearby. Candia is approximately nine miles from the park, and Raymond is approximately 13.5-miles away. If you need to find a larger city, Concord, the capital of New Hampshire, is 13 miles away. Since the campground is located in a very wooded area, it can be a little challenging to navigate the campground road if you have a bigger rig. The road to the campground also has a small bridge that has five-ton weight limit signs. If you plan to visit during the wintertime, there can be significant snowfalls, so we recommend you call ahead to the park office to double-check if the roads will be open.
The Beaver Pond Campground is located along the perimeter of Beaver Pond, and it is known for being a quiet place to call home on the road. The campground is a multi-use facility serving RVs, pop-up campers, and tents. Because of the narrow roads and smaller sites, RVs spaces are limited to 38 feet in length.
In total, there are 105 campsites, but only 36 of those sites are RV friendly. All of the sites at the Beaver Pond Campground are primitive, so there are no water or electric hookups available. Despite this, there are some great amenities for you to enjoy, including water collection points, toilets, showers, and a dump station. Pets are also permitted, but they need to be leashed and attended to at all times. Generators are allowed as well, as long as they are silenced during the park's posted-quiet hours. This campground is closed during the winter months.
If you do not want to reserve a site within the Bear Brook Campground, two sites within the main campground are available only on a first-come, first-served basis. Get to the park early to ensure you have a spot to set up camp for the night!
Are you looking for a little more luxury during your stay at Bear Brook State Park? If so, you can't beat the cabins at Bear Hill Pond. There are eight cabins available that can sleep between four and six people. All of the cabins have a picnic table and a fire pit outside for you to enjoy. Please note that none of the cabins have electricity, running water, or toilets. Amenities are available nearby. Cabins must be reserved online, and they are only available during the peak season.
For those interested in learning more about the history of Bear Brook State Park, you must take a trip to the Museum Complex. The Museum Complex, located a half-mile from the toll booth, has multiple museums housed in buildings constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The buildings have historical significance because of their ties to the CCC. Some of the museums you can visit include the Museum of Family Camping, the New Hampshire Antique Snowmobile Museum, the Richard Diehl Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Museum, and the Old Allenstown Meeting House. The Bear Brook Camp is still one of the largest and most complete CCC camps still standing, and its age and historical significance earned it a place on the National Register of Historic Places.
If you like athletic adventure, Bear Brook State Park hits the bullseye when it comes to target practice. If you are a novice archer, visit the 15-target archery range. New Hampshire Fish and Game Department maintains the range, making it possible for people who've never tried archery to attempt a new sport. For experienced archers, or for those who have their own bow and arrows, visit the four-target practice range. It is free to practice at both ranges, making the sport more accessible for people of many ages and athletic abilities.
The mountain bike trails at Bear Brook State Park is shred-worthy because the mountain bike trails accommodate almost all types of riders. The trail 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.
There is no better way to cool down at Bear Brook State Park than by going for a swim in the lake. Bear Brook Lake has a roped-off swimming beach with a lifeguard on duty during the summer months. If you prefer to watch your friends splash in the water, sit under the stone pavilion that overlooks the lake and watch the activity from afar. The shaded pavilion is an ideal location to relax in the beautiful New Hampshire weather without spending too much time in the sun. Please note that if you bring your dog to the park, you will need to keep Fido off of the beach.
Once the snow starts to fall in New Hampshire, taking to the slopes is a popular pastime. The hiking and bike trails transform into fantastic terrain to ski, so if you are in the park during the wintertime, you should make the most of it. A nice thing about the trails is that they are entirely separate from the snowmobile trails, which means that 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 trail is one-long, and it contains a sloping path with an uphill challenge, as well as some fun downhill areas.
One of the highlights of Bear Brook State Park is the amount of hiking available. There are over 40 different trails within the park with difficulty ranging from beginner to expert-level hikes. One of the most popular trails is the 3.5-mile Hemlock Trail. The trail traverses through the park providing hikers with a view of the water and a few small, rolling hills. If you prefer a shorter trek, give the Big Bear Trail a go. The Big Bear Trail is a short, narrow multi-use trail that has many twists and turns. Since it's a multi-use trail, there is a chance you will share the trail with bikes, so keep a watch for faster-moving people.
If you love to fish, then you will enjoy visiting Bear Brook State Park. The fishing facilities at this park help to serve anglers of all ages. Even kids can attempt to catch a fish at the kids' only fly fishing pond. Kids aren't the only ones who get to have fun trying to reel in the biggest catch; adults should try either the Archery Pond or the Beaver Pond. Both areas are popular bass and trout fishing locations.
Since Bear Brook State Park is the largest developed park in all of New Hampshire, you will be sharing the area with some of the local wildlife. There is a wide range of species that calls the park home, including deer, black bears, moose, turkey, and squirrels. If you are looking to do some bird watching, there will be plenty of waterfowl and migrating birds to be seen around the ponds. Hot tip: ask a ranger his or her favorite place to see some wildlife; you might find out about a secret spot!