Located about five miles east of the town of Weare, New Hampshire, Clough State Park rests along the sandy shores of Everett Lake—a 150-acre lake formed by a dam on the Piscataquog River. In 1938, after a severe flood ravaged the town of Weare, the 2,000-foot long Hopkinton-Everett Dam was constructed. The dam now also serves as a hiking and biking path and offers scenic views of the lake below.
Even though Clough State Park doesn't have any on-site camping options, this park is a must-visit for day-use recreation seekers. On your way either to or from nearby RV-friendly parks like Pillsbury State Park or Bear Brook State Park, stop at Clough State Park for a day of outdoor fun. If you like to off-road, park your rig and head to one of the ATV trails that runs alongside the dam. It's the perfect trail if you're looking to kick up some dust. Feel free to bring your four-legged friends along on your camping trip, because this is an extremely dog-friendly park so long as pets are kept leashed at all times and waste is disposed of properly. You can bring your own small boat or canoe and launch it at the park's ramp or from the shores of the beach. A large picnic grove and playground are also available.
The park is open on weekends beginning on Memorial Day, and it opens for daily use around late June through Labor Day. During the peak-season, staff may not always be present. Be prepared to pay the day-use fee with cash or check at the Iron Ranger self-pay station if the park is unstaffed. Visitors should note that the park gates close and lock each night at 7 PM. The park is not staffed during the off-season, meaning there is no entrance fee to enjoy the park's trails and scenic views. Clough State Park is situated on land owned by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, but it is operated by the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation. Although Clough State Park offers no campground, there are various RV resorts and state parks located a short distance from the park.
Clough State Park is located in south-central New Hampshire, approximately 12 miles southwest of Concord. One of the more common routes brings RVers via US-202 or Route 13. Weare, New Hampshire, one of the closer towns to the park, is located within nine miles via NH-114 or Route 13. Avoid entering the park by way of Ray Road, as this dirt road is gated.
Large vehicles like motorhomes should have no trouble navigating the paved roads that lead to the park entrance. However, a few twists and turns occur on the route, and drivers should be especially vigilant at all times because wildlife is known to frequent the areas surrounding the main roads. Parking inside the park is present but not impressive, and you may have to walk a short distance to access the beach, picnic area, and trails.
Clough State Park is occasionally tormented with heavy rain that leads to flooding. Rarely, the entire park may flood, causing a complete shut down of all facilities. Heavy snowfall during the winter season can also cause inaccessibility into and around the park. Always check the road conditions and weather forecast before heading out.
Although Clough State Park doesn't offer any campgrounds, you won't have to travel far to find a place to park the Airstream for the night. A few state parks are located nearby with ample RV camping options, including Pillsbury State Park to the west, and Bear Brook State Park to the east. Both parks are under an hour's drive to Clough State Park, giving you more than enough time to set up camp after you leave Lake Everett behind in the rearview mirror. If you're searching for something in closer proximity to Clough State Park, or if you're searching for more developed campgrounds, there are a handful of RV resorts in the area as well. These resorts often offer top-notch amenities, including full RV hookups, Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, hot showers, flush toilets, beachfront sites, and playgrounds.
The best way to take in all Everett Lake has to offer is by paddling around the surface of the water via canoe or kayak. If you didn't tow your own boat behind the campervan, Clough State Park offers rentals during the peak season. You can use the park's boat ramp or push off from the sandy beach shore. If you paddle out to the center of the lake, you will be rewarded with a fantastic 360-degree view of the entire park. Motorboats are not permitted in the park.
Another great way to enjoy the lake and beat the heat is by taking a dip in the serene waters of Everett Lake. Spend the day in the water, or just next to it on the 900-foot sandy beach. There are no lifeguards on duty, so an adult should always accompany any children interested in splashing in the lake. Even during the peak season the park rarely becomes overcrowded, making it easy to enjoy your day at the beach, without the chaotic crowds.
Miles of paved trails traverse Clough State Park, making it easy to explore from the seat of your bike without a windshield to impede the view. From the parking area near the Hopkinton-Everett Dam, you can ride up to the edge of the dam for breathtaking views across the lake. If you continue, you will ride down to the banks of the west side of the lake on an old logging road. The route will take you to a peninsula jutting out on the lake. From there, a series of single track trails continue along the Piscataquog River. If you chose to stay on the river paths, you might need to wade through water at some point, so be prepared for a challenging trek. Cyclists will need to attach their own bikes to the Sprinter van as there are no bike rentals available at the park.
An adrenaline seeker's need for speed can be satisfied at Clough State Park on some of the ATV and dirt biking trails. Visitors who towed their own off-roading vehicles behind the rig should check out the trail located alongside the Hopkinton-Everett Dam. This moderate dirt trail will lead you through forested areas that are especially striking during the autumn months. Rentals are not available at the park, and during the off-season, there will be no staff or rangers present, so visitors must ride at their own risk.
Clough State Park is the perfect place for hikers to explore the wilderness and appreciate the history of the park at the same time. Most of the trails within the park have been destroyed by flooding at some point in time. But don't fret, some of the trails are still accessible if you are willing to seek them out and don't mind trekking through some undergrowth and the occasional mud patch. One of the best remaining trails is located on the left side of the main road heading towards the tollbooth. Following the path up the hill, stay left at the fork and cross the grass to begin your hike on the lost trail. The trail is easy for beginners and is a great way to reconnect with nature. Old stone walls and rusted automobile parts can be seen along the way, relics of those who once lived along the trail before the flood of 1938.
Everett Lake and the giant white pines that surround it are just part of what makes Clough State Park so photogenic. The long sandy beach, long-forgotten hiking trails, the ever-flowing Piscataquog River, and the unique wildlife of the park beckon professional photographers and average Joes alike to capture the beauty of this lakeside park. Head to the edge of the Hopkinton-Everett Dam to snap a picture of the glistening blue water below and the towering pines surrounding the lake. If you're lucky, you may even spot a heron searching for his dinner along the shore. The fall foliage creates an especially awe-inspiring backdrop during the autumn. One thing is for sure; you won't want to forget to pack the camera along in camper for this trip.