Head’s Pond Trail

New Hampshire

Get a FREE guidebook when you join Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Take your pick of one of our 12 trail guidebooks when you give $30 or more to build trails!

Head’s Pond Trail Facts

States: New Hampshire
Counties: Merrimack
Length: 1.75 miles
Trail end points: Heads Pond and Pleasant St. (Hooksett)
Trail surfaces: Gravel
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6315617
Trail activities: Fishing, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

With Unlimited:

  • Export to My Trail Guide
  • Create Guidebook
  • Download GPX
  • Download Offline Maps
  • Print Friendly Map
Upgrade Now

Head’s Pond Trail Description

The Head’s Pond Trail (formerly known as Hooksett Rail Trail) is a 1.9-mile rail-trail that visits two scenic ponds, including the eponymous Head’s Pond, in a woodsy area of Hooksett. The trail’s smooth stone dust surface is well suited to bikes, but the short length and out-and-back configuration of the path isn’t. As a result, you’ll mostly find local joggers and walkers (often with a four-legged friend) using the trail. Fishermen also use the trail to catch largemouth bass or chain pickerel in the ponds. History and outdoors buffs will enjoy the interpretive signs that inform about Hooksett and the local flora and fauna.

A trailhead with ample parking on US 3 is the best place to begin. A steep and rocky access path leads downhill from the parking lot, but once you’re on the trail, it’s flat over its entire length. The trail follows a former Portsmouth & Concord Railroad alignment that linked the two cities briefly in the 1850s before operations ceased on this section and the track was removed in 1861.

From the trailhead, the Head’s Pond Trail goes northwest under US 3 and ends in 0.25 mile on Pleasant Street. Most visitors continue southeast on the trail to the ponds. Pines, maples, and birches envelop the trail and provide shade in summer months. In about 0.5 mile, you can relax on a bench and enjoy a view of Head’s Pond.

A nearby path connects to an adjacent neighborhood. The remainder of the trail continues as before, although the canopy opens up a bit to allow more sun as you approach the southern endpoint.

The trail ends abruptly at a gated dirt road that leads to a sand and gravel pit. You’ll want to stop here anyway, as you have reached the second pond, where yet another bench welcomes you to rest and enjoy the view. (A word of caution, though: heavy rains can overflow the pond and submerge the bench legs, leading to wet feet for those who insist on sitting regardless.) Head back the way you came for a double dose of scenery.

Although there aren’t any services along the trail, you can find refreshments in historic Hooksett on the Merrimack River. One option is the café at Robie’s Country Store, visited every four years by candidates vying for New Hampshire’s presidential primary. The store, located at 9 Riverside Street, is a historic landmark that dates to 1822.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the trailhead and parking in Hooksett from I-93, take Exit 11. From the toll plaza, turn left onto Hackett Hill Road, go 0.2 mile, and turn left onto W. River Road/SR 3A. Go 0.6 mile, and turn right onto Main St. In 0.4 mile stay straight onto College Park Dr. Go 0.5 mile, and turn left onto US 3/SR 28/Hooksett Road. Go 1.1 miles, and look for parking on the right.

Head’s Pond Trail Reviews

did walk today with meet-up group - it was a small group but had great time on this trail for the firs time. Pleasant, well maintained and educational posters along the way.

Great easy trail. Lot's of nature and educated signs. Only downfall "(I don't understand)" Dog owners leave their bags of poop all along the trail. Enjoy your walk....

My wife and I decided to venture to Hooksett and walk the rail trail. The weather was quite nice, and the path was very level. There is plenty to see and periodically, there would be a posting of things to see and a bit of history and a bench to sit. You can either walk or bike the trail. It seemed to be very popular as a number of people were walking and biking alone the trail. There are places that you could walk closer to the shore have lunch on the shore.


The Hooksett Kiwanis obtained a State of NH trail grant in 2010 to improve the surface of the trail. The trail now has 4" of compacted stone dust on the section from the trail head on Rte 3 to the end of the Town owned trail, about 1/4 mile before the pond on the south side. Hopefully the section of the trail from where the stone dust ends to the pond by the painted rock will become Town property soon and will be upgraded to stone dust surface, too. The section of the trail between Rte 3 and Pleasant St will have stone dust placed the summer of 2011.

For those who want a walk that does not double back 100%, park at the Rte 3 trail head and take the side trail to the west that goes up to Northview Terrace (the side road off Post Rd where there is parking, too). The side trail does go up a hill but that adds to the exercise effort/gain. Walk or ride back to along Post Rd (a sidewalk is there) north to the parking lot at Rte 3.


Trail Events

This trail does not have any events yet.
Be the first to add one!

Add an Event

Nearby Trails

Rockingham Recreational Rail Trail (Portsmouth Branch)

New Hampshire - 28.1 miles

The Rockingham Recreational Rail Trail brings at least two superlatives to mind: it’s one of New Hampshire’s longest rail-trails at just more than 28...

Heritage Trail (Manchester)

New Hampshire - 0.9 miles

The Heritage Trail is managed by the state of New Hampshire to provide access to recreational and historical attractions across the state. Eventually,...

Goffstown Rail Trail

New Hampshire - 5.5 miles

The year 2017 marks 20 years since a rails-to-trails project was first mentioned in the Goffstown Master Plan, and thanks to work by the Friends of...


Piscataquog Trail

New Hampshire - 2.1 miles

The Piscataquog Trail, though only about 2 miles long, provides a vital off-road link between the communities on the western side of the Merrimack...

South Manchester Rail Trail

New Hampshire - 0.89 miles

The South Manchester Rail Trail is a proposed bike/pedestrian path that would connect the downtown Millyard area of Manchester to the Town on...

New Boston Rail Trail

New Hampshire - 3.9 miles

The New Boston Rail Trail follows the former railroad corridor of the same name for 3.9 miles through densely wooded areas in the town of New Boston....

Londonderry Rail Trail

New Hampshire - 3.3 miles

The smooth paved surface of the Londonderry Rail Trail offers a pleasant, tranquil 3.3-mile adventure for trail users in south-central New Hampshire....

Northern Rail Trail

New Hampshire - 57.6 miles

Spanning 57.6 miles from Lebanon to Boscawen, the Northern Rail Trail is New Hampshire’s longest rail-trail conversion. Trail development began in...

Derry Rail Trail

New Hampshire - 3.6 miles

This exquisitely maintained trail slices through forested areas and wetlands for a wonderful experience in southern New Hampshire. The trail will...

Stevens Rail Trail

New Hampshire - 1.3 miles

About a dozen miles west of Concord, the Stevens Rail Trail offers a quiet, wooded route along the former Concord-Claremont rail line in Contoocook...

Rockingham Recreational Rail Trail (Fremont Branch)

New Hampshire - 18.3 miles

Crossing through wooded areas and featuring magnificent wetland vistas, the Rockingham Recreational Rail Trail (Fremont Branch) offers an 18.3-mile...

Windham Rail Trail

New Hampshire - 4.3 miles

The Windham Rail Trail passes through the woodsy periphery of Windham in southern New Hampshire, but it sits in the heart of the future cross-state...

Download the TrailLink mobile app and take TrailLink with you!
Get Your 2018 RTC TrailNation Jersey!
Donate and Get a FREE 2018 RTC Guidebook!

Explore by City

Explore by City

Explore by Activity

Explore by Activity

Log in to your account to:

  • View trail paths on the map
  • Save trails to your account
  • Add trails, edit descriptions
  • Share photos
  • Add reviews

Register for free!

Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 30,000 miles of trail maps and more!