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Mine Falls Park in Nashua is a 300-acre-plus urban park with a network of approximately 9.7 miles of a variety of trail types. This forested park offers an extraordinary nature experience in the heart of New Hampshire’s second-most populous city along the Nashua River. The park is a beacon of recreational opportunities; in addition to the trail network, the area boasts historic exploration, wildlife viewing, ball fields, and ample fishing spots.
The Nashua River and Nashua Canal both cut right through the park, providing an interesting glimpse into the city’s past. The Nashua Manufacturing Company built the canal to channel water from the river downstream to a dam, creating a crucial power source for the mills and industrial movement in the area during the 1800s.
Before you head out, it’s a good idea to bring along a map of the park developed by the City of Nashua, available at nashuanh.gov/DocumentCenter/View/2328. The park is organized by a series of color-coded trails and corresponding numbers posted along the trails to help you navigate. The city map details all of this information. Several access points make it easy to get to the park from several places, and three primary routes traverse the park from east to west.
One great starting point for the trail is the Mine Falls Gatehouse/Dam trailhead, located on the western side of the trail system, between the Nashua River and Mill Pond, accessible from Stadium Drive. The impressive Mine Falls Dam appears right next to the parking area; here, you can also glimpse a gatehouse (currently being restored) constructed by the Nashua Manufacturing Company in 1886 as part of the canal system that is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
Mine Falls Park extends to the east, immediately presenting you with three primary pathway options. Following the northern side of the Nashua Canal, the old towpath travels east directly alongside the water. In 1.2 miles, you will cross under US 3/Everett Turnpike and come to a trail junction at the Whipple Street trailhead. There are many different trail connections throughout the park, and three bridges cross the canal.
Staying along the northern side of the canal for the remaining 1.1 miles, the trail makes its way to the eastern edge of the park. Beautiful views of the river, wetlands, and wildlife abound on the northern side of the trail overlooking Oxbow Lake and The Cove. The Nashua Manufacturing Company Historic District is located just one block east of the park at Clocktower Place and Factory Street Extension.
In addition to the canal towpath, a trail on the northern edge of the park closely follows the south bank of the Nashua River. Just after passing under US 3/Everett Turnpike, you can opt to continue straight toward the eastern side of the park or turn left to make a small loop through the wooded area that runs adjacent to the southern side of the river.
To the south, a paved trail segment begins just off of Stadium Drive near Stellos Stadium and closely follows the southern edge of the canal for the length of the park. If you choose to follow this section, you can also access the 1.3-mile Nashua Heritage Rail-Trail—which runs parallel to West Hollis Street—by turning right onto a trail junction about 2.3 miles from the stadium parking lot. To the left is a trail bridge that will take you to the northern side of the canal. From the trail junction, head straight onto North Seventh Street and go 0.3 mile, passing ball fields and a parking area. Cross over North Groton Street and enter the Nashua Heritage Rail-Trail, which heads east or west along the north side of West Hollis Street.
Throughout the park, trails suitable only for hiking offer a unique wilderness experience right in Nashua.
To reach the Mine Falls Gatehouse/Dam trailhead from US 3/Everett Turnpike, take Exit 5W, and merge onto SR 111/W. Hollis St., heading west. Go 0.5 mile. Turn right onto Riverside St., and in several hundred feet, turn left onto Stadium Dr. Go 0.2 mile, and follow signs to Mine Falls Park. You will turn right and pass Stellos Stadium on your left before entering the park. After passing the boat launch on your left, look for trail parking on your left near the gatehouse.
To reach the Whipple St. trailhead from US 3 S/Everett Turnpike, take Exit 5E if coming from the north, and merge onto SR 111/W. Hollis St. After crossing over the highway, immediately turn right to get on US 3N/Everett Turnpike. Take Exit 5A and follow signs for Simon St. Turn left onto Simon St., and go 0.2 mile. Turn left onto Whipple St., and go another 0.2 mile to the park entrance and parking.
To reach the easternmost trailhead on Pine St. Ext. from US 3/Everett Turnpike, take Exit 6 for Broad St./SR 130 toward Hollis. Head east onto NH 130/Broad St. (signs for Nashua), and go 0.4 mile. Turn right onto Broad St. Pkwy., go 1.1 miles, and turn right onto Pine St. Ext. In a few feet turn left to stay on Pine St. Ext., go 0.1 mile (the road will turn right), and then turn left again to stay on Pine St. Ext. for another 0.2 mile. Turn left into the small parking lot.
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