Chesterfield Gorge

Chesterfield Gorge

There’s a picture on our web site that several guests have asked about and said ” I want to go  there!” There is a waterfall  in Chesterfield Gorge, a small  13 acre New Hampshire State Park, located right in Chesterfield. Chesterfield Gorge is seven miles from the Chesterfield Inn, on Route 9 East. Dogs are welcome there, but you can’t take bikes or ATV’s on the trails.

The gorge is a terrific place for a short walk in the woods with a big pay off. You can park in the parking lot right on Route 9, and in 5 minutes, you are standing on the side of the gorge, staring at the rushing water far below.  By definition, a gorge is a deep ravine carved from the landscape by flowing water. The gorge trail is very well marked, with red blazes (red wooden trail markers nailed to tree trunks every so often) as well as directional arrows. Footing is generally good  and hiking boots are not necessary, although I wouldn’t recommend wearing flip flops. The trees are close to the trail, and it is shady and mossy. In the spring and summer when it’s green and lush, the  forest reminds me of scene  in Star Wars when  the Ewoks and Stormtroopers are riding  around on those flying motorcycles.

One of the Gorge Waterfalls

One of the Gorge Waterfalls

The trail winds down one side of the gorge, with several places where you can stop and enjoy the woodsy views of the cliffs and the Wilder Brook below. The park service has even placed metal fencing at the most precarious points so that you can look without worrying about falling.  The trail slopes gradually downward to a flat area where there is a wooden bridge that crosses the brook , allowing hikers to continue on the other side of the gorge.

On the far side of the bridge, if you head up hill a few steps, and over to the edge of the water, there is a calm spot with a sandy area, where kids (of all ages) can actually play in the water. Once you’re finished dipping your feet in the water, and splashing around, you can get back on the trail and head down the far bank of the brook to the second bridge, cross back to the other side and wind your way back up the gorge. There are some very nice views of the waterfalls on this section of the trail, looking up from the lowest part of the falls and up through the cliff and woods. The gorge is a  quiet place to walk and enjoy the woods and gorgeous scenery. There are no crowds there, and all you can hear is the wind and the birds singing. It’s a great place to “walk off” breakfast or for a quick walk before you head home.