I hurt my back recently at Cross Fit and have been trying to find ways to stay active to both accelerate the healing process as well as not go crazy. I just have to be careful what activity I choose as to not irritate my injury further. Now that the weather is looking up, hiking is my "go to" activity. On Wednesday, I found myself looking for a small hike that was close to work and wouldn't occupy more time than my lunch break allowed. After doing some quick Google searches, Pulpit Rock was my choice of a destination. A trail map is located here.
Kiosk at trailhead off from New Boston Road
Pulpit Rock Conservation Area is located in Bedford, just east of New Boston. I parked at the northern trailhead which is located on New Boston Road and had space enough for 6-10 cars depending on how people parked.
At the trailhead, there was a kiosk with a map, some historical information on the conservation area and other standard signs you'd see limiting activity and informing visitors of the rules. From the trailhead, I headed south on the Kennard Trail which was blazed in white.
Cool broken down sign...looked like a big monster took bites out of it!
Right away, the trail crossed over wooden platforms suspended in a boggy, swampy area. I thought for sure I'd see some spring wildflowers here, but it may still be too early. After the swamp, the trail went into a wooded area that was full of pine and hemlock groves.
Great trail markings, easy to follow
First platforms on the trail
Bird houses through the wetland section
Squirrel running from me on the trail
The trail itself was easy, not really ascending or descending too much, but still had enough ups and downs to be interesting. The trail was also full of large rocks and roots so it made me feel like I was on a "real mountain" trail.
Trail through the woods
At about 0.25 miles, there was a very large teepee looking structure that had been constructed, probably 12 feet high. I had seen pictures of this online and it looks like it had been there for a while.
Trail junk off to the side, not sure what they are
At about 0.6 miles, I came to a 4 way junction where many trails came together. I stayed on the Kennard Trail and soon came to another Kiosk which had the glacial history of the area outlined. I few steps behind the kiosk was Pulpit Rock.
Bridge work on the trail
Strange marker found in the middle of the trail...must have been a boundary of some sort
I was really astonished at what was there. It was a cliff like ravine that had been hollowed out to a smooth bowl like cavity. It had to be 60 or 70 feet high. You don't expect to see anything like this in this part of New England. It was really something you'd see in the Whites. There was a safety cable around part of it to ensure no one slipped and fell in. I went over to the edge from a couple sides to get some snapshots, making sure my footing was solid, but my pictures couldn't do this magnificent feature any justice. The next few photos are the best I could do, but again, it doesn't really show how cool this place is.
Cable to keep people safe from slipping and falling
After admiring the remnants of this glacial waterfall, I headed back to the parking lot the same way I trekked in. I did stop to talk with a couple local hikers that frequented the area often and they said other trails descended to the foot of the ravine where there were some nice waterfalls. That, unfortunately, would need to wait for another day as I had run out of time.
Snow fleas....the may flies are coming!!!
This is definitely an awesome hike if you're tight on time and you live in the greater Manchester area. I would caution that if you take smaller children, make sure you have them gripped tight as there are a lot of spots where someone could slip and fall.
Trail sign collage