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 Pulpit Rock Conservation Area 
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Sovereign Woodsman
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Posts: 1144
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 Pulpit Rock Conservation Area
This place in Bedford has caught my interest for a while, and yesterday (3/24/2012), I finally went to it.

The trailhead, which is located on New Boston Rd. just before the Bedford/New Boston line, has a nice parking lot and kiosk highlighting the area. The trail that led from the lot to Pulpit Rock was the Kennard Trail (0.6 mi). I started hiking on it after checking out the kiosk.

The white-blazed Kennard Trail started out by going over a series of boardwalks, and after that it became a regular trail. It passed a side path to a campsite early on (I believe you have to get a camping permit from the town of Bedford, though) and then passed through more and more woods.

The grade of the trail wasn't steep, and this would be a great hike for beginner hikers. The trail quality also wasn't that bad either, and the good quality maintained itself all the way to Pulpit Rock.

Near the end of the Kennard Trail, there was a four-way trail junction. To get to Pulpit Rock, I had to go straight. (There's arrows pointing out where to go, anyway; the entire area is well marked, signed, and blazed.)

At the end of the Kennard Trail, another kiosk awaited me. It had another trail map and more area information. I looked around for a trail to Pulpit Rock, but then remembered that about 0.6 miles away, there was the site of an old mill. I decided to go there and save Pulpit Rock for later.

I took the white-blazed Tufts Trail (0.6 mi) to the Old Mill site. Early on, it was very wet and muddy, with large puddles and mini-lakes covering the trail; they were so bad that there was an alternate route around them, which I took. After that, the trail gradually descended through dark, thickish woods, with a quality similar to the Kennard Trail. About 2/3 to 3/4 of the way down the trail, there was a trail to the right that I think was called the Martin Trail (correct me if I'm wrong). I didn't know where it went, and it wasn't on any of the maps, so I skipped it. Soon after that, I came up to a brook. The trail turned right and then came up to a bridge. I took the short path from the "End" sign to the Old Mill site.

The path to the Old Mill site was short and a bit rough in spots, but it was easy. Eventually, I reached the site. Its present state was two stone walls with a gap dividing them, with the brook running through the gap. I took some video and pictures and then returned to the end of the previous trail.

I decided to take the Red Trail/Campbell Trail back to Pulpit Rock. This was about 0.6-0.8 mi. It started out a little steep and rough, but then eased up. I passed a family early on and put a lot of distance between myself and them. The trail went through the same kind of woods the Kennard and Tufts Trails went through at an easy grade. It passed close by wildlife signs, which told me that I was near the fringe of the area.

The trail then turned left and gently ascended past a stone wall. I saw a few more of those signs and another trail junction. I could actually see houses through the woods, which took away from the woodsy feeling. Eventually, the woods closed up, and I reached yet another junction. I turned left and took the wide trail back to Pulpit Rock.

Upon reaching the Pulpit Rock area, I decided to take the yellow-blazed Granite Trail. It was rough and steep in quite a few spots, so young children should be watched here. There was a nice little pool with a small waterfall about 1/3 to 2/5 of the way; after that, the trail maintains its steep and rough grade and eventually reached the bottom of Pulpit Rock.

Pulpit Rock was spectacular. 42 feet deep, 23 feet wide, and full of cliffs, pools, and waterfalls. I can't even describe a fraction of it here; one would have to actually be there to get the full experience.

I took the Ravine Trail up Pulpit Rock. It is steep and rocky, like the Granite Trail. It passed by several pools, cliffs, and waterfalls. I remember passing by and under a rock that almost went over the trail; that was just another awesome part of Pulpit Rock. After I got back to regular ground level, I found a picnic table where I could eat and drink water. After the break, I went back to the parking lot on the Kennard Trail.

Overall, this was an awesome hike. I haven't been on a non-peak hike in a while, and this was defintely worth it. I'd recommend this for beginner hikers or any hiker looking for a hike with a cool feature. One thing that I noticed: I was the only one in the conservation area with a backpack. Some people may have had small waist-packs, but I was the only one with a regular hiking backpack. Early on in the hike, I passed a family, and one of the little kids was like, "Whoa, look! He has a backpack!" I guess I'm used to bigger hikes that require more stuff and, therefore, require a backpack.

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Sun Mar 25, 2012 9:28 am
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Sovereign Woodsman
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Posts: 1329
Location: Somersworth NH
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Your reports are so often from unique places that I haven't even heard of.

I appreciate that!


Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:47 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman

Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:23 pm
Posts: 2264
Location: Lakes Region, NH
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Sounds neat, I'll add that one to my list!!!! Thanks!


Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:17 am
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Mountaineer
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Posts: 104
Location: Newmarket, NH
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 Re: Pulpit Rock Conservation Area
Awesome report. Sounds like a great place to check out. :)


Mon Apr 11, 2016 8:38 am
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Flatfoot
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Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2017 2:30 am
Posts: 2
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 Re: Pulpit Rock Conservation Area
hiker0200 wrote:
This place in Bedford has caught my interest for a while, and yesterday (3/24/2012), I finally went to it.

The trailhead, which is located on New Boston Rd. just before the Bedford/New Boston line, has a nice parking lot and kiosk highlighting the area. The trail that led from the lot to Pulpit Rock was the Kennard Trail (0.6 mi). I started hiking on it after checking out the kiosk.

The white-blazed Kennard Trail started out by going over a series of boardwalks, and after that it became a regular trail. It passed a side path to a campsite early on (I believe you have to get a camping permit from the town of Bedford, though) and then passed through more and more woods.

The grade of the trail wasn't steep, and this would be a great hike for beginner hikers. The trail quality also wasn't that bad either, and the good quality maintained itself all the way to Pulpit Rock.

Near the end of the Kennard Trail, there was a four-way trail junction. To get to Pulpit Rock, I had to go straight. (There's arrows pointing out where to go, anyway; the entire area is well marked, signed, and blazed.)

At the end of the Kennard Trail, another kiosk awaited me. It had another trail map and more area information. I looked around for a trail to Pulpit Rock, but then remembered that about 0.6 miles away, there was the site of an old mill. I decided to go there and save Pulpit Rock for later.

I took the white-blazed Tufts Trail (0.6 mi) to the Old Mill site. Early on, it was very wet and muddy, with large puddles and mini-lakes covering the trail; they were so bad that there was an alternate route around them, which I took. After that, the trail gradually descended through dark, thickish woods, with a quality similar to the Kennard Trail. About 2/3 to 3/4 of the way down the trail, there was a trail to the right that I think was called the Martin Trail (correct me if I'm wrong). I didn't know where it went, and it wasn't on any of the maps, so I skipped it. Soon after that, I came up to a brook. The trail turned right and then came up to a bridge. I took the short path from the "End" sign to the Old Mill site.

The path to the Old Mill site was short and a bit rough in spots, but it was easy. Eventually, I reached the site. Its present state was two stone walls with a gap dividing them, with the brook running through the gap. I took some video and pictures and then returned to the end of the previous trail.

I decided to take the Red Trail/Campbell Trail back to Pulpit Rock. This was about 0.6-0.8 mi. It started out a little steep and rough, but then eased up. I passed a family early on and put a lot of distance between myself and them. The trail went through the same kind of woods the Kennard and Tufts Trails went through at an easy grade. It passed close by wildlife signs, which told me that I was near the fringe of the area.

The trail then turned left and gently ascended past a stone wall. I saw a few more of those signs and another trail junction. I could actually see houses through the woods, which took away from the woodsy feeling. Eventually, the woods closed up, and I reached yet another junction. I turned left and took the wide trail back to Pulpit Rock.

Upon reaching the Pulpit Rock area, I decided to take the yellow-blazed Granite Trail. It was rough and steep in quite a few spots, so young children should be watched here. There was a nice little pool with a small waterfall about 1/3 to 2/5 of the way; after that, the trail maintains its steep and rough grade and eventually reached the bottom of Pulpit Rock.

Pulpit Rock was spectacular. 42 feet deep, 23 feet wide, and full of cliffs, pools, and waterfalls. I can't even describe a fraction of it here; one would have to actually be there to get the full experience.

I took the Ravine Trail up Pulpit Rock. It is steep and rocky, like the Granite Trail. It passed by several pools, cliffs, and waterfalls. I remember passing by and under a rock that almost went over the trail; that was just another awesome part of Pulpit Rock. After I got back to regular ground level, I found a picnic table where I could eat and drink water. After the break, I went back to the parking lot on the Kennard Trail.

Overall, this was an awesome hike. I haven't been on a non-peak hike in a while, and this was defintely worth it. I'd recommend this for beginner hikers or any hiker looking for a hike with a cool feature. One thing that I noticed: I was the only one in the conservation area with a backpack. Some people may have had small waist-packs, but I was the only one with a regular hiking backpack. Early on in the hike, I passed a family, and one of the little kids was like, "Whoa, look! He has a backpack!" I guess I'm used to bigger hikes that require more stuff and, therefore, require a backpack.


One of the best reports I have ever read. I may actually try this trail myself. It would be hard to carry a big backpack with all your personal needs though throughout the trip.

I will try this trip new week and will provide a full review about it as well. This sounds quite exciting. I read another trip report about this and it was quite fascinating. I just hope I will not lose track and get lost on the way.


Last edited by dougwolf on Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Aug 10, 2017 2:37 am
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Sovereign Woodsman
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Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 7:35 pm
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Location: south of the notches
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 Re: Pulpit Rock Conservation Area
Back in our rock climbing days we went out there quite often. Just down the road from where we lived. The area is much better marked today than it was in the 80s that's fer shur!! :wink: The conservation committee has done a fabulous job with the area, which I understand is now protected from development.

In the early days - early 1900s, IIRC, it was a hoppin' place with tourists being bused in, dancing at a pavilion, picnicking....but the 1938 hurricane that came through took care of all of that nonsense. :shock:

I love the glacial erratics strewn throughout. Great for fun little bouldering options.

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Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:51 am
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