The Gonic Trails, Rochester, NH

Visiting The Gonic Trails and hiking down to the Isinglass River to see the falls after several rain storms, is a great adventure. It was amazing to see the awesome power of Mother Nature and the raging rapids at the falls. This is usually a busy trail and you will often find off leash dogs here, even though it is a leashed only trail, so beware.

Use the trail map to guide your journey to the falls. The map also gives interpretive descriptions of historical uses and forest management practices which correspond to station numbers on the blue trail.

Here are the details about this trail:

  • 📍 GPS: 103 Rochester Neck Road
  • 🥾 Length: 1.4 miles (with options for a longer hike)
  • ⛰️ Elevation gain: 147 ft
  • 🕥 Time: 1-1.5 hours (includes stop at the Falls)
  • 🅿️ Parking: the parking lot holds around 20+ cars
  • ⚙️ Difficulty Rating: Easy (see our Trail Rating & Pace Guide)
  • 🚶🏽 Pace: Stroll to Moderate so dogs can sniff
  • 🐕 Reactive Dog Rating: Level 2-3+ depending on the time of day you visit (see our Reactive Dog Comfort Level Chart)
  • 🚫 No bathroom at trailhead
  • 📱 Cell service (Verizon)
  • ❓ Hunting: unsure
  • 🐶 Leashed dogs only (we saw several dogs off leash)
  • 💩 Carry out your dog’s waste

After parking, start on the right side of the lot. You will see a rock with a blue and yellow blaze painted on it. Start here and then continue to follow the blue – Locke’s Loop trail to where it splits left from the yellow Isinglass Trail. Either trail brings you to the falls, but for this review, we followed blue.

The trail is wide and mostly flat. There are lots of areas to step off the trail if approached by another dog and handler. Beware that you may find discarded poop bags and piles not picked up. We also encountered broken glass along the trail. Regardless, it is a beautiful hike, you just need to be mindful of where you step.

When you reach the Isinglass River, turn left onto the yellow trail and follow along the river to the falls. There are many places to stop along the river to take a swim, or sit on a big rock and enjoy a picnic lunch while you admire the beauty of the area. Along the river is always crowded with adults, children, and dogs in the warm months when the weather is good. The day we hiked was just above freezing and sunny. We encountered a few people as well as 2 off leash dogs.

After you have enjoyed the falls and the river, make your way back to the parking lot by following the red Watson’s Way Trail. This section of the red trail is where the elevation comes in. This is a steep uphill climb. Don’t worry, it is short, but it could be slippery depending on the time of year. You will get a good workout here.

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