The Nature Conservancy Conway, New Hampshire 03860Official Website
The Green Hills Preserve is part of a larger matrix of contiguous conservation lands including town land, the Conway State Forest, and the White Mountain National Forest. More than 12 miles of hiking trails on the preserve provide moderate to strenuous routes to the summits of Middle Mountain, Peaked Mountain, and Black Cap, and also lead to the town’s Pudding Pond conservation area where the lovely Pudding Pond Trail follows a brook through spruce-fir and hemlock woods to Pudding Pond.
A preserve map and guide is available from the kiosks at the Thompson Road and Black Cap parking areas.
Just east of the hustle and bustle of North Conway Village lies a ridge of small mountains with bald peaks and outstanding views of Mount Washington and the Presidential Range. More than 4,200 acres of this ridgeline and three mountain peaks are protected in the Conservancy’s Green Hills Preserve. Here, visitors are rewarded with excellent hiking and opportunities to view unusual red pine rocky ridge habitats and rare plants like White Mountain silverling, smooth sandwort, and green adder’s mouth. In addition to its exposed ridge habitats, the preserve also features wetlands, mixed hardwood forests, and hemlock groves which support a diversity of White Mountain wildlife like black bears, bobcats, and wood warblers.
The Green Hills ridge is derived from Conway Granite, a volcanic bedrock formed approximately 200 million years ago. This bedrock is exposed in several places along the ridge, most notably on Middle Mountain, Peaked Mountain, and Black Cap, where visitors are exposed to excellent views as well as lessons in geology and ecology. Peaked Mountain contains great examples of glacial polish, whereby the granite has a smooth, marble-like appearance created when fine grit on the underside of a glacier scours underlying rocks during movement.
In the early 20th century, wildfires on the Green Hills burned many of the summit areas and were in large part responsible for the preserve’s uncommon red pine rocky ridge community. Look carefully at the red pines on Peaked and Middle mountains, and notice that most are about the same size. This is because they all originated around the same time when a fire had cleared out competing vegetation and created optimal conditions for red pine establishment. On summer evenings, the bald peaks also provide a great place to watch for common nighthawks and listen for the ethereal songs of whip-poor-wills, which are thought to nest near the summits.
The AllTrails website has a description and map of hikes at Green Hills Preserve.
Restrooms on site
Wheelchair accessible trail
Content from Official Website
Last updated November 14, 2023