Hoyt Wildlife Sanctuary, Madison

Hoyt Wildlife Sanctuary, Madison

New Hampshire Audubon East Madison, New Hampshire 03849

Official Website
Hoyt Sanctuary brochure and map

About this Location

Located on the beautiful southern shore of Purity Lake, the Gertrude Keith Hoyt and Edward Eaton Hoyt, Jr. Wildlife Sanctuary protects 135 acres of wildlife habitat for wildlife and people.

Initially dammed by beaver, Purity Lake was re-dammed in the late 1700s by European settlers, who also built a mill in the small community called East Madison. Stone walls and foundations on the Sanctuary are homestead remains from this period. During the post-Civil War years, many homesteaders lost interest in trying to farm the relatively sandy, poor soils, and an enterprising man named Edward Hoyt, Sr., began to buy their holdings. Hoyt eventually acquired the mill and a total of 1,400 acres. Edward, Jr. and Gertrude Keith inherited the family homestead, located very close to where you are standing now until it burned in 1914. Edward’s daughter, Ellen, ran a girls' camp in this location between 1934 and 1977. She generously bequeathed her land holdings to New Hampshire Audubon upon her passing in 1991

Today, the sanctuary features a variety of geological and natural features thanks to glacial deposits from the last ice age. Tall, mature white pines are a dominant tree of the shoreline and wooded trails, especially the Esker Trail. The Heath View Trail features a rich wetland cove that is home to many types of plants and animals. Some of the sanctuary’s northern hardwood and pine forest is managed through forestry to support a wide diversity of birds and other wildlife species.

Notable Trails

The Purity Spring Resort maintains several trails on the Sanctuary for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and hiking, including the private Sunset Beach Road (please respect all signage).

Esker Trail
Yellow-blazed, 0.5 mile loop trail; approximately 30 minutes

This popular trail lies atop an esker, a glacial sand & gravel deposit, and has views of Purity Lake and the kettlehole pond called ‘No Bottom Pond’ with its interesting bog plants like Black Spruce and Rhodora. It also showcases some of the biggest White Pines on the sanctuary. Summer birdlife here includes Pine Warbler, Great Crested Flycatcher, & Common Yellowthroat.

Heath View Trail
Yellow-blazed, 0.7 mile trail including 0.25 mile road walk; approx. 1 hour

This trail hugs the shoreline of the Cove, a shallow wetland with a floating bog mat. Beaver and River Otter live here, a place also rich with turtles, fish, and many species of birds such as Great Blue Heron & Spotted Sandpiper.

Little Brook Trail
Red-blazed, 0.2 mile loop trail; approximately 10 minutes

This trail connects the Esker Trail to Sunset Beach Road. Please take care while crossing the stream on stones/bog bridging. There are some interesting manmade features on this route including an old abandoned vehicle. Listen for Louisiana Waterthrush along the stream corridor.

Beaver Trail
Unblazed, 0.5 mile each way; approximately 30 minutes hour

This trail is maintained by the Resort for hiking and cross-country skiing. It leads to a peninsula dominated by Red and White Pines with nice views of the Cove. Please note where Private Property begins.


  • Restrooms on site

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

  • Entrance fee

Content from Hoyt Wildlife Sanctuary

Last updated November 14, 2023