As far north as you can get without bumping into Canada, Pittsburg New Hampshire has all the best things you’d expect to find at the end of the road. Rolling hills, cold lakes, and long stretches of dirt road will keep you exploring after a lazy morning of coffee by the campsite. Even if you’ve only heard about it from a buddy of a buddy who’s into fly fishing, there are hiking trails, waterfalls, fire towers and many other active outdoor ways to unwind here. Find out what they are in our outdoor guide to Pittsburg, NH.
Good Reasons to Visit:
- Woods and streams for days with fewer people during peak season
- Cooler temps to make sure nobody has a summer meltdown
- Waterfalls and Firetowers to keep you motivated on the hike
This area declared itself independent of the US and Canada after a tax dispute in 1832, which wasn’t resolved until 1853. During that time, it was known as the Republic of Indian Stream.
Where: Northern New Hampshire
- 2.5 hours from Montreal 474 km / 295 miles
- 3 hours from Portland, Maine 222 km / 138 miles
- 3.75 hours from Boston, Massachusetts 350 km / 217 miles
Top 3 Outdoor Activities in Pittsburg, NH
1. Walk Murphy Dam
Ease into your Pittsburg experience with a walk on top of Murphy Dam at sunset. Follow the top of the levee to the dirt road at the end to make a loop of about 5k, or just have a wander up and watch the stars come out over Lake Francis.
2. Hike to the headwaters of the Connecticut River
The Connecticut River forms the boundary between much of the state of Vermont and New Hampshire before it empties in Connecticut. On this hike, you’ll trace it to the very beginning on the border between the US and Canada. Parking is actually at the border crossing, and the trail follows the cut swath of land that designates the border. Once you get to 4th Connecticut Lake, find the small stream where it all begins.
Want more hiking? This trail is the final section of the Cohos Trail, a 170-mile hiking trail that begins in the White Mountains. It also connects across the Canadian border to the Sentier Frontaliers hiking trail network.
3. Paddle or swim in the Connecticut Lakes
Whether you’re into kayaking, canoeing, SUPing, the rocky shorelines of the Connecticut Lakes have options. Mingle with loons (who are ferocious, by the way) and spot both Bald and Golden eagles. The lakes are reservoirs formed by dams along the Connecticut River. First and Second Connecticut Lakes have boat launches with parking and picnic areas. Rentals may be available at your campground or cabin rental but plan to bring your own boats if you have them, since quantities are usually limited.
Pack the binocs, because the Connecticut Lakes are on Audobon’s list of New Hampshire hotspots↗ for birding. Time to check the rare Rusty Blackbird off the list.
Waterproof summer recreation maps are available for sale locally and benefit trail organizations. Try these other trails and activities while you’re in Pittsburg:
- Hike to fire towers on Mt. Magalloway and Deer Mountain
- Visit Garfield Falls
- Hike the Falls in the River trail or Covell Mountain Trail
- Paddle East Inlet and Scott’s Bog
There are a variety of state park campgrounds, private campgrounds, and cabin rentals to choose from. Lake Francis State Park is located on the water, while Deer Mountain State Park is at the north end of town with sites by a river. For an even more adventurous option, try a night in the watchman’s fire tower on top of Magalloway Mountain. Some campgrounds and lodging are located on the Cohos Trail as well, so you can hike right from your site.
When to Visit
Most summer services are open between Memorial Day long weekend (mid/end of May) and mid-October. Temperatures are cooler than much of New England, so it’s nice to visit in summer or early fall since the foliage season comes in late September.
Tip: While Young’s General Store has some produce and groceries in town, make sure to stock up in Colebrook or at home if you want speciality items.