Wilkins-Campbell Forest at Deering Lake

How to get there. The entrance to the Wilkins-Campbell Forest is located on Wolf Hill Rd. From Deering Center Rd (NH Rt. 149) follow on Fisher Rd, at the town garage. Follow Fisher Rd. approx. 1 mi to a T at Wolf Hill Rd. Turn right on Wolf Hill Rd. Follow Wolf Hill Rd. for approx. 0.5 mi. ti the entrance to the Wilkins-Campbell Forest on the right. From Hillsborough, follow Deering Center Rd. (NH Rt. 149) to Old County Rd. Follow Old County Rd to  Wolf Hill Rd (approx. 3 mi). Turn left on Wolf Hill and follow approx. 0.4 mi to the entrance to the Wilkins-Campbell Forest on the right. Parking is on the Wolf Hill Rd.

This is a lovely property with a long, fishable shore line at the north end of Deering Lake. There is limited on-road parking at the gate, which is about a half-mile up Wolf Hill Road (get there via Old County Road). This is a great place for a picnic, fishing or general laziness on a warm summer day. Cross country skiing or snowshoeing are very possible for the winter.

The Wilkins farm forms the heart of the Wilkins-Campbell Forest. The farm is one of the earliest farms in Deering, dating from the mid 18th Century.  The original Wilkins house now stands at the corner of Old County Rd and Falls Rd. The Wilkins family donated the first burial ground in town, the Wilkins Cemetery, which is located a few hundred yards west of Falls Rd on Old County Rd. Dr. Elizabeth Campbell, the first female physician to open her own practice in New York City owned the Wilkins property through much of the 20th Century. She, and another of her New York friends, a minister Dr. Petty, hosted their Big City guests at social gatherings along the reservoir for many years. Dr Campbell, a wealthy woman, gave the land to her church, which was located at what is now The Wilds and for many years the church ran Camp Tuckernuck before going bankrupt. The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests acquired the land and removed all the camp buildings.  The Wilkins-Campbell trail passes through what was formerly Camp Tuckernuck to a lovely beach and picnic area on Deering Reservoir.

There are a few nice open spots at the end of the trail where it is easys to fish. Deering Lake is managed for bass and rainbow trout. The many blueberry bushes along the shore are a great side benefit of a visit to the Wilkins Campbell Forest.

Access to the beach is either from the trail head, a half mile walk from Wolf Hill Rd., or by kayak. The walk to the lake from the trail head is along a dirt road and is  easy to follow.  Just beyond the trail head there is a slope that could be a challenge for tired kids or others after a long day of picnicking,  but after that the trail is level and smooth. Because of the limited parking, a good way to enjoy this property is to access it by canoe or kayak and use it as an ideal picnic spot. You’ll find the town boat launch alongside the dam at the southerly end of Deering Lake. There may be a small fee to park this site at some times of year. Once your boat is in the water, paddle along the south shore toward the west. You will come to a long section of undeveloped shoreline. Look for the Forest Society sign visible from the water. Using your GPS, the beach is located at approximately N43° 03.483′ W71° 51.263′.

If your boat has been in ANY lake or stream outside of Deering you must be certain that no plants or animals are sticking to it. Invasive plant species such as milfoil and fan plant do not occur in town. Representatives of The Lake Hosts program will inspect all boats between Memorial Day and Labor day, but it is the responsibility of everybody to prevent introduction of invasive species into Deering’s waters.

If you are kayaking, there is a cove to the right as you face away from the beach. Leaving your kayak at the head of the cove you can walk 200 yards to a wetland where gentians and red lobelia abound.

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