The Oyster River Trails: Connecting Campus to the Community

Someone has been busy working on Durham’s Oyster River Forest!

Living near a quality walking trail is a priority for my partner and I. Since moving to Durham, we’ve spent a lot of time outside exploring the College Woods/Oyster River Forest area.

We noticed over the past six months or so, that this trail has continued to evolve. We have been surprised and impressed to find new bridges, extended trails, and, more recently, wayfinding signage! It turns out, the trail system is being worked on by the Oyster River Trails Working Group, an ad-hoc group of volunteers working to fund trail improvement at the Oyster River Forest.

Previously known as the Sprucewood Forest, the Oyster River Forest is owned by the Town of Durham. There is a small parking area on Packer’s Falls Road (slightly north of Mill Road), and the trails off of this lot are very wide and smooth (perfect for cycling, snow shoeing, or cross country skiing). From this lot, you’ll also find the Spruce Hole Bog and the Spruce Hole Conservation Area.

The Spruce Hole Bog is a worthwhile detour!

The Oyster River Forest is home to a diversity of wildlife and plants.

As of this summer, the Oyster River Trails now extend to College Woods, connecting the UNH campus to the community! Owned by the University of New Hampshire, College Woods is a beautiful 250-acre plot with an extensive system of trails, running behind academic buildings from the Field House to Mill Road. Together, the Oyster River Forest and College Woods is so big, we have barely begun to explore the upper section of College Woods (north of the Oyster River), and have stuck closer to Mill Road. 

We are fond of walking from the Mill Road entrance of College Woods to the parking lot Packer’s Falls Road, which is 2.62 miles each way.

We mostly stick to the lower section of College Woods (south of the Oyster River), but in it’s entirety, College Woods is huge!

Trail maps are now available on Trail Finder, but in order to add College Woods to the map you have to scroll down to “View Connector Trails” and hit “show” next to “UNH College Woods.”

Find this map of the Oyster River Forest, Spruce Hole Bog, and College Woods on Trail Finder.

One Response to “The Oyster River Trails: Connecting Campus to the Community”

  1. Malin ClydeJanuary 3, 2018 at 10:42 am #

    If Stay Work Play folks are looking to collaborate on trails and stewardship projects (fun volunteer opportunities!), get in touch with me at UNH’s Nature Groupie (formerly the Stewardship Network: New England). Volunteers were a big part of the upgrades on the Oyster River Trail – and we always love working with groups!

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