Great Bay

Location: Southern New Hampshire
Trip Starts: Visitor’s Center
Trip Ends: Visitor’s Center
Total Distance: 2 miles
Hike Type: Roundtrip, Loop Hike
Hike Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Trails Used: Ferry Way Trail
Trail Traffic: Moderate
Trip Type: Day Hike
More Information:

Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge
100 Merrimac Drive
Newington, NH 03801


Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was established in 1992 and is located along the eastern shore of New Hampshire’s Great Bay in the town of Newington. A variety of rich wildlife habitats from uplands to open waters can be found throughout the refuge. With its open coastal water and abundant prey, the refuge plays a significant role as migration and wintering habitat for the federally protected bald eagle. The bay area also provides prime migration habitat for the peregrine falcon. Many state protected species use the refuge including the common loon, pied-billed grebe, osprey, common tern, northern harrier and upland sandpiper. The bay area also serves as New Hampshire’s major wintering area for black ducks. Great Bay NWR also manages the Karner blue butterfly easement in Concord, New Hampshire, that protects important habitat for this federally endangered species.

This hike to Great Bay starts at the parking area across from the visitor’s center then follows the fence line of a now abandon weapons storage area to a beaver pond. From here, you have the option of hiking the loop to Great Bay in either direction as it circles around an open field and into the hardwood forest that hides the bay. On the route, there is a platform with excellent views to Little and Great Bay looking to the west. At the beaver pond, you can then backtrack to the parking area to complete the hike.

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