Milford is a town (population around 15,000) in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire. It sits on the Souhegan River in the southern part of the State.
The town is nicknamed “The Granite Town” because it was once home to many granite quarries. Among its numerous contributions to architecture, the Milford quarries supplied the granite pillars for the U.S. Treasury in Washington, D.C. You can still see the famous pillars on the back of the America $10 bill. However, only one small granite quarry remains in operation as of 2017.
Consistent with many regions of New England, Milford developed several thriving textiles in the 19th century, although the industry had all but vanished by World War II. But the town still remains a retail and manufacturing center for the six-town area informally known as the Souhegan Valley.
Among its important social contributions, Milford was a stop on the Underground Railroad for escaped slaves from southern states in the middle of the 19th century.
Tucker Brook Town Forest is a 258-acre conservation area that includes about 10 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. The forest is also home to the locally popular Tucker Brook Falls, a 12-foot horsetail waterfall that drapes over rows of thin ledge — a photogenic scene whenever water is flowing well.
In addition to Tucker Brook Falls, the area also includes glacial erratics and large boulders that were deposited by the retreating glacier some 10,000 years ago. Easy to moderate trails (all free) meander along Tucker Brook, providing ample evidence of the last Ice Age.
BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH
Tucker Brook Falls is at its best when water is running abundantly in late spring, as well as in autumn when the surrounding trees are painted in colorful hues of yellow, orange, and red. I prefer to come here after the spring runoff (mid- to late-May) when water is not running too hard to preserve texture. I also prefer late autumn (mid- to late-October) when the falls are adorned with fallen leaves.
The best time to photograph along the brook and falls is on overcast days or days with light rainfall, as rain tends to embellish the surrounding rocks.
The fastest way to reach the falls is from Savage Road, near the Wilton town line. From Route 101 bypass, turn west onto Phelan Road (also known as Old Wilton Road). Drive 0.6 miles and then bear right as the road changes to Savage Road. Go about 0.3 miles from the “Y” and park under the power lines on the left.
From the parking area, the trailhead is 200 feet up the road on the left. Take the Ridge Trail to reach Tucker Brook, and turn left just before crossing the brook, following the blue trail markers to the waterfall.
Carefully watch your step as the trail is often covered with rocks and tree roots that are slippery when wet. And be sure to wear waterproof boots to increase your choice of composition along the brook and waterfall.
Be aware that the town forest is open to hunting in season, so be sure to wear orange if you choose to come here in late autumn (November).
The forest adjoins parcels of private land, so please respect the “no trespassing” signs wherever you see them posted, and stay on marked trails as much as possible.
I rarely run into other people when I come to Tucker Brook, especially since I visit on overcast or rainy days. I find the short and easy hike both peaceful and rewarding — I hope you do too!