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Old New Hampshire Route 10 in Keene, New Hampshire

The people who know me best know that I am as much of a waterfall enthusiast as I am a road enthusiast. When I was looking to make a day trip to southwestern New Hampshire in May 2018, I decided to check out Beaver Brook Falls in Keene. What I wasn't expecting is that the trail to the waterfall is a well preserved old alignment of NH 10 leading northeast from the city of Keene. That was a pleasant surprise. The old alignment of NH 10 is on a road called Washington Street Extension, which was bypassed by the early 1980s by a northern bypass of Keene utilizing NH 9 and NH 10.

Not too much has changed with the old road since the bypass opened other than the forces of time. The old pavement, guide rail posts and bridge over the Beaver Brook remain today in a quiet, forested environment. You can follow the old road about a half mile to the Old Man of Keene (a rock formation) and to Beaver Brook Falls, located 0.7 miles from the trailhead. Let's take a look and see what the old alignment of NH 10 in Keene looks like today...

The journey begins at a gate at the end of Washington Street Extension. The old road is now a nature walk operated by the City of Keene Parks & Recreation Department that brings you to the Old Man of Keene and Beaver Brook Falls. Parking is along the shoulder of Washington Street Extension.

You can notice some old pavement markings along the old road. The old road is being encroached by nature over time. Maybe that is by design, or maybe the road was not wide enough to begin with.

Continuing up the old road.

Some old guide rails.

Some sweeping curves too.
The Beaver Brook.
Crossing the Beaver Brook on an old bridge.
Some fallen rock meets the road.

Lots of leaves have collected along the old roadway, almost completely covering the road.

The Old Man of Keene, presumably named for its resemblance to the late, great Old Man of the Mountain in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.


Getting closer to Beaver Brook Falls, the old road hugs the hillside and the Beaver Brook. It's a bit narrow through this stretch, so you can see why a northern bypass of Keene for NH 10 was built on a different alignment.

The lands of Beaver Brook Canyon were generously donated to the City of Keene in 1969 for the public's enjoyment and passive recreation.

There is a pullout to the right, which is conveniently located next to Beaver Brook Falls.

Beyond the waterfall, the old alignment of NH 10 has returned to nature.

Beaver Brook Falls of Keene, not to be confused with the Beaver Brook Falls in Colebrook, New Hampshire. Beaver Brook Falls is a 12 foot tall plunge waterfall that cascades downstream. You won't get a good view of the waterfall from the old road, so you will need to make a short bushwhack down a slope to the Beaver Brook to check out the waterfall. There is a herd path down to the Beaver Brook that you may be able to make out from the old road itself.

A little wider view of Beaver Brook Falls. At this point, I took my picture, climbed the slope back to the old road and walked back to my car.



How to Get There:

Sources and Links:
New England Waterfalls - Beaver Brook Falls
NH Tour Guide - Beaver Brook Falls Keene NH
NH Family Hikes - Beaver Brook Falls
Keene Sentinel - History of the Keene bypass: Not entirely welcomed at first
Touring NH - Keene

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