The Weston Observatory on the top of Oak Hill in Manchester New Hampshire (not to be confused with Oak Hill in Concord, NH) is a beautiful, historic observatory that has classic views of the Southern New Hampshire countryside. It was constructed in 1896 for educational and scientific purposes and was named after James A. Weston. This granite 66-foot observation tower was a popular destination for hiking and picnic. Unfortunately after World War it fell into disrepair and by the 1970’s it was set up for demolition.
Fortunately, many citizens led by Louis-Israel Martel rallied to restore the Weston Observatory and in 1977 it was repaired and opened for the public. Unfortunately though no further restoration has been done and the tower itself is only up for two weekends out of the year by Kiwanis Club of Manchester. There are some ongoing efforts to restore the tower so that it can be open again for a much longer time during the year. Unfortunately it is estimated to make the tower a full service recreation tower it will cost $35,000.
There are a number of trails to the base of the observatory that are all a virtual walk up. Tower Hill Rd., a paved road that is blocked off by a gate for most of the year, is easiest way to the base but parking around the gate is almost impossible. The two better and more scenic ways to the Weston Observatory is by walking up from the north via the McIntyre Ski Area or via the south of an unnamed path from Reservoir Rd. Both ways are easy trails that take less than an hour.
VIA DERRYFIELD PARK AND RESERVIOR RD. From I-93, get off on Exit 8 Bridge and held west towards Manchester, NH. Go roughly a half-mile over the crest of the ridge and you see a parking area and a ball field on your right. You want to park there and then walk down that that street until you hit a wooded traffic circle. The blocked dirt path will be the trail that will take you to the observatory.
VIA MCINTYRE SKI AREA (CLOSED FOR SKIING IN WINTER) From I-93, get off on Exit 8 Bridge and held west towards Manchester, NH. Take right on Mammoth Rd. Stay on Mammoth Road for roughly a mile. Take a left on Kennard Street and stay on the road to near the bottom of the hill. Chalet Drive with a big McIntyre ski sign will be on your left
Park curfew is 9 pm.
When To Climb
You can hike to the base of the observatory at anytime. However, right now the observatory is only open for one or two weekends in late September and early October.
Camping is prohibited on the summit and there is a 9 pm curfew at the park.
Manchester Park and Recreation Department (603) 624-6565
Summit Picture Log
Post your summit mugshot here.