Greensboro Ridge

About the Greensboro Ridge Natural Area

The Hanover Conservancy acquired Greensboro Ridge Natural Area in 2008 in partnership with the Town of Hanover.  The trail traverses a breathtaking landscape as it climbs up the ridge and connects with the Appalachian Trail near Velvet Rocks.  Visitors will remark on the preserve’s ferny clearings, woodland streams, mossy glens, and dramatic rock ledges. Learn more about its geology here.


Ice fractal in a Greensboro Ridge stream
Ice fractal in a Greensboro Ridge stream

How to get there – Oli’s Eagle Trail & Silent Brook Trail: From Greensboro Road, turn onto Velvet Rocks Drive and continue to the trailhead parking area at the top of the road. The Silent Brook Trail can also be reached from the Silent Brook housing development.  From Greensboro Road, turn onto Silent Brook Drive, turn right, and park beyond the homes’ parking area. The trail begins at the upper northeast corner of the development. Please respect the privacy and property of the Velvet Rocks and Silent Brook communities on your way to and from the Natural Area. No overnight parking is permitted at the trailhead area.


Map & Guide

Our full-color map and guide to the Greensboro Ridge Natural Area gives insights into natural features including geology, birds, mammals, plants, and habitats, and explains the trails and the property’s history.  Printed copies of the trail map are posted at the Velvet Rocks trailhead.


Trailhead KioskTrumbullNelsonKiosk

Many thanks to Trumbull-Nelson for the beautiful kiosk now greeting hikers at the beginning of Oli’s Eagle Trail at the top of Velvet Rocks Drive. The Town of Hanover DPW crew installed the footings. Posted here are an updated trail map, tidbits about the Natural Area’s wildlife and special habitats, trail details, and guidelines for use. Watch this space for special notices about happenings at the Natural Area.



new trailhead sign goes upTrails

The 0.6 mile Greensboro Highlands Trail, on a route recommended by biologists to showcase the property’s fascinating natural features while avoiding sensitive habitats, links existing trails to create a new loop past dramatic rock faces and more. Vertical gain is about 300 feet. The trail is for foot travel only. Oli’s Eagle Trail (0.5 miles, foot travel only), connects to the Appalachian Trail in a 20 minute hike, traversing easy to moderate terrain.  Sections of the trail pass over rocks and boulders, so sturdy footwear is recommended. The 0.4 mile Silent Brook Trail, where mountain biking is also permitted, connects the Silent Brook  and Velvet Rocks neighborhoods. Generous donors, including the Hypertherm HOPE Foundation, pitched in with the funds needed to make this trail a reality.


Natural Resource Inventory & Management Plan

A natural resources inventory, completed in  2011, sheds light on the many remarkable features of this 113-acre property.  The inventory is the basis of a new management plan [full text] [summary] for the land, including possible new trails. Find our working list of Greensboro Ridge’s plants, birds, and other wildlife here. Please contact us to report a new species.

Fisher tracksResearch for our natural resources inventory of Greensboro Ridge revealed much winter wildlife activity.  Fisher are using the protected property, ranging across the ridge and over stream courses in their solitary, nocturnal hunt for food. 

The fisher (Martes pennanti),sometimes erroneously called a “fisher cat,” seldom eats fish, nor is it a cat. Its closest relative is the pine marten; cousins include mink, otter, and weasels. The lithe brown creatures were once common throughout New England, but declined due to over-trapping, logging, and habitat loss. Trapping regulations and natural reforestation of abandoned farms enabled the fisher to rebound throughout New Hampshire.

Fisher are solitary except during the mating season. Mating occurs in March and April with a litter of 1-6 (average 3) kits born nearly a year later. Females usually give birth in a tree cavity 20-30 feet off the ground.

Fisher regularly travel 10-20 miles in search of food, moving along ridges and crossing stream valleys. Secretive and nocturnal, the fisher is a skilled predator that plays an important role in regulating populations of smaller mammals. The only predator adapted for taking down porcupines, the fisher has a stomach capable of softening up the defensive spines. The fisher is known for launching sneak attacks from high above its unsuspecting dinner. Its ankle joints can rotate 180 degrees, allowing the animal to climb both up and headlong down a tree.