Lots of nature and a little history
The Murdough Hill Meander Trail is an easy to moderate, 1.5 mile loop that treats the hiker to an early 19th century mill site, a wetland bordering Otter Brook with several species of river mammals, numerous water birds and quite a variety of wild flowers. Hikers get a glimpse of the Nelson School and the Munsonville Cemetery across the brook. At the right time of day, the sounds of children at play adds to the hiking experience. There is parking for about four cars just off Granite Lake Road part way between the center of Munsonville and the Nelson School.
The trail begins on Granite Lake Road where the outlet of Granite Lake flows into the wetlands. Almost immediately it crosses Otter Brook and enters the ruins of the mill, constructed in about 1795 by Asa Stone. Stone’s mill served as both a saw and a gristmill and you can see the broken remains of one of the granite millstones used in the milling process. The mill operated for about one hundred years ending its run as a furniture shop operated by Frederick Taylor. A second bridge crosses the old mill raceway and enters a hemlock/spruce forest that borders Otter Brook and an extensive wetland.
Here the trail splits and circles back to this spot. Following the yellow blazes along the brook in this area, the hiker can observe various waterfowl including great blue herons, hooded mergansers, and belted kingfishers. There are often active beaver dams and evidence of otter are often seen. After about 0.6 miles the trail passes through a thick spruce forest and past a verdant sphagnum moss swamp. A small bridge traverses a particularly wet area in the swamp and the trail turns left and uphill through mature spruce and into an upland hardwood forest. After another 0.7 miles the trail rejoins itself near the mill site.