We really need to add a new category of park to describe Ahern: undeveloped. Finding the park in the first place was a challenge as there is virtually no signage and my DeLorme atlas has it in the wrong place. Google maps still shows it with its old name: Governor’s State Park, but locates it correctly. I drove past the entrance twice before finally seeing the “gallows sign” (I hate that term but it’s what the parks department calls them) showing the way to the park. There were none of the familiar brown road signs. Of course being hard to find keeps this park from being discovered, too, which can be a very good thing.
Once you find the entrance, a dirt road leads to the lake. Shortly before reaching it, the road splits. Most people turn left to get to the main beach area. I kept to the right, arriving at the mini-beach you see above. From there I walked along the shore of Lake Winnisquam back to the main beach, which, as I was visiting on a Monday, was virtually deserted, except for the two visitors pictured below.
Beyond the beach was a wide trail leading to the south. The trail continues along the lakeside, then turns inland, meeting up with the entrance road and essentially forming a loop around the perimeter of the park. The whole hike takes about a half hour and is mostly flat and easy, although there’s an official elevation gain of 100 feet. I quickly realized this loop is popular with dog-walkers and noticed that one of the most well-worn trails was the one leading into the park from the residential area to the south. It’s as if this park is one of the secret places that only locals know about.
It also seems popular with mountain bikers, with numerous trails crisscrossing the center of the main loop trail. There were none there today, which is understandable because although the weather was gorgeous, the mosquitos were out in force. They weren’t bad by the lake where there was a breeze but on the narrow bike trails they were much thicker.
I guess there was a pit toilet or two by the beaches but otherwise you’re on your own. I don’t recall there being any picnic tables but there must have been at least a few of them. All in all, you’ll just have to go with the description “undeveloped”.