Off-road trails can offer you a quiet ride without the worry of traffic. Listed below are some of our favorites.
Cotton Valley Rail Trail
This 12-mile gravel trail includes a visit to the charming lakeside village of Wolfeboro, where there are plenty of restaurants, coffee and ice cream shops to choose from. You can a swim in pristine Wentworth Lake.
Trail end points: Meadow St. between Forest St. and High St. (Wakefield) and Railroad Ave. just north of Depot St. (Wolfeboro).
A 29-mile long rail trail takes you through Cumberland and York counties. During the month of June, you can find lady’s slippers on the section through Scarborough March. There are places to eat in Biddeford. The surfaces variously include asphalt, crushed stone, and sand.
Trail end points: Warrens Way and SR 35 (Kennebunk) to W. Cole Rd near SR 111 (Biddeford) and Gary L. Maietta Way to
Bug Light Park at Madison St (South Portland).
For more information, click here.
Farmington Recreational Rail Trail
The Farmington Recreational Rail Trail runs for 6 miles between the towns of Rochester and Farmington. The trail parallels the Cocheco River and State Route 11 and passes through a wooded corridor.
Parking and trail access: In Farmington, park near the old Davidson Rubber Plant off SR 11. In Rochester, access the trail at Chestnut Hill Road and SR 125.
New Hampshire Greenway
There is a lot of excitement about a new rail trail here here on the Seacoast. When completed the New Hampshire Seacoast Greenway will run from Seabrook to Portsmouth. The trail is a part of the East Coast Greenway network that will one day run from Florida to Maine.
To our South the NH Greenway will connect to trails in MA that are being built by the Coastal Trails Coalition and to our North the Eastern Trail.
The State of New Hampshire recently purchased the last section of this proposed trail. The Seabrook to Hampton Falls section is in the Ten Year DOT plan, but no firm date has been set for construction. Engineering and Design has begun on the stretch from Hampton to Portsmouth. Construction is estimated to occur on this section in 2021 or 2022. When finished the rail trail will be surfaced with compacted stone dust.
Currently large parts of the proposed trail can be ridden on as tracks and ties have been pulled up. In most places the trail is double track with frequent ruts and some sections will need to be walked due to potholes or downed trees. Some riders will be comfortable with a mountain bike, others a gravel/adventure bike.
You’ll want to avoid the stretch from just South of Breakfast Hill road to under Route 1 where polluted water from the Coakley Landfill runs onto the trail. Someday this will all be smooth rail trail, today it’s an adventure ride.
Parking: There is no official parking as of yet. Best bet is to ride to the trail.
Northern Rail Trail
Connection Lebanon and Bowcawen, this 48- mile trail is an all-time favorite. The scenery is fabulous as it meanders through farmlands, lakes, and quaint towns. Mascoma Lake, the restored Enfield Depot, Potter Place Depot, Highland Lake and the covered bridge at Bridge Road are must see parts of the trail.
- Lebanon: Spencer Street
- Andover: Rt. 4, Potter Place
- East Andover: Highland Lake Inn Trailhead Boscawen: Gerrish Depot off Rt. 3
Presidential Rail Trail
Well worth the drive, this 18 mile trail provides fabulous views of the White Mountains. It goes through the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge (a great spot to view the Presidential Range) and passes by the Israel and Moose rivers.
End points are Cherry Pond near Whitefield at Cherry Pond, a birdwatchers paradise, and Gorham. Check out White Mountain Café & Bookstore for a treat.
Parking Areas: Parking is available at Hazen Rd in Whitefield, Rt. 2 in Randolph at the Castle Trailhead, Rt.2 in Gorham just past Jimtown Rd.
Rockingham Recreational Rail Trail (Portsmouth branch)
This local gem runs for 28 miles from Newfields to Manchester. This rustic trail is rich in railroad structures and goes through hardwood forests and near standing water bodies and bogs. The railbed rises above the forest floor at points, while other stretches thread through high- walled cuts blasted through granite.
Nearby Newmarket offers a variety of coffee shops and restaurants.
Parking: While a small parking lot is located at the western end of the trail, the best place to park is at Massabesic Lake, which has ample parking.
Newfields trailhead: off Ash Swamp Road (just before Ash Swamp Road makes a sharp turn near Sculptured Cut and Rockingham Ballroom).
For more information, [click here.]
Rockingham Recreational Rail Trail – Fremont Branch
This 18 mile multi-use trail is one of the most popular rail trails in Southern NH. It begins at Depot Road in Windham and ends just before Route 125 in Epping. Summer OHRV use is only from Route 28 in Derry to Route 107 in Fremont. The trail is easily accessible and passes through beautiful wetlands and quiet forest. The trail is anchored by two renovated historic Depots; one in Sandown and one in Windham. There is an additional Depot in Fremont on Route 107.
For more information, click here. Parking Areas
Fremont: Parking is also available in Fremont, at the ballpark, off Route 107 (near intersection of Routes 107 & 111A). Across from the old Depot & Library.
Derry: Take Route 28 to Island Pond Road, left onto Warner Hill Road; parking is on the north side of the trail.