If you’re like me and the idea of biking in the woods sounds amazing, but biking over a root or rock does not, then rail trail and recreation biking might be for you. Or you might already tackle the rugged terrain of mountain bike paths with ease but want a longer ride. Rail trails are perfect, originally used for long distance travel anyway.
These types of trails are often flat and a great place to take kids to learn to ride a bike. Many only allow foot traffic, horses, or bikes in the summer. Some are even paved, for the smoothest riding experience.
If you want a longer ride, combine the Mascoma Greenway and Northern Rail Trail or Booby Woodman Trail and Sugar River Trail. Or drive a bit and tackle the Franconia Notch Recreation trail. There are other great trails in NH and VT, but I’ll save those for another day.
Northern Rail Trail. Lebanon, NH. This trail is quite long (over 50 miles) and spans multiple towns. There are beautiful views of rivers, brooks, and lakes as you ride. Start at the CCBA in Lebanon in the lower parking lot behind the town hall off the green.
Mascoma Greenway. Lebanon, NH. Right in the heart of Lebanon. This paved trail is 2.5 miles and great for the kiddos learning to bike. There’s a new parking lot to access the trail past APD and the I89 underpass on Mascoma St.
Sugar River Recreation Trail. Claremont, NH. A beautiful trail along the Connecticut River. This gravel, sand and ballast trail is a local ATV favorite. This 9.5 mile trail runs to Newport and spans multiple covered bridges. There are sandy spots, which makes riding difficult.
Bobby Woodman Trail. Claremont, NH. This short trail (almost 2 miles) crosses the river and spans from Washington Street to Pleasant St. It is a dirt trail.
Tooner Trail. Springfield, VT. This paved trail runs along the river. Start by the interstate just after the bridge that crosses into VT from NH, or start at the manufacturing area parking lot and ride down to the bridge by the old school house for a really short ride that’s great for kiddos.
Franconia Notch Recreation Trail. Franconia, NH. Okay, I know it’s an hour and a half away, but this bike path is my all time favorite trail! Nine miles (almost) of paved beauty in the heart of the White Mountains. Chug up hills and coast down the other side. A nice workout you’ll feel great about. Stop and have a picnic along the way or rest and admire the natural scenic attractions along the way like the Basin.