Monday, February 15, 2010

Northern Rail Trail

One of my favorite trails in New Hampshire is the Northern Rail Trail. It starts in Lebanon, NH and follows the Mascoma River through Grafton County to Danbury at the Merrimack County line. Some of the bridge crossings are absolutely gorgeous.
I was there in early October and the fall foliage was just barely starting to change colors. It gave me just a hint of how spectacular it must be in its full autumn apparel. I have got to make it back to New England during the fall leaf show.
The weather was perfect for biking when I rode the Northern Rail Trail. As a result, there were quite a few trail users inside the town of Lebanon. Keep in mind, when I say "quite a few" it was still far from being crowded. It was mostly families out for a morning stroll.
However, once I got outside of town, the trail population dwindled radically until I pretty much had the path to myself within a couple miles of town.
Besides the pretty bridge crossings, some of the highlights of the trail included verdant greenery (a bit redundant), interesting history, and lovely towns. One of my favorite towns was Enfield. It had New England style and good places to eat. Another nice town was the Canaan town center with a depot and freight house that was reminiscent of the old railroading days along the route of the Northern.
If you decide to ride the Northern Rail Trail sometime, you should be able to find lodging in Lebanon. I saw a number of hotels and bed & breakfasts. Someday, the trail is scheduled to run all the way to Concord. When that happens it would be perfect to spend the night in Lebanon, ride the length of the trail, spend a night in Concord, then head back to Lebanon.
I would recommend this trail anytime from mid-April to mid-October. Of course mid-October would be best for viewing the fall colors along the trail.
Northern Rail Trail information, trail map, & trail photos available at


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