COTTON VALLEY RAIL TRAIL:
WOLFEBORO-BROOKFIELD-WAKEFIELD, NEW HAMPSHIRE
-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-
Last Updated: July 15, 2020
Length: Cotton Valley Rail Trail; 12.2 miles
Difficulty: Easy. Flat crushed gravel rail trail. Some sections are narrow as they run in between the RR tracks.
To Start from Wolfeboro (Western End); From the junction of Routes 28 & 109 in Wolfeboro travel west on Route 109 to Railroad Ave on your right in town. Follow Railroad Ave to multiple parking spots. The trailhead starts next to the old Wolfeboro Depot.
To Start from Wakefield (Eastern End) ; From the junction of Routes 109 & 153 in Wakefield head west on Route 109. Just past the RR tracks on your right is the Meadow Street parking lot.
The Cotton Valley Rail Trail follows the old rail bed of the Eastern Railroad which opened a branch line from Sanbornville to Wolfeboro in 1872 to transport freight and passengers to Lake Winnipesaukee. The Boston and Maine Railroad (B&M) purchased the line in 1892 and ran it until 1936. In 1972, a group of investors, The Wolfeboro Railroad, bought the line and attempted to restore freight and passenger service. While freight service never took off, the train ran successfully as a tourist attraction until it finally closed in 1986 after which the State of NH acquired the corridor. In 1992 the Cotton Valley Rail Trail Club received state permission to use the tracks. These railroad hobbyists use the line for their motorized railcars between Wolfeboro and Wakefield. This use made it necessary to build a trail adjacent to the tracks except where environmentally impractical. For more information visit; COTTON VALLEY RAIL TRAIL .
Starting from Wolfeboro (Western End); The trail starts from the old Wolfeboro Train Station, restrooms and info. Plenty of places to eat here. Very quaint. Map board at the trailhead. Informational signs along the trail. The trail starts out as wide crushed gravel, crossing Railroad Ave and passing by more parking and sports fields. Along your left is Back Bay. Travel through a rock cut then across a bridge next to a power dam (Sperry Mill) before crossing Route 28 in Wolfeboro Falls after 0.5 miles. Map board. Here the trail follows alongside the old RR tracks and is not as wide. After traveling through a large rock cut come to the Mast Landing parking lot at 0.8 miles. Here the trail travels in between the RR tracks. Caution narrow. Cross a causeway over Crescent Lake passing by an old RR MILE MARKER S11/W1 (Sanbornville 11 miles/Wolfeboro 1 mile) at 1 mile before crossing Whitten Neck Rd. These old RR Mile Markers were located every mile along the RR line. Trail again travels alongside the RR tracks before you cross another causeway where the trail runs in between the tracks at 1.4 miles. To your left is Fernalds Basin and your right is Lake Wentworth. The trail returns alongside the RR tracks. At 1.8 miles you veer right off the old rail bed and wind through the woods past Albee Beach parking lot, Porto-potty. You cross Albee Beach Rd and return to the rail bed. Pass by old RR MILE MARKER S10/W2 at 2.2 miles. This was as far as I traveled. A few small road crossings before you cross a bridge over Fernald Brook and come to Route 109 at 3.3 miles. Here you'll find the old Fernald Depot and Cotton Valley Rail Trail Club along with a parking lot and Map board. You then cross Wiley Brook before entering a long wooded section with another crossing over Clay Pit Brook before crossing Bryant Rd at 5.2 miles. Cross Cotton Valley Road (parking area & Map board) at 6.3 miles and follow a causeway through a marsh. Deep woods and several more causeways through marshlands before crossing Pike Brook and coming to Clark Road parking lot at about 10.4 miles. Come to the Route 16 parking lot and Map board at 11.5 miles. Caution crossing, busy road. Come alongside an active RR line before coming to Turntable Park and the old B&M RR Turntable after about 12.2 miles and the end of the trail in Wakefield. Map board, Porto-potty. Turntable Park parking lot.
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