NASHUA HERITAGE RAIL TRAIL:

MINE FALLS PARK TRAILS:

NASHUA, NEW HAMPSHIRE

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:       June 26, 2011

Length:                 Nashua Heritage Rail Trail; 1.4 miles

                              Mine Falls Park Trails:    Green Loop Trail (hard packed dirt); 2 1/4 miles

                                                                          Lower Blue Loop Trail (hard packed dirt); 2.6 miles

                                                                          Red & Yellow Trail (paved); 1.2 miles 

                               Mine Falls Park Loop Trail including Nashua Heritage Rail Trail; 8.6 miles

Difficulty:             Nashua Heritage Rail Trail; Easy. Flat paved rail trail. 

                              Mine Falls Park Loop Trail; Easy. Flat paved & hard packed dirt trails.

Directions:     

To Start from Mine Falls Park-Stadium Rd parking lot; From Route 3 (Everett Turnpike) in Nashua take exit 5W to Route 111 (W Hollis St) west for 0.3 miles. Turn right on Riverside Dr, then left on Stadium Rd. When you come to the stadium turn right and either park in the small  parking lot or continue straight another 0.2 miles to the Millhouse Pond & Gatehouse parking lot.    

For the Nashua Heritage Rail Trail; From Route 3 (Everett Turnpike) in Nashua take exit 5E to Route 111 (W Hollis St) east to Main St. City Hall and the start of the trail is on your left. There is a metered parking lot behind City Hall or utilize on-street parking. 

The Nashua Heritage Rail Trail is built along former Hollis Branch of the Boston & Maine Railroad. It started  life out in 1848 as the Worcester & Nashua Railroad running between the two cities. In 1874, an extension was opened up to Portland, Maine. In 1982, the last freight train ran the rails and today the only section still operating is between Worcester and Ayer. Another section of this rail trail runs from NH south to Ayer, MA. See; Nashua River Rail Trail . You can also connect to the trails in Mine Falls Park via a short on-road connection. Mine Falls Park; In the early 1800s the potential of the Nashua River to drive the wheels of industry was recognized. Workers used shovels and mules to dig the three-mile long canal, which provides a vertical drop of 36 feet at the mills. The Gatehouse near the falls was built in 1886—with the first gates being built in 1826—and it still brings the river to the Millpond. For more information visit; MINE FALLS PARK . I've combined the two trails together to create an 8.6 mile loop. 

Starting from the Millhouse Pond & Gatehouse parking lot; A map board and picnic tables are located here. Travel past the red-white & green gate onto the Green Trail.

Note; Colored squares attached to trees and poles designate the trail your following and contain a numbered sequence that corresponds to the map so you can always locate your position.

You come to an intersection, G48 and continue straight along the canal on a wide, hard packed dirt trail through the woods. You'll cross over a couple of sluiceway's (water overflows) and along a berm. The canal narrows. After 3/4 miles you come to intersection G80. 

Note; Right over the canal leads to the Red Trail

Continue straight along the Green Trail and come to intersection G1 at 1.1 miles. 

Note; Left loops back to the parking lot along the Green Trail

Continue straight underneath Route 3 along the Blue Trail, which is also hard packed dirt. Bear right at the sharp curve. Left is the Upper Blue Trail which is more of a hiking trail. Come to the American flag pole at 1.3 miles. 

Note; Left is the Soifert Playing Fields and right leads over the canal to the Yellow Trail and the Whipple Street Entrance

Continue straight along the Blue Trail. Soon you'll come alongside the Nashua River on your left and then travel past Oxbow Lake Cove on your right. This brings you past a map board and gate and up an old paved road to the Millyard, which got its power from the canal. Turn right at the top of the small hill and follow the road past the buildings. Head past another gate at 2.4 miles along the hard packed Blue Trail following alongside the canal again and back towards the start. You'll pass by two overlooks of the Cove before coming to intersection B67 at 2.9 miles.

Note; Left over the canal leads to the paved Yellow Trail & 7th Ave Entrance.

Continue straight along the Blue Trail and you'll return to the flag pole at 3.5 miles. Turn left and head over the canal to the Yellow Trail. Turn left again and follow the paved Yellow Trail along the opposite side of the canal. This trail is narrow and has some root issues. Pass by a bench shelter and another bridge over to the Blue Trail before the trail pulls away from the canal. Travel past the gate at 4.3 miles and leave the park behind. A short on-road section (low traffic) will bring you to the Nashua Heritage Rail Trail. Just follow the yellow footprints painted on the sidewalk to your left up 7th Ave, past the ball fields and across Ledge St to join the rail trail after only a 1/4 mile. Turn left and follow the paved rail trail to it's start at Main St & W Hollis St after 0.8 miles. Then travel back along the full length of the rail trail. See; Nashua Heritage Rail Trail.***

NASHUA HERITAGE RAIL TRAIL:

Starting from City Hall at Main St & W Hollis St; The trail travels west from Main St starting as a sidewalk past the Veterans Memorials. After crossing Elm St follow the now wide paved trail as it parallels W Hollis St. Check out all the murals. A multitude of residential street crossings along this first section. Pass by a skate park at 0.3 miles and then across Pine St. This section of  trail now has only a couple of street crossings and is less urban and more wild. Cross Eaton St via an old RR bridge and you'll come to 7th Ave & Groton St at 0.8 miles.***

Note; You can access the trails of Mine Falls Park via a 1/4 mile on-road (low traffic) detour by heading right along 7th Ave and following the yellow footprints painted along the way.

Continuing along the rail trail, you'll pass a side trail to Dunkin Donuts before passing by a map board and coming to Will St at 1.3 miles. Continue left along the paved trail to reach Simon St at 1.4 miles and the end of the rail trail. 

Note; An 0.6 mile on-road detour will bring you back to Mine Falls Park from here.

 

Continuing the combined Mine Falls Park & Nashua Heritage Rail Trail Loop; Your total miles up to this point are 6 3/4 miles. Turn left and travel on-road (low traffic) along Simon St (sidewalk available). Once you pass Ledge St you'll have a wide shoulder along the road to use. Turn left on Whipple St and follow the wide shoulder to the Whipple Street Entrance after 7.3 miles. Travel past the gate and map board to the paved Yellow Trail

Note; Straight over the canal leads to the American flag pole and Blue Trail.

Turn left and follow the Yellow Trail along the canal (a bit rough). After passing underneath Route 3 you'll be on the Red Trail. Nashua HS South on the left. When you reach the next bridge over the canal take it, as the Red Trail turns into a hiking trail. This will bring you to the inner Green Trail. Continue straight along the paved trail which will bring you to the Outer Green Trail at 8.1 miles. 

Note; Straight along the paved trail brings you to the Coliseum Ave parking lot accessed via a bridge over the Nashua River

Turn left along the wide hard packed Green Trail (G21) and head for home. Cross a scenic brook before a slight uphill climb. Come to intersection G48 and turn right. This will return you to the Millhouse Pond & Gatehouse parking lot after 8.6 miles.    

  

HH

CLICK HERE FOR HERITAGE RAIL TRAIL MAP

CLICK HERE FOR MINE FALLS PARK MAP

CLICK HERE FOR COMBINED TRAILS MAP

 

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