OLD RAILWAY TRAIL:

PETERBOROUGH, NEW HAMPSHIRE

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:       September 14, 2011

Length:                 Old Railway Trail South Section; 0.6 miles

                              Old Railway Trail Center Section; 2.9 miles

                              Old Railway Trail North Section; 3 miles?

Difficulty:             Old Railway Trail South Section; Easy. Flat paved rail trail. 

                              Old Railway Trail Center Section; Easy. Flat paved & hard packed dirt & gravel rail trail. 

                              Old Railway Trail North Section; Easy to Moderate. Flat hard packed dirt rail trail. Less developed. 

Directions:     

From Jaffrey; Travel north on Route 202. Just before you reach Peterborough you'll come to the start of the South Section from the Noone Falls parking lot on your right.

Continue north on Route 202 through Peterborough to Routes 123 & 202 north. Turn left on Main St over the river, then right on Summer St and travel north. The parking lot for the start of the Center Section will be on your right. 

Continue north on Route 202 through Peterborough to Routes 123 & 202 north. Just a ways past the two high schools turn right on Scott Mitchell Rd. Just past the entrance to the recycling center will be the Scott Mitchell Rd parking area on your right for the North Section.

The Old Railway Trail follows the rail bed of the old Monadnock Branch Railroad. This was one of many extension line railroads built to help expand the Fitchburg Railroad/Vermont & Massachusetts Railroad into New Hampshire. This line was to serve the New Hampshire towns on the eastern side of Mount Monadnock, mainly Jaffrey and Peterborough. The Monadnock finally opened from Winchendon to Jaffrey, New Hampshire in December 1870 and then to Peterborough by late spring 1871, from which the Peterborough & Hillsborough Railroad could take traffic further north to Concord. Another section of this rail trail exist south in Jaffrey & Rindge. See; Monadnock Branch Rail Trail . For more information visit; RAILS TO TRAILS .

South Section: Starting from Noone Falls parking lot; Travel north along the paved trail as it heads into the woods next to Route 202. The trail parallels Route 202 above to your left and the Contoocook River down along your right. The pavement is getting old and cracked but still fairly smooth. The river pulls away and you soon come to Grove St, next to Route 202 at 0.6 miles where the trail ends.

Center & North Sections: Starting from the Summer St parking lot; This is the start of the Center Section.

Note; Heading right (south) the paved trail only travels 0.2 miles before ending at Summer St. A sidewalk along Summer St will take you to Main St and scenic Peterborough.

Heading left (north) on the paved trail and alongside the Contoocook River you quickly come a bike lane alongside summer St before the trail heads into the woods at 0.2 miles. You lose the river, but not the wetlands associated with it. A crosswalk over Hunt Rd brings you to a 0.2 mile on-road section along Tarbell Rd (residential). This brings you to Nichols Lane at 1 mile where you continue straight past the gate and utilize the paved service Rd (closed to traffic). The Service Rd ends at 1.3 miles and the paved trail resumes heading into deep woods. A straight shot through a tall Hemlock stand. When you reach a roundabout for Prescott Hill & Southfield Lane roads at 1.8 miles follow it left to rejoin the now hard packed gravel trail into the woods. Come alongside Route 202 at 2 1/4  miles and follow the narrow paved trail as it parallels then travels underneath Route 202. Caution; poor drainage leads to some deep water through the tunnel. 

Note; A dirt trail on your left just before the tunnel leads to a parking lot just off Route 202 and directly opposite Scott Mitchell Rd.

After emerging from the tunnel the trail becomes hard packed dirt & gravel at 2.5 miles. The trail parallels Scott Mitchell Rd, crosses the entrance for the Recycling Center and comes to a sign on your right at 2.7 miles. A dirt path on your left leads to the Scott Mitchell Rd parking area.

From the Scott Mitchell Rd parking area the hard packed dirt trail continues along the North Section into deep woods. Come alongside the Contoocook River briefly at 3.1 miles and then again at 3.7 miles. Open fields on your left. The trail gets rougher beyond here, with more tree roots to contend with. Cross over Cavender Rd (dirt) and along a driveway before rejoining the rail trail. Come to a culvert for the Ferguson Brook at 4.2 miles. This is as far as I went. I believe you can follow the old rail trail out to Forest Rd?

HH

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