South Manchester Rail Trail, NH

• 4-star trail
• 1.9 miles each way
• Easy difficulty | Easy elevation
• Manchester, NH | Merrimack Region
• Driving Directions: Precourt Park

Recently restored Cohas Brook Trestle Bridge
Recently restored Cohas Brook Trestle Bridge. (Before)

New Hampshire's first complete rail trail map
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Once the powerhouse of the Northern New England states and still the largest city, Manchester grew up around the many textile textile mills constructed below Merrimack River’s Amoskeag Falls. Railroad routes eventually sprung up in all directions with Manchester at the center, though only one live route remains today.

The South Manchester Trail is a recently extended route constructed atop an abandoned Boston & Maine Railroad alignment. Though previously only one paved mile was available - alongside Nutts Pond and through a residential neighborhood, the new for 2024 extension doubles its length with a new asphalt paved trail from Gold Street to the outer perimeter of Manchester Airport.

green icon Asphalt, purple icon Rough, black icon Live Rail, No Access, Parking Expand Map

green icon South Manchester Rail Trail 3★
1.6 mi ea way, Easy, Elevation nominal.
Trailspotting Map: AllTrails, GPX File

The Cohas Brook Trestle Bridge is the jewel of this short trail. Previously hidden away in a forgotten and overgrown part of the town, the revitalized bridge has also been accompanied by landscaping work to provide a picturesque setting. We've included a link to 'before' photograph to illustrate the hard work that was required to reopen this stretch of railroad alignment as a new rail trail.

Parking lots are limited near the rail trail, but we have identified a large lot at the Precourt Park sports fields next to Nutts Pond. Street parking is also available in abutting neighborhoods, but please park in a way that is respectful to local residents.

New asphalt extension close to the airport.
New asphalt extension close to the airport. (Before)

North of Beech Street we have identified the trail as rough, but in reality it's an undeveloped, trash-strewn path that is frequently overgrown and approaching Elm Street is also a muddy mess. This section is not something we'd recommend at this time, but we hope that a future further trail extension comes to pass and will provide an important link to Manchester and to other nearby rail trails like the Piscataquog-Goffstown Rail Trails and Rockingham Recreational Rail Trail.

There are also plans to create a new bicycle trail link around the perimeter of the airport that links to the Londonderry Rail Trail. We have identified the start of these neighboring rail trails on our map if you're interested in exploring them.

Trail Conditions
1.9 miles of smooth asphalt heading north from airport. North of S Beech St is very rough and not recommended.

Fishing on the banks of Manchester's Nutt Pond.
Fishing on the banks of Manchester's Nutt Pond.

One of several highway crossings south of Gold Street.
One of several highway crossings south of Gold Street.

• External Links: Public Map at AllTrails
• Facebook Group: Comment on this article

Nearby Trails:
• 1.5 miles away: Piscataquog-Goffstown RTs (8 mi)
• 2 miles away: Rockingham to Portsmouth RT (28 mi)
• 2.5 miles away: Londonderry-Derry-Windham-Salem-Methuen RTs (21 mi)
• Show on map: All nearby rail trails

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