Dover Community Rail Trail, NH

• 4-star trail
• 4.2 miles each way
• Easy difficulty | Easy elevation
• Dover, NH | Seacoast Region
• Driving Directions: Marked on map

Cycling through the Silver Street tunnel, in Southern Dover NH.

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The former Portsmouth & Dover branch railroad that is now the Dover Community Rail Trail has a distinctly split personality, both of which are fun to explore particularly if you know what to expect.

The mile long paved urban section of the trail begins in Dover by the active railroad station and large parking lot, heading South and linking up with public greenways along the Cochecho and Bellamy rivers. Features include a steel truss bridge, a tunnel under Silver Street and smooth asphalt all the way to the end of the trail where the railroad route has been replaced by the multi-lane Spaulding Turnpike. There are several pedestrian access points to the trail, but those arriving by car will likely want to park in the cheap station lot. There are also three free parking spaces by the trailhead that are limited to two hours - shame it's not three hours however, which would be plenty of time to explore the extents of the full trail.

Asphalt, Hardpack, Road, Live Rail, No Access, Parking Expand Map

Dover Community Rail Trail 4★
4.2 mi each way, Easy, Gain 130ft (170ft S-N)
Trailspotting Map: AllTrails, GPX File

The 2.7 mile section of trail North of Dover connects via half a mile of relatively quiet road biking. Heading out of town, the trail begins with a short asphalt paved hill down to the river, but that quickly yields to a natural grassy and hard-packed surface. We had few problems tackling this on our small hybrid bikes, but we probably wouldn't bring our road bikes here. The North section appeared to be mostly popular with hikers, dog walkers and an occasional rugged stroller that started their journeys from the Northern parking lot at Watson Road.

Following the meandering banks of the Cochecho River this section of the Dover Community Rail Trail remains within woodland throughout, except for an occasional abutting ballpark or office parking lot. River views can be had through the trees, and there are occasional trails down to the banks to get a closer look. We found people fly fishing the shallow waters at the Northern end of the trail, below the roar of small hydroelectric dam.

Riding one of two steel truss railroad bridges over the Cocheco River.

Once we were finished with our trail explorations we only had to venture a couple of blocks to reach Dover's thriving downtown area along Central Avenue with shops, restaurants and the large brick Cocheco Mills straddling over the river by Fish Ladder Park.

Trail Conditions
Dover South is 1 mile of smooth asphalt with minor gradient. Connects to Dover North via 0.5 miles of road biking. Dover North is 2.7 miles of mostly natural hardpack surface of minor gradient, but with some stones and an occasional wet sandy patch.

Natural hard-pack surface on the North section of trail.

Fly fishing on the Northern reaches of the Dover Community Trail.

Cocheco Mills straddling the river by Fish Ladder Park.

• External Links: Official
• Other Maps: TrailLink, Public Map at AllTrails
• Facebook Group: Comment on this article

Nearby Trails:
• 7 miles away: Rochester & Farmington RTs (3★, 9.1 miles)
• Show on map: All nearby rail trails

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