Upper Coos Rail Trail, NH

• 4-star trail
• 9.5 miles each way
• Medium difficulty | Easy elevation
• Colebrook NH - Beecher Falls VT | Great North Woods
• Driving Directions: Canaan, Colebrook

Man riding an ATV on Upper Coos Recreational Rail Trail.
ATV riders are frequent trail users in the North of the state.

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New Hampshire's northernmost rail trail is a scenic delight, particularly as its location on the edge of the Connecticut River basin affords wide and spectacular river scenes with a distant mountain backdrop. Stretching from Colebrook in New Hampshire to Beecher Falls across the river in Vermont over nine-and-a-half miles, the Upper Coos Recreational Rail Trail ends just a thousand feet from the Canadian border.

The trail is maintained by the New Hampshire State Parks Bureau of Trail and groomed for ATV traffic rather than bicycles, so we'd advise not trying to tackle the trail with anything less rugged than a hybrid bike. We were able to avoid most of the potholes on our heavy e-bike though we did shake out a waterbottle or two along the way. Also an unfortunate side effect of all the potholes was that we probably spent more time looking at the trail surface than enjoying all the scenery.

purple icon Rough, No Access, Parking Expand Map

purple icon Upper Coos Recreational Rail Trail 4★
9.5 miles each way, Medium, Gain 140ft (230ft S-N)
Trailspotting Map: AllTrails, GPX File

Aside from the excellent visuals, features along the route include a variety of farm buildings, Canaan's hydropower dam and the nearby steel railroad bridge. The bridge not only crosses the Connecticut River but also the New Hampshire - Vermont state line and the 45th parallel, although there are no signs to tell you any of this. The end of the line stops short of the Canadian border a few hundered feet from the US customs and border patrol station. Unless you've brought your passport with you we suggest turning around before getting too close to the border to avoid having to explain yourselves to officials.

The town of Colebrook has the best selection of restaurants, grocery stores and fast food near the trail. There is also the Spa Restaurant close to the north end of the trail in West Stewartston which is open during daytime hours.

Trail Conditions
Hardpack trail but potholed by frequent ATV use. Best recommended for gravel bikes and mountain bikes, but also possible for rugged hybrids too.

Sun poking through the trees late in the day. Silhouette of a distant hill. Fall colors on trees. Marshland water reflecting blue skies.
Wide and spectacular scenic views across the Connecticut River basin.

Large two-span steel truss bridge across the Connecticut River. Exposed surface is a rusty red.
Canaan Dam's Railroad Bridge crosses both stateline and 45th parallel.

Fishing at Canaan Dam
Fishing at Canaan Dam.

• External Links: NH State Parks, TrailLink, Public Map at AllTrails
• Facebook Group: Comment on this article

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