Follow for new reviews:

Hillsborough Rail Trail NH

• 4-star trail
• 7.4 mile each way
• Medium difficulty | Easy elevation
• Hillsborough - Bennington, NH | Monadnock Region
• Driving Directions: Marked on map

Only this brief section of rail track remains on the trail.

Trailspotting Rail Trail Map
NH's first complete rail trail map. With links to our reviews, photos & detailed route maps.

Take a bike ride through the New Hampshire forest between the towns of Hillsborough and Bennington, and you’ll enjoy a shaded route along the former Contoocook Valley Railway as it traces its way along the banks of the river.

Much of your journey will be under woodland canopy, past ponds and other wetlands, with peek-a-boo views of the wider scenery available at some road crossings, and alongside the length of the local airfield runway.

Unpaved for its full length, thankfully the grade of the railroad bed remains sufficiently elevated to avoid flooding in almost all circumstances. However there are a couple of sandy sections that make cycling difficult – including one along the airfield. I was able to power through them, though some may prefer to walk their bike through these areas.

Rough, Access, Historic. Expand Map

Hillsborough Rail Trail 4★
7.4 mi each way, Medium, Elevation nominal.
Trailspotting Map: AllTrails
Trailspotting Map: GPX Download
Trailspotting Map: Google Earth KMZ

When starting from the North, parking is readily available at the beginning of the trail. We’ve also mapped out more of the former railroad route in case you’d like to explore some more of the trail heading into Hillsborough. We were able to cycle a little more of the route along West Mill Street, and we picked up the dilapidated former station in the middle of town.

The Southern end of this ride terminates at a very active paper mill and a gated-off trestle bridge that crosses road and river to the Southern bank. There’s a short access route between the trail end and Antrim Road that we’ve marked on the map, should you want to explore more of the river, mill and trestle bridge. Some parking is available nearby if you’d prefer to start your journey at the Southern end of the rail trail.

Should you want to pick up the rail route further South, consider either Bruce Edes Memorial Park on the other end of the trestle bridge, for a short hike. Or drive down the US-202 and pick up the Peterborough Rail Trail just three miles away.

Trail Conditions: Hardpack surface good for more rugged cycles. Possibly walk the short sandy section near the airfield. Mostly flat in both directions.

A raging Contoocook River under the trestle bridge

Hillsborough passenger railroad depot has seen better days.

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

Nearby Trails:
• Show on map: All nearby trails

New Hampshire State Parks
Support your New Hampshire State Parks, a self-funded organization managing trails like these without NH tax dollars.

Our Bicycles
We get questions about the folding bikes that we commonly ride. Check out this article for more information about the self-propelled and electric bikes that we regularly use on the rail trails.
Follow for new reviews:

More Trailspottng:
Hiking · Rail Trails · Fire Towers · Covered Bridges · Gear · California · Hawaii · New Hampshire · Massachusetts · Southwest US · Vermont

All content copyright © 2005-2023 Stuart Green. All rights reserved. Presented free of advertising. Information on this site is provided without warranty. Users are responsible for their own actions and for validating all information.