Hillsborough Rail Trail

• 4-star trail
• 7.5 mile each way
• Medium difficulty | Elevation gain nominal
• Monadnock | Hillsborough NH to Bennington NH
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Only this brief section of rail track survives.

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.

A raging Contoocook River under the trestle bridge

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.

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 Hillsborough railroad depot has seen better days.

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.

Rail Trail Links:
South - Peterborough Rail Trail

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