Harrisville Rail Trail


• 4-star trail
• 2.8 miles each way
• Medium difficulty | Elevation gain nominal
• Monadnock | Harrisville NH & Hancock NH
Google Map | KML | Directions (E) | Directions (W)


Jaquith Brook footbridge, connecting trails with a repurposed 100 year old steel truss.

Bringing former railroad routes back to life is a series of small victories, won thanks to the considerable efforts by towns, cities, other organizations and many volunteers. Reviving these trails on a piecemeal basis is often by necessity, so a linking of trails is a great cause for celebration.

The small town of Harrisville, NH scored a big victory in 2018 with the construction of a bridge spanning the Jaquith Brook gully, providing a continuous route incorporating both the Eastview Trail and Jaquith Trail. Surprisingly, this was achieved with a donated a hundred year-old steel truss bridge salvaged from a previous location.

At 2.75 miles in length, the Harrisville Rail Trail is only a fraction of the 1878 Manchester and Keene Railroad’s original length, yet it offers a variety of sights and spans some diverse landscape. Our map, in addition to showing the trail, also traces the route of the rest of the abandoned railroad. We hope that one day more of this great railroad alignment can be reclaimed for modern trail use. Should you wish to bike this trail in full as an out-and-back route, we’d suggest starting on the East side at Jacquith Road where you’ll find a large parking area. Though elevation gain on this trail is modest at around 250 feet, most of the grade’s incline is in the Westbound direction, so we prefer to tackle this first.


This season's fashions mainly include orange, for "don't shoot me" reasons.

The East end of the Jacquith trail has the hardest terrain to cover – an elevated embankment scattered with trees, roots, and with a number of railroad ties still in place. We found it best to walk short sections of this area that got a little too bumpy when going uphill on our hybrid bicycles. If this worries you, then begin at the West end and turn around if at any point you're not comfortable with the terrain.

The trail widens and smooths out after the Jaquith Brook footbridge, thanks to the compacted gravel surfacing. We visited in fall and a blanket of leaves created no problems for us, but one location on the Eastview Trail passes directly through a marshy area with water almost level with the trail, so expect flooding and mud to be a problem during wetter times of the year.

By Hancock Road at the West end of this trail, consider visiting the PJ Memorial Dam and Lake Skatutakee which adds less than half a mile to a round-trip route. The views from the lake offer a pleasant place to stop for lunch, or to take a brief respite before the return leg of the journey.


PJ Memorial Dam on the Nubanusit Brook.


North Pond, next to Lake Skatutakee.


Google Map | KML | Directions (E) | Directions (W)

Tangents:
• Trail Links: Official site | AllTrails
• Nearby (7 miles): Peterborough Rail Trail
• Nearby (9 miles): Hillsborough Rail Trail
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