Henniker & Hopkinton Rail Trails NH

• 3-star trails
• 6.3 miles each way (over 3 trails)
• Medium difficulty | Easy elevation
• Henniker - Hopkinton, NH | Merrimack Region
• Driving Directions: Marked on map

On the West Hopkinton Rail Trail, alonside the Contoocook River

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Beyond the more well-known rail trails of New Hampshire there are still more railbeds and relics of the golden age of rail to be discovered. We're exploring the gaps between established trails to find other routes that are rideble, often thanks to hard work of volunteer trail crews who maintain them as snowmobile routes.

In this article we map and describe three rail trail opportunities around the towns of Henniker and Hopkinton. We also show them on Trailspotting's complete Rail Trail Map of New Hampshire in context of the former railroad network, and provide some connecting trails where possible.

Hardpack, Rough, Road, No Access, Parking Expand Map

Henniker Rail Trail 3★
2.3 mi ea way, Medium, Elevation nominal.
Trailspotting Map: AllTrails
Trailspotting Map: GPX Download
Trailspotting Map: Google Earth KMZ

The most obvious evidence of Henniker's rail heritage is the old passenger station South of town on Depot Hill Road, now converted into college alumni offices. To the East of the station the trail follows the parking lot, crosses Route 114, and bears right along the Southern banks of the Contoocook River. The navigable unpaved single-track trail ends at the former station of Henniker Junction by Bennett Road, but the trail can be picked up again across the river at the Henniker Line Rail Trail.

Henniker Junction was where railroad line also branched up and over the river to the Henniker C&M station, but none of that line remains today and there's no sign of the station (possibly now a residential building?). South from Henniker Junction was another line, heading towards Weare and Everett Dam. We've identified more navigable rail trails in that direction and address them in a separate article. That line continues South past New Boston and Goffstown.

To the West of the Henniker Station a building supply company owns the property, so we've traced a route that picks up the trail behind a yurt on college property. From here it's a straight-shot until you're interrupted by a sports field, but the wide unpaved trail continues beyond this to the demolished Contoocook River bridge. Beyond the river the land previously occupied by the rail route at West Henniker is privately owned and occupied by residential housing.

Trail Conditions: Hardpack trail surface with occasional mud. Flat trail.

Now an office, the Henniker station building acknowledges its origins.

Henniker Line Rail Trail 3★
2.1 mi ea way, Medium, Elevation nominal.
Trailspotting Map: AllTrails
Trailspotting Map: GPX Download
Trailspotting Map: Google Earth KMZ

We found this wide unpaved trail through the woods North of the river to be mostly easy to ride on with our folding hybrid bikes. Some muddy patches towards the Hopkinton Dam caused us a minor inconvenience, but thanks to the hard work of the Henniker snowmobile club the trail is well maintained. At the Western end the trail terminates at the river by an abandoned river bridge abutment, but we also mapped out a 1.6 mile link with Old Concord Road should you want to connect up with Henniker. Best parking is at Hopkinton Dam.

Trail Conditions: Wide hardpack trail surface. Flat trail.

Westerly towards The Henniker Line, at Hopkinton Dam.

West Hopkinton Rail Trail 3★
2.3 mi ea way, Medium, Elevation nominal.
Trailspotting Map: AllTrails
Trailspotting Map: GPX Download
Trailspotting Map: Google Earth KMZ

Interrupted by the Hopkinton Dam, the rail trail continues to trace a Westerly route along the Northern banks of the Contoocook River and then proceeds through an impressive cutting and embankment, before a long straight shot towards the town of Contoocook. Unfortunately private property stops you before you get that far, and there's a link trail to Pine Street at the Eastern end of the trail. Much of the trail is under cover of forest, though the views where the trail run alongside the river are very pleasant. We parked by the roadside at Rowell covered bridge. There are no apparent parking opportunities at the East side of this trail.

Trail Conditions: Hardpack trail surface. Good for hikers, hybrid, gravel & mountain bikes. Very sandy 0.2 mi section midway might require walking bike. Trail is flat.

Boardwalk navigating under the US-202 road bridge.

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Nearby Trails:
• 1 mile away: Steven's Rail Trail
• 3 miles away: Brown's Way Rail Trail
• Show on map: All nearby rail trails

NH Covered Bridges
Visit the Trailspotting NH Covered Bridge Map for all NH covered bridge locations and links to nearby trail reviews.

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.
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