Henniker & Hopkinton Rail Trails


• 3-star trails
• 6.3 miles each way (over 3 trails)
• Medium difficulty | Elevation nominal
• Merrimack Region | Henniker & Hopkinton NH
• Directions: Henniker | Henniker Line | West Hopkinton


On the West Hopkinton Rail Trail, alonside the Contoocook River

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 working to locate as many of these as possible, and here we present three more rail trail opportunities for you to explore around the towns of Henniker and Hopkinton.

Henniker Rail Trail (2.3 mi) - 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.


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

Henniker Line Rail Trail (2.1 mi) - 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.


Westerly towards The Henniker Line, at Hopkinton Dam.

West Hopkinton Rail Trail (2.3 mi) - 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.

This trail appears to be maintained and used mostly by snowmobilers, but can be used by hikers or hybrid, gravel and mountain bikes. There's a very sandy 0.2 mile section about half the way along the route, which may have you walking your bike. We parked by the roadside at Rowell covered bridge. There are no apparent parking opportunities at the East side of this trail.


Boardwalk navigating under the US-202 road bridge.

Rail trail, No access, Connecting trail, Live rail, Road biking, Sidebar, Fullscreen Map.

Henniker Rail Trail (2.3 mi) - AllTrails | Directions
Henniker Line Rail Trail (2.1 mi) - AllTrails | Directions
West Hopkinton Rail Trail (2.3 mi) - AllTrails | Directions

Tangents:
• Facebook Group: Comment on this article
Follow Trailspotting:


Navigate Trailspotting:
New HampshireNorthern CaliforniaMore

All website content copyright © 2005-2022 Stuart Green. Brought to you with no advertisements or affiliate links. Information on this site is provided without warranty. Users are responsible for their own actions and for validating all information.