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Granite-Brookline-Potanpio Rail Trails, NH


• 4-star trail
• 11.0 miles each way
• Easy/Medium difficulty | Elevation gain nominal
• Merrimack Region | Milford to Brookline NH
• Driving Directions: Milford, Melendy, Bemis


The well-preserved Milford-Fitchburg station, now an auto body shop.

The combined rail trails of Granite Town, Brookline and Potanipo make a remarkably varied and scenic route that can carry a determined user all the way to the Massacheusetts state line with only a little interaction with road traffic.

Mostly hardpack ground surface with occasional short and light sections or rocks and roots, this trail is suitable for most trail users on foot or bicycle. However, anyone planning to a jaunt along this route should be mindfull of a few possible obstacles.

Just over a mile and a quarter from the Milford end of the trail, and after successfully navigating across a couple of roads and passing through a culvert under Route 101, property issues require a 0.4 mile diversion over a small rocky hill. Hikers won't have any problems here, but bikers will almost certainly need to dismount and walk most of this section.

Asphalt, Hardpack, Rough, Road, Access, Live Rail, Historic.



Also, the shores of Potanipo Pond are home to a summer camp which closes a section off from the public during the seven week school summer break. During this period cyclists would have to divert to road biking on Route 13 for 1.8 miles.

Just South of Potanipo Pond is the charming Nissitissit Covered Bridge, a footbridge named emponymously for the river over which it spans. Beyond here the route is a mix of hardpack and rough trail and an unavoidable section of road biking along Route 13 which thankfully has wide shoulders. We've identified some connecting trails around the area of the sculpture garden for those who would prefer to minimize the amount of time spent sharing the road with large motor vehicles.

Once the trail crosses Route 13 by a new purpose-built parking lot, it officially becomes known as the Potanpio Rail Trail which features almost a mile of wide stone dust covered hardpack trail.


Cutting through pine forest, and under Route 101.

Between the end of the formal Potanpio Rail Trail and the state line are another 1.8 miles of rail trail left to explore. This section of trail is often narrow, criss-crossed by other trails and occasionally blocked by fallen trees, but remains fun trail to explore before it ends at a pair of bridge abutments by the Nissitissit River.

If you're looking for the longest length of contiguous rail trail, rather than trying to explore the full length of the route, then we recommend the Melendy Road parking lot which offers 5.7 miles of trail thats ends close to the covered bridge in the South.

Trail Conditions
Mostly hardpack, occasional rocks and roots. See map for rough sections. Mostly flat with max gradient 30ft/mi. Ascends South from Milford for 3.6mi, then descends 7.4mi to state line. Small 100ft hilly diversion near Milford.


Nissitissit Covered Bridge.


Scenic ponds aplenty along the Granite Town & Brookline trails.


Another well preserved station. Please respect the owner's privacy.

Tangents:
• Official Links: Granite PDF, Brookline Trails
• AllTrails Public: Granite Town, Potanpio
• Trail Link: Granite Town
• Facebook Group: Comment on this article

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

NH Rail Trails Map
New Hampshire’s first complete rail trail map. Includes links to all rideable trails. Shows live and abandoned railroads.
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