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Mason & Greenville Rail Trails, NH


• 4-star trail
• 8.6 miles each way
• Medium difficulty | Elevation gain nominal
• Monadnock Region | Mason & Greenville NH
• Driving Directions: Greenville, Mason, South


One of two large ponds along the route.

The hilly and twisting stone-wall fringed roads around the towns of Greenville and Mason are picturesque, but not indicative of terrain suitable for a flat railroad bed. So perhaps it wasn't surprising when construction of this route from Massachusetts ran out of money in 1850, and the engineers instead chose to terminate the line at Greenville, instead of Peterborough as planned.

The Mason Rail Road Trail combines with the shorter Greenville Recreational Trail to make a continuous journey through woodland, passing numerous creeks and a couple of ponds. Situated in an area of low population, this trail is relatively quiet at most times. On this particularly sunny day in May we met a total of three hikers, two horseback riders and one harmless Northern watersnake coiled in the middle of the trail. For the record, New Hampshire only has one venomous snake - the timber rattlesnake, which is a protected species and exceedingly rare.

Rough hardpack, Access, Historic.

Mason & Greenville Rail Trails 4★
8.6 mi ea way, Medium, Elevation nominal.
Trailspotting Map at AllTrails
Trailspotting Map as GPX Download

The North end traces a route along the side of the Souhegan River Valley before ending abruptly at the abutments of the former Greenville Railroad Bridge, a 624 foot long valley-spanning structure of which several abutments still remain standing. Reaching the abutment requires walking the last 0.2 miles beyond the Adams Hill Road parking area due to uneven and muddy terrain.

It's apparent when you reach the Massachusetts state border at the South end of the trail, as the railroad track still sits insitu, as it has since the line was abandoned in 1979. Hikers can continue to follow the track in the direction of Townsend as the route is surprisingly not overgrown - possibly thanks to clearance by snowmobilers. We haven't mapped this route beyond the gray line shown on our map.


Friendly equestrians on the trail.

If you're planning to explore the full length of this trail, we recommend starting at the Southern end so that your outbound travels are in the (lightly) uphill direction. The 40 foot per mile gradient isn't very noticeable, but when compounded with the roughness of some sections of this trail it can take a toll. Unmarked roadside parking at the intersection of Mason and Morse roads is available 0.2 miles from the trail.

Nearby on Mason Road is a historical marker memorializing the boyhood home of Uncle Sam. As the marker reads: "Nearby stands the boyhood home of Samuel Wilson (1766-1854) who was generally known as 'Uncle Sam'. He supplied beef to the Army in 1812. The brand on his barrels was 'US'. The transition from US to Uncle Sam followed and became the popular symbol for the United States."

Trail Conditions
Hardpack with rough/bumpy sections making up 30% of total length. Some mud at Greenville end. Not great for strollers, road bikes. Gradient light/moderate at 40ft/mi descending North.


Cuttings and embankments required to span the hilly terrain.


Uncle Sam's house, nearby on Mason Road.

Tangents:
• External Links: NH State Parks (Greenville)
• External Maps: Public Map at AllTrails, TrailLink
• Facebook Group: Comment on this article

NH Rail Trails Map
We've published New Hampshire’s first complete rail trail map, including links and details for all rideable trails.

NH State Parks
Support your New Hampshire State Parks, a self-funded organization managing trails like these without NH tax dollars.
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