Sugar River Trail

Trail Map

Description Suggest an Edit

Also known as the Sugar River Recreational Trail, this picturesque 9.8-mile path stretches from Newport to the southeastern edge of Claremont along the banks of the Sugar River. To reach Claremont proper, you can seamlessly connect to the Bobby Woodman Rail Trail, which meets the Sugar River Trail at Washington Street and heads toward the center of the city.

Wildlife is abundant amid the secluded woodlands. Stay alert to spot deer, rabbit, beaver, raccoon, fox, wild turkey or even an occasional moose around the next bend. The trail's surface varies from firm cinder/ballast to soft sand. Traveling west from the Newport trailhead, the first 2 miles are particularly soft.

River crossings add to the Sugar River Trail's scenic allure, and covered bridge aficionados can anticipate a special bonus-two spans that once carried trains over the Sugar River: Pier Bridge (east of Chandler Station) and Wright's Bridge (named for S.K. Wright, who sold the right-of-way to the Sugar River Railroad). Both were built by the Boston & Maine Railroad and are on the National Register of Historic Places. Unlike covered bridges on New England roadways, these are much narrower and taller, with 21 feet of vertical clearance.

Additionally, the trail has nearly a dozen other bridges, ranging from small wooden plank structures to steel truss bridges that span the Sugar River and its side streams. If the trail inspires you to see more of the region, finish your day by hiking, fishing, boating, camping or just relaxing in one of two nearby state parks. The beach at Mt. Sunapee State Park is a great place for a swim after you get off of the trail, and you can take rented kayaks and canoes for a spin on Lake Sunapee.

In Washington, Pillsbury State Park offers heavily wooded hiking and mountain biking trails. Seasonal camping is available in both parks. Call for reservations, fees and hours. The Sugar River Trail is one of just six rail-trails in New Hampshire that permit motorized use year-round; be prepared to share the trail with ATV users and snowmobilers. Also keep watch for equestrians.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the Newport trailhead, take Interstate 89 to State Route 103 west. In Newport, follow State Route 10 north for 0.25 mile past the town green then turn left on Belknap Avenue. The well-marked trailhead parking lot is on the right.

To reach the Claremont trailhead, follow the above directions to Newport, then follow State Route 11/103 toward Claremont. Where the highway becomes local Washington Street, look for the trailhead parking sign.


Can't get through

   July, 2016 by dows502

Nice trail but could not get through in Kelly Village post are not 50 inches apart. read more

Pleasant & scenic but surface is too soft for bicycles; use the parallel local road.

   August, 2015 by msandman1943

This is a scenic trail that follows the Sugar River from Newport NH to just east of Claremont, NH. If you start from the Claremont end, the trail head is a couple of miles east of the city center, on Route 103/Route 11, just west of the pint that the more

New England summer day.

   July, 2015 by wildcitino1

Amazingly serene. Few wet areas but quite comfortable run and bile trail. Truly beautiful. read more