Derry Rail Trail

New Hampshire

Derry Rail Trail Facts

States: New Hampshire
Counties: Rockingham
Length: 3.5 miles
Trail end points: Windham Road and N. High Street
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6233552
Trail activities: Bike, Wheelchair Accessible, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Snowmobiling, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Derry Rail Trail Description

Stretching 3.5 paved miles north from Windham through woodlands to Derry, the Derry Rail Trail runs on the same former rail bed network on which the Rockingham Recreational Trail is built. This section of trail, which extends from the Windham Rail Trail, begins 600 feet north of the restored Windham Depot. Near its midpoint, the trail passes over Bowers Road.

The rail-trail passes through deciduous woods, wetlands and swamps. Beaver activity is responsible for some of the wetlands, and you might spot a beaver lodge or perhaps a beaver at work on a dam. All along the route, you will also find memorial benches that have been installed to honor fallen veterans from Derry.

The town of Derry has two of America's oldest private schools: Pinkerton Academy, founded in 1814 and still operating, and the defunct 1824 Adams Female Seminary. Another claim to fame: Astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American in space, was born and raised in Derry. A restored train depot now houses a restaurant with outdoor seating. Consider pausing for a break here or at one of Derry's other eateries.

Back on the trail, you'll soon cross State Route 102. Here, the trail temporarily leaves the old rail bed on a pathway marked by red brick pavers. North of town, Hood Park signals the trail's end, though the right-of-way continues several hundred feet beyond Hood Park before it dead-ends at a residential complex.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the trailhead in Windham, take Interstate 93 to Exit 3 and head west on State Route 111 toward Windham. After about 1 mile, turn right on North Lowell Road. Just beyond the Interstate underpass, North Lowell intersects with Windham Depot Road; bear right. Park at the restored Windham Depot, about 150 yards up on the right. NOTE: Parking is prohibited at Windham Depot from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise and is strictly enforced.

To reach the Hood Park trailhead in Derry, take I-93 to Exit 4 and head east on State Route 102. In town, turn left on Manning Street, which ends at the Hood Park trailhead. Parking is available.

Derry Rail Trail Reviews

Lots of nature to look at while riding. Second half of the trail is almost free of street crossings. Never to busy on the trail so it's a great trail to complete twice a day, even in the weekends.

Quick ride and finished Witham trail as well. Makes for nearly a 17 mile bike ride round trip.

I chose this trail because it is flat, unfamiliar, and nearby. I also chose it because one of my daughters suggested it. I was not disappointed.

I started at the northern end point, Hood Park. Initially I was concerned that it would be nothing more than a neighborhood "sidewalk" bicycle ride. However, after a few blocks the trail opened up and was consistent with the description in the trail guide. I rode as far south as the Windham Road crossing near the Windham Kitchen restaurant and then returned.

There are a lot of walkers for most of the length of this trail and most, though not all, seem to expect to share the trail. Only a few pedestrians (and cyclists) showed poor etiquette and failed to make way.

Near the northern end point there are a number of road crossings. At EVERY SINGLE ONE, motorists stopped to allow me to cross. I was very surprised.

In terms of scenery it is about average for the region. In terms of traffic, the volume was reasonable (light). In terms of convenience, it would be nice if, at the end point, there was information showing where the trail actually starts. Perhaps there is some signage that I missed.

All things considered, I enjoyed it and will visit it again in a few weeks.


Nice trail .... I am reading the reviews and just realized there is more trail. I started at the windham depot and went towards Derry and Salem. I will have to go back again. I LOVED the little country store and restaurant just next to the depot trail entrance.

Beautiful. Start at the depot and go north ~3 miles on the rolling Derry trail or go south on the Windham branch, more down going south, up coming back. You are truly lost in the woods on either branch. It was hot ~85+ in the sun, but considerably cooler under the trees. The canopy existed almost the entire length. Mix of hardwoods, pines, ferns, lakes, marsh. We're going back in the fall.

I suggest you head for the Windham Depot where there is parking, porta-johns and a great little country store/lunch/dinner place to get something to eat/drink. In Derry there is a well hidden parking area half buried in a residential area; no signs indicating the start of the trail, which just looks like a dirt road at first. Also, no facilities.

Both paths are extraordinary. You won't be disappointed. With one possible exception. We biked mid week during a non-holiday, in August. We were warned by regulars to avoid the trails on the week-ends when they are very popular.

I rode the Derry and Windham trails on the same day this past week, starting from the parking lot at the Windham Depot and doing a round trip on each from there.

The Derry trail has too many road crossings for my tastes. The odd jog (written as "job") mentioned in the review of the Windham trail is actually on the Derry trail. I think it occurs at Bowers Road, but I could be wrong. You come out to the road and have to search for the other end of the crossing a hundred feet or so up the road. The crossing at Kendall Pond road can be busy, and not all drivers feel compelled to think about stopping to let cyclists cross, or at least this cyclist. As mentioned by others, part of the trail parallels I-93, so there's a lot of highway noise for that segment.

The good news is there are prominently painted distance markings on the trail, so you can tell how far you've been. Most are oriented toward a start at the Windham Depot lot. It's also well-shaded like the Windham trail. I rode the trail up to the apartment complex off South Avenue in Derry, where it turned into more of an urban ride, so I turned around there.

For me, the Derry trail is an OK add-on to the Windham trail if you feel you want to add some distance, but the constant breaks for road crossings were tiresome, especially when compared to the unbroken three mile ride on the Windham trail.

I started out in Derry, right by the old train station and road down to Salem, about 8 miles down. The last mile of the trail was hard pack crushed gravel and I would not recommend for a road bike, but I was on a hybrid and had no problems. Otherwise the trail is paved and somewhat scenic. What I like about this trail is that there are very few roads to cross and thereby less stopping and starting. I highly recommend this trail for a nice ride, going at an average steady pace this ride without stopping will take about 1/14-1/5 hours.

I started out in Derry, right by the old train station and road down to Salem, about 8 miles down. The last mile of the trail was hard pack crushed gravel and I would not recommend for a road bike, but I was on a hybrid and had no problems. Otherwise the trail is paved and somewhat scenic. What I like about this trail is that there are very few roads to cross and thereby less stopping and starting. I highly recommend this trail for a nice ride, going at an average steady pace this ride without stopping will take about 1/14-1/5 hours.

I started out in Derry, right by the old train station and road down to Salem, about 8 miles down. The last mile of the trail was hard pack crushed gravel and I would not recommend for a road bike, but I was on a hybrid and had no problems. Otherwise the trail is paved and somewhat scenic. What I like about this trail is that there are very few roads to cross and thereby less stopping and starting. I highly recommend this trail for a nice ride, going at an average steady pace this ride without stopping will take about 1/14-1/5 hours.

Nice ride along a historic railway bed. Note Derry has a bike trail network loops from the Hood Park east to Wast Running Brook School and back through Moonshadow Playground, (all of which is marked with signs), to the rail trail intersection at Hall Road/Norton Street crossing. This loop adds another 2 - 3 miles that is with in Derry.

This trail is good on a hot day; it leads to the Windham Trail which will give you full 14 miles round-trip. It's cool and well shaded and scenic.

Since this is near my home I can do an early morning ride which I enjoy. Asphalt pleases me-again!

My wife and I love to walk, and sometimes bike and cross-country ski, on our local trail. It doesn't have the wildest or most scenic vistas, but it has pretty views of the local woods and wetlands...and now it brings you into downtown Derry. Part of the new trail brings you close to I-93, and that's a bit louder than we'd like, but that's only for a mile or so. Destination trails, to which one travels and visit for specific sites or vistas are wonderful, but having a gem of a local trail which we can use everyday is just as wonderful in its own way. Appreciate and use it for what it is and you'll be happy.

Derry Rail Trail Alliance is happy to announce that construction is complete on the section of trail between Bowers Road and Windham Depot! This is the long awaited connection between the Derry Rail Trail and the Windham Rail Trail! Check out our Facebook Page!/DerryRailTrailAlliance

and our website www.derryrailtrail.og for all the details!!!

Construction began teh week of Sept 19th on the final 2 miles of trail connecting the existing sections of Derry Rail Trail to the Windham Rail Trail. By Spring there will be 8 miles of paved Rail Trail to enjoy - from Hood Park in Downtown Derry all the way to Roulston Road in Windham!

Additionally, the Derry Rail Trail connects to the 4 mile "Derry Bike Loop Path" at Hood Park. This trail connects many of the major schools and parks around Derry.

Also, an additional mile or so of unpaved Rail Trail - including the "Rail Tail Overpass" is available to the South of Roulston Road in Windham and down to the Salem NH Town line. This section is due to be paved in the coming year or so.

Plans are also underway to continue trail construction from Derry's Hood Park North to Londonderry and on to Manchester where the trial will connect with the many hub and spoke trials being developed by Manchester Moves.

For more info checkout Derry Rail Trail Alliance website -

Check out this link to view an interactive Google Map with descriptions of the Derry& Windham Rail Trails.,-71.314745&spn=0.049183,0.07699&t=h&z=14

The Derry Rail Trail Alliance is pleased to announce that more of the Derry Rail Trail (part of the proposed Salem-Concord Bikeway) has been paved this summer!

An additional 6/10ths of a mile of trail has been paved between Kendall Pond Road and Bowers Road in Derry as we work to link the existing Derry Rail Trail and Derry Bike Path to the completed Windham Rail Trail.

This leaves approximately 1.5 miles of unpaved (but rideable) trail between Bowers Road and Windham's Rail Trail.

The Derry Rail Trail Alliance hopes to have this section paved in 2010. Please visit our website for more info - and consider making an online donation to help us complete the trail!

Mark Connors

The Derry Rail Trail Alliance is now only $35k shy of our $425,000 Goal to begin construction on the 2.1 mile section of trail between the Windham Rail Trail and the Derry Bike Path. Construction bids are going out in April 2009 and construction should begin in June 2009.

Check out our website at for updates - and to donate towards the project!

See you on the Windham and Derry Rail Trails!

Great news - The Derry Rail Trail Alliance, a nonprofit group focused on improving the Rail Trail in Derry NH was recently formed and is actively pursuing improvement of the unpaved section of rail trail from the Windham Rail Trail to the south up to Downtown Derry.

It should be noted that the Derry Rail trail while only 3 miles long actually connects to the 4+ mile Windham Rail Trail to the South and also to the Derry Bike Loop Path - a 4.7 mile bike trail that circles the town of Derry. This provides a continuos trail of over 10 miles for multi-use recreation.

The non-rail trail portion of the Derry Bike Path uses a variety of paths, sidewalks and sidestreets - along with a section of the rail trail to circle the town.

Future plans for the Derry Rail Trail Alliance include improving the rail trail from its current endpoint in Hood Park north to the town border with Londonderry NH.

Our ultimate goal is to see the completion of the Salem to Concord Bikeway completed!!!

Please visit our website - fro more info on the trail in Derry - including maps and other important details.

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