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The Dover Community Trail snakes its way through the heart of the Garrison City—so nicknamed for the fortified log houses, or garrisons, built by 17th-century settlers—-offering a variety of trail surface types and activities for visitors.
Technically starting at the southeastern endpoint on Fisher Street, the trail heads straight north and makes its way through quiet residential areas. The canopy of surrounding trees provides ample shade and a pleasant setting. After about 0.3 mile, you’ll pass through a short tunnel underneath Silver Street and continue north, crossing a few roads and neighborhoods. Be sure to follow the trail signs in this area to stay on the correct course.
After passing Washington Street, the trail crosses over a beautiful trestle high above the Cocheco River and continues to the Dover train depot/station in downtown Dover (see the active railroad line that the train station services on the north side of the trestle). With a trailhead, parking, and ample restaurants and shops just one or two blocks west, this is the best place to begin your journey.
From the train station, exit the parking lot and turn left onto the sidewalk along Chestnut Street to cross the railroad tracks. Note that this section follows city sidewalks, and there are no signs to help with navigation. After two blocks, turn left onto Fourth Street and follow the sidewalk until you reach a bridge that crosses the Cocheco River.
Here, just before the bridge, turn right (heading north) to enter another off-road section of trail that skirts the north side of the river. The trail also leads you past Beckwith Park and Dover Cassily Community Garden—both great community assets. This section has a dirt and crushed-stone surface and is suitable for walking and mountain biking only; it offers a great nature escape in the center of town.
You’ll cross Whittier Street and then follow the north side of Whittier Falls Way, a quiet neighborhood street, before crossing under Spaulding Turnpike and continuing off road. Here, the route continues to follow the north side of the Cocheco River and is surrounded by a nice wooded area, providing contrast to the more urban section near the center of town. The trail terminates at Watson Road, just east of the river.
There are plans to extend the trail south and ultimately connect it with other sections of trail in and around the Seacoast Region.
To reach the Amtrak Dover Transportation Center (Rotary Club trailhead) from the intersection of US 202 and NH 16/Spaulding Turnpike in Rochester, head south on SR 16 to Exit 8E for downtown Dover, and follow W. Knox Marsh Road 0.3 mile to a traffic circle. Enter the traffic circle, take the first exit onto Silver St./NH 9, and go 0.3 mile. Turn left onto Lexington St., and go 0.2 mile. Turn right onto Washington St., and go 0.3 mile. Turn left onto Chestnut St., go about 0.2 mile, and look for the entrance to the station on your left. The trailhead and access to the trail are located in the back of the parking area adjacent to the Cocheco River.
To reach the Watson Road trailhead from the intersection of US 202 and SR 16/Spaulding Turnpike in Rochester, head south on SR 16 to Exit 9 toward SR 9/SR 108/Dover/-Somersworth. Turn left onto Indian Brook Drive (signs for Sixth St.), and go 0.5 mile. Turn right onto Sixth St., and go 0.8 mile. Turn left onto County Farm Road, go 0.2 mile, and then turn left onto Watson Road. Follow it 0.2 mile, and turn left into the trailhead parking lot.
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