New Boston Rail Trail

New Hampshire

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New Boston Rail Trail Facts

States: New Hampshire
Counties: Hillsborough
Length: 3.9 miles
Trail end points: Hillsborough County Youth Center/4H Fairgrounds at Hilldale Lane & SR 13 and N. Mast St./SR 114 between Parker Road and Whipplewill Road (New Boston)
Trail surfaces: Dirt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6017536
Trail activities: Fishing, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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New Boston Rail Trail Description

The New Boston Rail Trail follows the former railroad corridor of the same name for 3.9 miles through densely wooded areas in the town of New Boston. The railroad was in operation from 1893 to 1931, and was used both for freight and passenger service. Through various efforts by the state of New Hampshire, local organizations, and the people of New Boston, the corridor and surrounding land were preserved and turned into a trail after the railroad ceased operations in the 1970s.

The trail presents two distinctly different experiences. The western section of the trail offers a traditional rail-trail experience on a wide, packed dirt surface suitable for most mountain and hybrid bicycles and pedestrian use. The eastern section is more suitable for hikers and experienced mountain bikers only. The change in these two surface types is at the Lang Station trailhead, which is located close to the midway point of the trail and includes a parking area.

Starting from the western endpoint at the Hillsborough County Youth Center/-4H Fairgrounds, the trail travels east along the peaceful South Branch Piscataquog River through a nice canopy of trees. You can easily view the river along this section of the trail, which includes several places to stop for a break and enjoy the serenity of the river. As the trail continues, it veers slightly away from the river and enters Lang Station State Forest after 1.3 miles.

As the trail approaches the Lang Station trailhead, several paths lead back to the river and feature informal camping spots. At the Lang Station trailhead, the surface changes dramatically as the eastern portion of the trail begins.

Here, the trail continues on the eastern side of Gregg Mill Road, immediately crossing the Middle Branch of the Piscataquog right before it meets the South Branch over a lovely footbridge. From this point, it immediately becomes clear that the trail is only suitable for hikers and experienced mountain bikers. As you make your way through the pristine forest, you can catch fleeting views of the river to the south. The remnants of the old New Boston Railroad are harder to distinguish but are there. The trail crosses Parker Road about 1.5 miles from Lang Station.

The route then continues through the woods until the eastern endpoint at State Route 114. Please note that there is only a worn footpath to SR 114, and this is not an ideal trail access point, as it is neither visible nor easy to find from SR 114. In the future, this eastern section will be developed into a more suitable surface for all trail users, and it will eventually connect to the 5.5-mile Goffstown Rail Trail to the east.

If you’re starting from the Hillsborough County Youth Center/4H Fairgrounds, be sure to pay attention to the signage relating to parking and access. Although this is an official trailhead accessible to the public, it’s also the youth center’s private property.

The official map on the trail’s website shows an extra 0.75-mile section from the western endpoint to the original train depot, which is now a private residence. This section makes a nice addition to the trail, going across the youth center grounds and traveling along a private road that is open to vehicular traffic. The depot is located close to the center of New Boston, where the trail intersects with Depot Street.

Parking and Trail Access

To reach the trail from I-293, take the SR 114 exit toward Manchester/Bedford. Merge onto SR 101 W, and go about 1 mile. Continue straight onto SR 114 N, following signs for Goffstown/Henniker. In 3.5 miles, turn left to remain on SR 114 N, and go another 3.8 miles. Turn left onto SR 13. See directions below depending on the trailhead you wish to reach.

To reach the Lang Station trailhead, follow SR 13 S 3.9 miles, and turn right onto Gregg Mill Road. In less than 0.1 mile, the trail parking area and Lang Station will be on your left.

To reach the Hillsborough County Youth Center/4H Fairgrounds trailhead, follow SR 13 S 5.9 miles, and turn right onto Hilldale Lane. You will then cross a bridge and enter the Hillsborough County Youth Center property. Follow Hilldale Lane along the river, heading north a few hundred yards, and you’ll see signs for the trail. Note that this is private property, though the youth center allows the public to park and access the trail during the day.

New Boston Rail Trail Reviews

You can actually start in downtown New Boston. Ride a few hundred feet on Rt 13 to Depot Street, cross the bridge and turn right onto a dirt road that will lead to the 4H Fairgrounds. It should be noted that Google Maps does not show a completed section from the fairgrounds Gregg Mill Road, but it is in fact a nice section of the trail. After Gregg Mill Rd it becomes a walking trail. You need at least a cross bike to ride on the rest of the trail to 114. It is fun.

County grounds to Gregg Mill is a typical well maintained rail trail. Gregg Mill to Parker is a decent single track with some roots but not terrible for a Mountain Bike. The last section Parker to 114 is bumpier but still not bad. There are a few sections that could be muddy after rain, but in July it was fine. It ends at 114 across from Mr G's tire.

There is parking at the County, Gregg Mill and a smaller section at Parker.

We rode this trail beginning at the 4-H center in New Boston. Parking was ample for our April ride. The first section is wide and quite easy going. The next section is narrow and there were occasional trees down. The third section was a mess for us on our hard tail mountain bikes. We chose not to return the way we had come but thought about picking up the Goffstown rail trail and riding into Manchester, where we would pick up our car and return for our other vehicle. I had taken a spill on the start of the third section and my injuries proved to uncomfortable to continue on as planned. My partner rode back on the narrow and winding Route 13/River Road, while I walked my bike along the same route, just to keep moving. There is talk about improving the last two sections of trail and some are asking to have it remain the experience that it currently is, which I find limiting to most riders I see on other rail trails.

Accordion

I rode the full stretch today from New Boston up to rt 114. This is really more of a hiking trail that they allow mountain bikes on. Parts of the rail trail are all but taken over by tree growth, but that made the ride more fun, IMO. Most of the stretch has exposed tree roots and remaining rail ties. I had fun mowing over everything with my 29'er full suspension mt bike, but I would have hated this ride on a hard tail bike. It's really scenic the way it runs along the Piscataquog River. There were lots of people swimming and fishing near the Gregg Mill Road crossing. From the New Boston fair grounds up to Gregg Mill Road, it's a fairly easy ride, with some roots and rail ties here and there. From Gregg Mill Road to Parker Road, it turns into mostly very rooty single track with abandoned rail ties. Some places were really jarring. On the other side of Parker Road, it got very wet and muddy. The last stretch approaching rt 114 was all rutted wet mud and dogs barking from the back yards of homes along there. I felt like a spy trying to sneak across enemy lines. I opted to turn right on rt 114 and then right onto Parker Road back to the crossing instead of going back through the muck on the trail. Overall, I found this trail to be a lot more interesting than most of the other southern NH rail trails I rode this summer. I just wish it was longer.

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