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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. 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.
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.
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