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Many rail-trails start at a vintage depot, an old caboose, or a rusty locomotive acquired by the local historical society. The Warren to East Haverhill Railroad Grade Trail, however, starts at the base of a surplus 70-foot Redstone missile delivered in 1971 to inspire local youth about the space program. It’s the same type of missile that launched Derry native Alan Shepard into space in 1961. It’s a good place to blast off down a 10.8-mile dirt trail into the White Mountains.
Warren and Haverhill were two stops on the Boston and Maine Railroad’s White Mountains Division that ran between Concord and Woodsville on the Vermont border. The original charter in 1844 went to the Boston, Concord and Montreal Railroad, which finished the line through New Hampshire by 1853. Mergers eventually put it under the control of the Boston and Maine Railroad in 1895. The line supported the timber and tourism industries until it ceased operations in 1954 as cars and trucks took over.
Formerly the Warren Recreational Trail and also known as the Jesse E. Bushaw Memorial Trail or New Hampshire Snowmobile Corridor No. 5, the rail-trail takes an easy grade uphill from Warren to the westernmost pass through the White Mountains at Glencliff, and then descends to East Haverhill. Off-highway recreational vehicles, including trail bikes, are allowed only as far as Glencliff, but snowmobiles can continue beyond. In addition to snowmobiling and cross--country skiing, snowshoeing and dogsledding are permitted in winter.
The Redstone rocket trailhead is set amid the village school, town hall, a church, and a restaurant (an ice cream parlor is a block away). The trail starts uphill on the railroad grade and soon enters a forest.
About 4.6 miles up the trail, you’ll cross Station Road in Glencliff. Originally called Warren Summit, the town was renamed Glencliff after confusion over its name—being similar to that of nearby Warren—resulted in a train collision. Beginning in 1909, the railroad depot here served passengers heading to the Glencliff Sanatorium, a treatment center for tuberculosis patients seeking fresh mountain air. The complex on Mount Moosilauke is still open today as a home for the elderly.
If you see haggard backpackers here, they’re probably headed to the community’s post office. The Appalachian Trail passes over Oliverian Notch here, and hikers use this as a mail drop. A hostel and grocer in the village also cater to hikers. You’ll cross the Appalachian Trail 0.4 mile ahead as it runs close to SR 25/Mt. Moosilauke Highway.
The rail-trail runs alongside the road, passing the Oliverian Pond, and then veers back into the forest. Concrete blocks restrict motorized use on the rail-trail through a wildlife preserve. You’ll arrive at athletic fields for the Oliverian School 2.5 miles past the pond, cross SR 25, and then take the trail across the boarding school campus (motorized vehicles are prohibited on the trail here). The route continues another mile to Jeffers Hill Road.
To reach the Warren trailhead from I-93, take Exit 26 onto SR 3A/SR 25 toward Rumney. Head southwest 4 miles, and take the first exit off the traffic circle to stay on SR 25 W. Go 7.4 miles, and stay straight where SR 118 joins SR 25. Go another 8.1 miles, and bear left onto SR 25C/Lake Tarleton Road; then turn right onto School St. The trailhead is about 0.2 mile ahead where Water St. and School St. intersect. Street parking is available along School St.
There is no official trail parking at the northern end.
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