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The Windham Rail-Trail occupies a scenic stretch of abandoned rail (Manchester and Lawrence) between Range Road (at Rockingham Rd.) in Salem and Windham Road, about 4 miles to the northwest. At Windham Road, the trail becomes the Derry Rail Trail and continues for another 3 miles.
The Windham Rail-Trail passes by farm pastures, orchards, ponds and marshes through a corridor of trees. Two notable railroad bridges are also found along the trail; one is a keystone archway built from New Hampshire granite in 1849. The trail also has stone-cut ledges—offering relief from the summer heat and sporting multi-colored ice flows during winter.
Wildlife is abundant along the trail. Watch for deer, moose, owls, turtles, herrons and beavers, as well as many species of duck and geese.
In addition to the old stone walls along the trail, you'll find a cellar hole from an 19th-century sawmill. And the Windham Depot buildings and surrounding property have been designated a historic district by the town of Windham. The depot has been restored as has a beautiful Boston and Maine caboose (C16), which you'll find here.
To reach the Windham trailhead, 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, bear right where North Lowell intersects with Depot Road. Park at the restored Windham Depot, about 150 yards up on the right at the caboose. NOTE: Parking is prohibited at Windham Depot (Derry Rail Trail end) from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise and is strictly enforced.
This is a nice, shorter ride but when combined with Windham trail, it was much better. The conditions were excellent and the scenery was nature filled. Worth the trip!
This was our first time riding on the Derry Rail Trail and the Windham Rail Trail. It was a very nice paved path and very serene. We preferred the Windham Trail over Derry, only because of the highway noise in Derry. The benches on the Derry end were nice to stop and take a quick break and drink. I especially loved the part of the trail with granite on both sides of the trail and the train station in Windham. Will definitely ride this trail again. Round trip 14 miles. It also appears that the trail in Windham is being extended and was closed today. Looking forward to that opening.
This is a beautiful & well-maintained trail! Partially paved & partially crushed stone, it's great for walking & biking. There is ample shade on some sections & stone that flanks other sections with trickling water that has a nice cooling effect. The scenery is spectacular - ponds, wetlands & forest flank this gem of a trail.
Jogged this trail a week ago while on vacation from Texas.Had jogged this trail in 1998 when it was dirt.Trail is fantastic,scenery is wonderful,people were friendly.Since it was summertime,my jog was accompanied by large bugs who just would not leave you alone,so bring bug spray.Overall,a great trail to run.
The paved section ends at Roulston Rd. in Windham and continues gravel southward. The trail will be paved and open soon to riders allowing them to travel south to the Old Rockingham Rd. Intersection of Rt. 28. A local article can be found here http://www.eagletribune.com/news/new_hampshire/salem-rail-trail-project-moving-forward/article_cf370765-1346-525f-a544-f3b8d96eecd0.html
I was looking for a trail that would be ideal for my 2yr old and 5yr old -the trails pavement is in great condition which is great for a jogger stroller and has benches along the way. The scenery of this trail is stunning. We have gone twice so far-both on Saturday mornings and the trail was not too busy-some people running,some walking their dog, and a few biking.
I love this trail and have ridden it since it opened. I do find quite a lot of folks who take their dogs with them which shouldn't be a problem. But lately I have come across many not leashed, and have had many near crashes because of this. I was also told by a friend recently that she use to enjoy walking the trail but has stopped because of the many people who do not leash their dogs. She is very afraid of dogs having been bitten and attacked. PEOPLE PLEASE LEASH YOUR DOGS. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DON'T I HOPE YOU ARE HAPPY YOU HAVE RUINED A BEAUTIFUL SPOT FOR PEOPLE AFRAID OF DOGS.
Crowded with people a lot more than northern rail trail but enjoyable none the less.
The Windham Rail Trail is my go to trail for a good powerwalk / light jog. Nice view along the way with plenty of vegetation and multiple ponds. the paved surface is in good shape. there are mile markers each half mile.It can get busy on weekends. It is used by all, fellow walkers, joggers, bikers, rollerbladers, and families just out for some fresh air. Most are courteous to others. unfortunately you do need to watch your step for those dog walkers who don't pick up after their pooches.
Since there are a couple of recommendations to start this trail in Salem, I clicked on the trail head symbol there. The link to the map didn't work, but there was an address, 360 N. Broadway, and we plugged that into MapQuest on our phone and headed out from Nashua. We returned home 2 hours later, never having found the trail. The address did not match the bike shop mentioned in one review. Two people at the gas station at the intersection of Hwy 111 and Range Rd. didn't quite know what we were talking about, nor did another shop owner in the area MapQuest had led us to. We found the bike shop, but the person we spoke with there said we couldn't park there. His directions to another parking area ("you can't miss it") led us to an overgrown patch of gravel by a chain-link fence. So the address listed for the Salem trail head by TrailLink is incorrect, there's no parking in the general vicinity, and the merchants in that neighborhood are singularly uninformed and unhelpful. It's a good thing we already tried and loved the Nashua River Trail, so once we recover our good humor, we'll be willing to give this another try, next time from Windham, I guess.
Our third visit was enjoyable as the first. Fun and adventure of the ride was enjoyed by all. All areas are easy to ride for all ages. We did notice a huge increase of walkers but still enjoyable and friendly to all. One suggestion would be to increase signage along the path and also the expansion from Derry north trail . Thank you for a wonderful trail and hope that all connections to Vermont are still planned.
This is a great trail for the entire family. Very scenic and well paved. Pretty much what others have said.
With regard to the dog poop, it is the responsibility of the dog owner to pick it up and remove it, not a volunteer worker. No exceptions. If there is difficulty with picking it up, don't bring the dogs. I have a dog and always pick it up and carry it home for disposal.
I love this trail! I just moved to Windham and discovered this trail and love walking my two dogs on it. My only complaint is that there are no trash barrels or anything to throw your "picked up" dog waste in. If you're like me and you walk the entire trail, it's an inconvenience to have to carry the little bags out with you, especially when you have two leashes to hold on to. I saw a lot of bagged poo along the trail and I think it's almost more environmentally friendly to just let it lay on the side out of a bag and let nature take its course (as long as it's NOT on the path itself where someone can step on it), than to put it in a bag and toss it over the ledge or leave it laying on the side of the path to cook in the sun. Lesser of two evils, make sure they do their doody on the shoulder of the path and take a stick and push it off the ledge. Or solve the issue and strategically place trash cans periodically throughout the trail, and once a week, have some parks & rec employee go through on atv with a small trailer to change out the bags. Problem solved!
I've ridden this trail on bike,walking, and more currently use it for snowmobile parking. Just the other day I was riding and broke down up in epping on the rail trail, little did I realize you cannot park in the lot at night I got back to my car finally at 7:30 pm and to my surprise I was ticketed for being there after dusk. There is a small sign in the far corner of the parking lot that says in small print do not park here after dusk. I clearly have a trailer and am not a 16 year old kid parking overnight or loitering. Called Windham PD to fight this rediculous parking ticket. All they had to say was either way you were there after dark. The $25 ticket is no big deal but just the fact that I was ticketed and the disrespect the police department showed me will make me never park there again and never go out of my way for Windham PD. In conclusion DO NOT PARK AFTER DUSK THEY WILL LITERALLY TICKET YOU THE SECOND THE SUN GOES DOWN
This is a fairly decent trail for a quick bike run. Good for all bike types. I started in Salem at Cycles Etc. The trail starts there as hard packed gravel for about 8/10 of a mile then the rest is paved. It connects up with the Derry RT for a total of 8 miles one way. I rode into Hood Park to take some pics of the water. It wasn't crowded for a Sunday Columbus Day weekend. And only a little bit over an hour from Boston.
When I want to actually ride the trail, I will be happy to join, connectconnectcontribute. I just wat to see the route, and now you've annoyed me so much that I WILL NEVER use.contribute.
I rode both the Derry Rail Trail and the Windham Rail Trail starting at the Windham Historic District parking at the well maintained lot next to the historic train station building and freight house. These are located at the intersection of Windham Depot Rd and Frost Rd in what I think is Windham, NH. The Derry trail is a nice paved 4 mile long excursion to the center of Derry, to the north. Quite typical for New England, much of it is wooded with views of ponds and fields. There are a couple of road crossings, and when arriving in Derry, it gets urban, passing the beautifully restored train station. I rode through Derry, past the court house, though Hood Park, and for my curiosity, out the remaining 1/4 mile which is dirt. The trail appears to end in Derry on the grounds of what appears to be a condominium. On my return to the Windham train station, I noticed The Grind coffee shop in Derry, which I vowed to return to later.
Returning to the Windham Historic district, I headed south on the Windham rail trail which appears to be a more recently paved (smoother, wider pavement than the Derry) 4 mile excursion to the outskirts of Salem, NH. I thought this trail was more scenic than its still scenic neighbor to the north, with even more October foliage views of ponds and fields. Passing Roulston Rd. at the 3 mile point, the trail turns to a crushed rock base, which while firm and smooth, is not suitable for a road bike. On my cyclcross bike it was not much trouble and would be fine on a mountain bike. I crossed the bridge over NH Rte 111, and ended up, after a bit, in the parking lot of Salem Bikes - which was open. The return in the late afternoon was quite scenic with the lower sun against the October foliage.
I enthusiastically recommend this approach, that is, parking at the Windham train station historic district - if gives you lots of options for your day, and the parking is well maintained. Either north or south, the trails are slightly downhill, so there is a slight uphill grade on the return. In Derry, to the north, there are lots of options for snacks or food; no apparent option for any of that to the south. Kudos to whoever developed and maintains this trail system - well worth an excursion to visit. This is a heavily used trail - I have an Incredibell on my bike which I used a lot - so I had no issues with walkers. Everyone seemed very polite and considerate, and aware…..mostly. As a rider, a little consideration and understanding goes a long way. Total mileage for my day, on both trails, about 16 miles.
I totally agree with the last few reviews of the trail. Wonderful ride - beautiful scenery but LOTS OF PEOPLE. My comment after yesterday's ride was that the people of Windham are really into walking/biking!! The trail was in good condition (9/6/14).
My husband and I bike this trail and Derry rail trail 3 - 4 times a week. Maybe because this is a "newer" trail, but, I'd say that 25% of the people that use this trail don't understand the rules of the trail. Between the families walking completely across the trail, to the casual bikers that ride 2 or 3 across, they look offended that we want to pass. We both have bells on our bikes that we will ring once and then say "on your left" and we always politely say "thank you" to the people that comply, but there has to be at least 2 or 3 every time we ride that give us dirty looks or make us come to a complete stop (not easy if you're clipped in) in order to get around them...
As for the trail? It's just beautiful! Enough of a grade up and down to make it a good workout as well. You go through wetlands with all kinds of wildlife, gorgeous herons, birds of all kinds, an occasional turtle. Nice benches here and there to stop and take a rest or have a picnic as I have seen some do. Not a lot of dog poo - that seems to have stopped this year for the most part.
It's quite busy on the weekends and around 4 - 5 pm, so plan your trip accordingly.
I rode the Windham and Derry trails this week for the first time. The Windham trail is a great ride through the woods and swamps for about three miles from the Windham Depot parking lot. Unfortunately, it looks like the last mile of the trail past the first crossing at Roulston Road is not paved. If you ride ballast and gravel, you can probably continue to the end, but I chose not to beat up my hybrid tires and stop at 3.3 miles.
The Windham trail is a great ride if you have children along because there are no road crossings, and you can stop for some nature viewing. It's heavily shaded so you won't cook on sunny days. I didn't see any evidence of the dog poop that the 2013 reviewers commented on, and slower riders and the many walkers had no problem moving for bikes to pass.
Bottom line is it's a nice recreational ride for casual riders. If you're training for the Tour de France, you may want to look for longer rides where you can build some speed, although I did hit 25 MPH in a couple of isolated sections.
I ran this trail for the first time today, and I loved it! I'm not usually a fan of running on pavement but the path itself was very well maintained. I would say that this path is great for all types of exercise; running, walking, biking, rollerblading, etc. I would definitely say that this trail is good for wheelchairs as well. The shade from the trees made it nice and cool and the views were nice. I loved all the little trails through the woods that branched off the main trail. I also really appreciated the individuals that I ran into who all smiled, waved, or announced that they were passing on the left. As for the dog poo issue, I did see a couple of spots...but it wasn't bad. I definitely wouldn't say that the path was overcrowded, but there were enough people out there to make me feel safe running alone.
This was my first time and not the last, at the Windham Rail Trail and it was beautiful. Lovely day with lots to see. Besides the walk I enjoyed seeing various birds, snakes, rocks, and trees. I had my camera with me and took many pictures. This is going to be a place I come to again and again.
Just took this trail for the first time. I must say that the dog owners have cleaned up their act.
Other than a weird job in the trail across a busy road, it was a great trail. Will do again.
I have to agree with the previous post. Trail is very nice but lots of dog poop. Most of them don't pick up their dog poop and even if they did they bag it and leave it there. It's very disgusting!!!..
I have been using the trail since March of 2013. I Walk and ride the entire trail from Range Rd in Windham to Derry Depot and I am DISGUSTED with the lack of responsibility of the dog owners. They disregard any ownership of their dogs fecal matter and don't even bother to move it from the path. I must always be looking down so not to step on any, which takes away from the pleasure of looking around and enjoying the scenery and wildlife. Why do a few bad people spoil it for everyone….. If they could clean up their act the trail is worth checking out..
This trail is 3 miles each way and doesn't have any street crossings. The path uses bridges which makes it great for families with kids.
There are plenty of places to stop and take a brake if you're new to cycling or have small children.
There is no other "Windham Rail Trail" other than the north/south paved section along the former Manchester/Lawrence Railbed. The branch referred to as the "other" non paved section (east/west) is part of the Rockingham Recreational Trail/Freemont Branch. There is no legal OHRV use west of Route 28 on this section. (from Rt 28 to Windham Depot) From Rt 28 East, OHRV use is permitted to Freemont.
I don't know why "the other Windham Trail" gets virtually no recognition; since the Windham Trail described here was paved a few years ago I've avoided it like the plague. Fortunately for folks who like to ride horses, ATVs, dirt bikes and/or run/walk on soft surfaces, Windham has a second rail trail. The other trail "Tees" off of the paved trail maybe twenty yards southeast of the newly restored Windham Depot train station, and heads basically northeast for many miles; other than a few road crossings, the surface is dirt, both soft and hard packed, with a few short stretches of gravel. The reason why I've said "many miles" is that I've run from Windham, through Derry, Hampstead and into Sandown, a distance of 7.5 miles, and the trail looks like it keeps going well beyond where I turned around. In other words, I have no idea how far it goes, but I *think* I've tracked it on satellite photos as far as Epping. As for scenery, the only thing this "other" trail lacks that the official one has is the pavement and the deep cuttings through granite. Beyond that, long causeways through forgotten swamps (one of which allegedly contains a sunken steam locomotive which derailed many-many years ago), forests so dense in some places that even at high noon in the middle of Summer one cannot see the sky, and even a few stretches through meadows. All in all, a very enjoyable trail to experience; doubly so if your joints don’t like walking or running on hard surfaces.
This is a great trail as others have said, with lots of different levels of users. Keep an eye out for those who are less careful than yourself. A year ago people had reported construction had closed part of the trail but I can report that it is now fully open.
We LOVE this trail but were disapointed this afternoon to find out that the trail is closed less then half a mile in due to construction. We were told by some other walkers that it looks like they are cutting through the tail to build a development. I assume that there will be a bridge or something after they are done so that the trail will still be usable. Hope it doesnt take too long! We love to bike this trail.
This review was submitted in Sept of 2010.
The Windham Rail Trail is a bittersweet expierience for most roadbike enthusiast. The scenery is absolutely beautiful but trail etiquette is non-existent. I've been riding the trail all summer and on more occasions than I can count I've almost been injured because people walking the trail are absolutely clueless. Most have zero comprehension of the command "on your left!" Most walkers when hearing those words actually move INTO your right of way. There are people who walk their dogs on 20ft leashes, parents with kids on bikes with training-wheels taking up the entire roadway, senior citizens walking on the wrong side of the trail. I've come to the conclusion that unlike many of the rail trails I've ridden on the locals in Windham simply think this is their nature trail and the rest of the world can kiss their butt. It’s made me realize how spoiled rotten I've become riding the Minuteman Trail in Bedford, MA. You can ride that trail 7-days a week and never once put you or your bike in a dangerous situation. here it is 2011 and still it goes on...........
I have had the same experience. I recently tried riding this trail 2 times this week for a quick workout. I found
people do not have their dogs leashed, they walk on the wrong side, or walk 4 across and block the whole trail. I came a cross a mom and her child and called out on your left she moved over but left her child, I am thankful that I have good brakes or it could have been pretty bad. I have also seen Rollerblade users in center of the trail, (no problem with that) but they have headphones on so loud they could not hear anyone calling out. They have finally posted signs with the rules of the road but they do no good.
I have ridden these trails and have not had this problem Nashua River, Minuteman, Bruce Freeman, even trails in Portland Me. So what gives Windham? Rules don't apply to you? Seriously some could get hurt, is that what it is going to take to get people to obey the rules?
This is a great starter trail. I say starter because it is only 4 miles yet it is very a very beautiful and relaxing ride.
There are benches and various areas to sit and take a break. There are also many streams and ponds along the trail which helps make it a very beautiful ride. I wish I could envision the time when the train ran this route because it seems so peaceful.
The Windham Rail Trail is a bittersweet expierience for most roadbike enthusiast. The scenery is absolutely beautiful but trail etiquette is non-existent. I've been riding the trail all summer and on more occasions than I can count I've almost been injured because people walking the trail are absolutely clueless. Most have zero comprehension of the command "on your left!" Most walkers when hearing those words actually move INTO your right of way. There are people who walk their dogs on 20ft leashes, parents with kids on bikes with training-wheels taking up the entire roadway, senior citizens walking on the wrong side of the trail. I've come to the conclusion that unlike many of the rail trails I've ridden on the locals in Windham simply think this is their nature trail and the rest of the world can kiss their butt. It’s made me realize how spoiled rotten I've become riding the Minuteman Trail in Bedford, MA. You can ride that trail 7-days a week and never once put you or your bike in a dangerous situation.
I rode this trail on my crossroad bike and was able to go from Route 111 in Windham to Mammoth road in Londonderry. This trail does cross the main road in Derry and goes through parts of the down town area but is well marked. The section at Hood park in Derry that had a "No trespassing" sign has been removed. At that part of the trail it is not obvious where to go but if you go straight across the grass you will come out to a road. It takes a little snooping around but you can find the trail continues on the other side of the road up a driveway to a business. I had to get off my bike as it was a steep ride down on loose gravel to get back onto the trail. . Got back on my bike and ran into a small stream. Someone had put a 2x4 across so I walked my bike across. Got back on the bike and continued. Once you go under route 93 it again looks like the trail ends but if you go straight across the grass, you will find the trail continues all the way to Mammoth Road. The trail does continue across Mammoth road but that is for another day of exploring.
On the way back I was able to avoid the stream by going onto the road that you can see from the trail in the area of the RC flying club and picked up the trail on the grassy part out of Hood park.
If you are adventurous this is a good trail.
This trail is very nice for a family trip. We took a friend and our son out on this trail and had a beautiful time in early spring. It is mostly a level ride with a few stopping points along the way to rest and just take in the wonderful scenery that nature has to offer in Southern New Hampshire.
The trail crosses over the water in a few spots and the wooded areas are just great for riding without the sun beating down on you. It is wide enough for people to walk and riders to bike without feeling congested.
The parking lot at the old depot is under construction, but there is ample parking around it out of the way of congested traffic. We will return to this trail often as it is very convenient for family trips and just a short trip from the Mass border.
This trail which starts at the intersection of Rt 28 and Range rd is an easy walk to Hood park in Derry. There is a sign on the other side of Hood park that warns of private property with no trespassing. Not sure how they plan on connecting Salem to Concord with this trail as planned. You could park at Hood Park to walk the trail back to Windham but it is not clearly marked and does take some investigating to find it. The trail goes by the Depot at Broadway, crosses Broadway to Manning to Hood Park. It is easier to start in Windham and continue to Hood and then it will all fall into place. Not all of the trail is paved but some sections are under improvement. At the beginning in Windham, do not park in the motorcycle business parking area. Round trip was approximately 13 miles.
Good Short Trail to take your kids. It is only about 4 miles. Has a dirt extension of about a mile. Well maintained, pretty easy access of the freeway. If you are looking for a nice easy ride with younger children, this is a good trail to go to.
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