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The smooth paved surface of the Londonderry Rail Trail offers a pleasant, tranquil 4.5-mile adventure for trail users in south-central New Hampshire. Its route follows a corridor once used by the Manchester and Lawrence Railroad, which started operations in the mid-1800s as a way to connect Manchester with Boston. The railroad ceased operations in the 1980s, and the creation of the rail-trail began in earnest in 2012.
As part of the future 125-mile Granite State Rail Trail, which one day will stretch from Massachusetts to the Vermont border, the Londonderry Rail Trail will eventually span 6 miles and serve as a connection between the developing South Manchester Rail Trail to the north and the Derry Rail Trail to the south.
A good place to begin your journey is at the trailhead on Sanborn Road. A small parking lot sits adjacent to Sanborn Road just east of the trail, and additional parking is available across the street at the North Londonderry Elementary School (when school is not in session).
From here, head east on the trail through quiet, wooded neighborhoods. The first mile from the trailhead forms a straight shot on an elevated embankment—a remnant of the original railroad corridor infrastructure—but with a few dips down across neighborhood streets. The trail’s surface is well maintained, and signage is good for the entire length of the trail.
The rail-trail opens up as it passes the North Londonderry Park & Ride, which is the second key parking area for the route. Passing under I-93, the route veers south toward the center of town. Immediately following the underpass, you’ll pass some tranquil ponds and wetlands located on the east side of the trail.
After a few street crossings, the route follows Independence Drive a short distance before entering another beautiful wooded section. The remaining miles take you through some tranquil wetland areas—you might forget your proximity to I-93 and the town in this pristine natural sanctuary. The trail's southeast end is on NH 28/Rockingham Rd by the intersection with Seasons Lane. Watch for turtles and other wildlife as you cross through a peat bog in this section of trail.
Please note that there is currently no parking at the southeast terminus, and travel to and from this point would be challenging for nonmotorized users due to the current infrastructure. Plans are in the works to extend the trail across NH 28 and eventually create a direct connection with the Derry Rail Trail to the south. The southern end of the Derry Rail Trail connects seamlessly with the Windham Rail Trail, which connects to the Salem Bike-Ped Corridor and the Fremont Branch of the Rockingham Recreational Rail Trail.
Parking is available by the northwest end of the trail in the airport runway view parking lot (106 Harvey Road, Londonderry) at the southern end of the runway. Additional parking can be found at the Exit 5 Park & Ride (4 Symmes Drive, Londonderry), along Independence Drive (parallel roadside parking spaces), and at North Elementary School (19 Sanborn Rd, Londonderry) but only when school is not in session.
There is currently no dedicated parking at the trail’s southeast terminus. Visit the TrailLink map for all options and detailed directions.
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