Cheshire Recreational Rail Trail

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Trail Overview

This re-purposed railroad is a level, gravel haven for bikers, hikers, and snowmobilers that runs from Walpole to Fitzwilliam.
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Trail Activity
Walking Bicycling Horseback riding Ungroomed cross-country skiing Snowmobiling
Length
42.0 miles, One Way
Difficulty
Easy, Moderate, Advanced
Towns
Fitzwilliam (NH), Keene (NH), Marlborough (NH), Swanzey (NH), Troy (NH), Walpole (NH), Westmoreland (NH)
Surface
Gravel/Crushed Stone/Cinder, Sand, Packed Earth/Dirt
Pets
Permitted on leash
Fees
No
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Description

The Cheshire Rail Trail stretches for 42 miles between NH-12 near Bookseller Road and the New Hampshire–Massachusetts state line at NH-12. In Keene, the trail includes a beautiful stone arch bridge over the Ashuelot River. The trail takes a detour through Keene and then returns to the abandoned rail path on either side of downtown. The trail is used by hikers, mountain bikers (road bikes would have a tough time), snowmobilers, and equestrians. In addition, it is sometimes used by mushers in the winter.

The trail travels by some beautiful New Hampshire scenery, including Rockwood Pond, a nice place to swim in summer. It also passes through some charming towns, such as Troy, where there is an old railroad depot, and Fitzwilliam, where users can visit the Depot General Store in Fitzwilliam Village.

Other Information

Trail conditions change often due to weather or maintenance schedules. Before you head out, click here for up-to-date conditions and closure information. 

Trail Manager

This trail is managed by the New Hampshire Bureau of Trails and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation Bureau of Rail and Transit. For more information, please visit New Hampshire's Recreational Rail Trails online, or contact:

NH Bureau of Trails
172 Pembroke Road
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: (603) 271-3254
nhtrails@dncr.nh.gov
View website
NH DOT - Bureau of Rail and Transit
Room G25
JOM Building
PO Box 483 | 7 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03302-0483
Phone: (603) 271-2468
Bureau66@dot.nh.gov
View website
City of Keene, Parks and Recreation
312 Washington Street
Keene, NH 03431
Phone: (603) 357-9829
View website

Trail Tips

Plan Ahead and Prepare
Know your limits – it’s okay to turn back. Your home is the ultimate destination, not the summit.

Trailhead Information

Northern Terminus: From Walpole, drive north on Main Street and turn left with Main Street as it continues north. Stay on Main Street for 1.4 miles then continue straight onto NH-12 North/NH-123 South. Turn left into the road side parking area where the trailhead is located to the south.

Access to the southern half of the trail: The southern branch of the trail begins in downtown Keene. To access the trail from the Keene post office, turn right (north) on Main Street and continue for 0.1 miles. Turn left onto Emerald Street and continue for 0.2 miles. Turn right onto School Street then right onto Gilbo Avenue. Make the first right into the parking lot off the right of Gilbo Avenue; the trail is between Gilbo Avenue and the parking lot. 

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