Ashuelot Recreational Rail Trail

Nearly 22 miles of re-purposed railroad where users can see both a moose and converted railroad station on the same trail. 
Trail Activity
Length
21.2 miles, One Way
Difficulty
Easy, Moderate, Advanced
Towns
Hinsdale (NH), Keene (NH), Swanzey (NH), Winchester (NH)
Surface
Packed Earth/Dirt, Gravel/Crushed Stone/Cinder, Sand
Pets
Permitted on leash
Fees
No
Other Activities

Description

Given its covered bridges, historical aura and abundant wildlife, the Ashuelot Rail Trail (a.k.a. Ashuelot River Trail) has plenty to offer. The 21.2-mile route follows the corridor of the Ashuelot Railroad. Watch for the original granite mile markers, which pop up periodically along the trail. 

From the northern trailhead on Emerald Street near Keene State College, the trail heads south, tracing the Ashuelot River. Five miles of trail from NH-101 in Keene to Pine Street in West Swanzey have been improved with a stone dust surface. Biking and walking is very popular on these sections because of the level, smooth surface. South of Pine Street the trail surface is packed cinder, ballast, and dirt that takes a pounding under heavy rains, which give rise to sandy, muddy and even flooded trail sections. Biking is tough on this section and is only recommended for experienced mountain bikers. 

South of the railroad trestle the trail crosses into moose territory, where sightings are not infrequent. The trail passes through the historic town of Winchester and winds through an intricate latticework, covered bridge. Farther south, the trail passes by old mills, rusting boxcars, and winds along a ridge with riverside views. The southern terminus of the trail is just across the street from the Fort Hill Branch Rail Trail, so the two are easily combined. 

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

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

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

Trail Tips

Leave What You Find
Respect natural resources, cultural and historic items, and wildlife by looking rather than touching.
Legend
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Trailhead Information

Northern Terminus: From the Keene post office, turn right (north) onto Main Street and continue for 0.1 miles. Turn left onto Emerald Street and continue for 0.3 miles. Turn left into the parking area just after the crosswalk. The trail starts at the crosswalk.

Southern Terminus: From Hinsdale, drive south on NH-63 South/Northfield Road and continue for 2.1 miles. Pull into the parking area on the left side of the road. The trailhead is on the opposite side of the road. 

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
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