Presidential Recreational Rail Trail

25 miles of very scenic re-purposed railway leads users by wetlands, ponds, and historic remnants of the industrial age, while surrounded by spectacular views of the White Mountains. 
Trail Activity
Length
25.0 miles, One Way
Difficulty
Easy, Moderate
Towns
Gorham (NH), Jefferson (NH), Randolph (NH), Whitefield (NH)
Surface
Packed Earth/Dirt, Gravel/Crushed Stone/Cinder
Pets
Permitted on leash
Fees
No
Other Activities

Description

The 25-mile Presidential Recreational Rail Trail runs from the Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge east to Gorham, NH. The trail skirts the Presidential Range along the edge of the White Mountain National Forest as it follows portions of the Israel and Moose Rivers. Its surface is predominately gravel. 

Near Cherry Pond the trail enters marshland with bridges carrying users over the wetter trail sections. Wildlife watching is good here—look for moose and many species of birds!—and the pond has an observation deck that makes for a nice picnic spot. From the pond the trail carries on to the White Mountain Regional Airport.

Users can see remnants from the old railroad days, including a plant where water was bottled for transport to the cities. The rail trail is built along a line once used by the Boston & Maine Railroad to haul lumber and paper between Whitefield and Berlin, the latter of which, perfectly situated on the Androscoggin River in a heavily forested region, became a thriving mill town. 

Users that are particularly interested in the history of the area's railroad can visit the refurbished railway station in Gorham that houses the Gorham Railroad Museum. 

NOTE: From Cherry Pond to Gorham, the trail is open for Off-Highway Recreational Vehicle use only during winter months (with continuous snow cover). The trail east of the parking area on US-2 in Gorham is open to OHRV use all year. 

 

Trail Manager

For more information about the trail, 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

Trail Tips

Plan Ahead and Prepare
Be prepared to find your way home. Familiarize yourself with the area before you set out and bring your map and compass along.
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Trailhead Information

Parking is available at both ends of the trail as well as at hiking parking lots in between. Note that some of the hiking lots can be very busy on weekends from May through October.

Western trailhead: From Whitefield, take US-3 South out of town for 1.7 miles. Turn left onto Colby Road and continue for 1.5 miles. Turn right onto Airport Road and continue for 1.4 miles. Parking and the trailhead are located on the left side of the road.

Eastern trailhead: Parking is in a large lot along US-2 in Gorham, 1 mile west of the US-2/NH-26 intersection.

Click on a parking icon to get custom directions
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