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Ashuelot Recreational Rail Trail

Old 08-18-18, 09:04 AM
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Ashuelot Recreational Rail Trail

this looks interesting. might be 20-40 miles of high quality unpaved rail trail (Keene to Winchester)

The New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation : Ashuelot Recreational Rail Trail
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Old 08-20-18, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
this looks interesting. might be 20-40 miles of high quality unpaved rail trail (Keene to Winchester)

The New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation : Ashuelot Recreational Rail Trail
https://www.google.com/maps/@42.9139.../data=!5m1!1e3

Looking for long unpaved trails again, eh? It sure does look interesting; on my to-do list. Looks like you can make a connection to Cheshire Rail Trail

Also on my list: the two branches of Rockingham RT out of Manchester
https://www.nhstateparks.org/visit/r...l-fremont.aspx
https://www.nhstateparks.org/visit/r...ortsmouth.aspx

And the whopping 50-miles of Northern RT
https://www.nhstateparks.org/visit/r...ail-trail.aspx
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Old 08-20-18, 02:24 PM
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I did the southern section of the Ashuelot trail last year,I believe this is the section you are referring to. There is another section that runs north of Keene which I am not familiar with. The trail is a bit of a hodge podge of conditions, some improved, some not so much.There are some nice views of the river and abandoned mills. Closer to Keene the surface gets better. If you like a bit of adventure and mix of conditions you might like it, but be prepared for anything. The Rockingham Rail Trail is good out and back, 50 miles total.. The Northern Rail Trail is the best in New England of it's type. Have someone drop you off in West Lebanon and ride 58 miles of gravel to Boscawen while the other half goes shopping in Tilton or Concord and picks you up at the end. Highly recommended.
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Old 08-20-18, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
this looks interesting. might be 20-40 miles of high quality unpaved rail trail (Keene to Winchester)

The New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation : Ashuelot Recreational Rail Trail
i did the lower part of the Ashelot Trail last week, starting at the trailhead at the southern end. It had rained the night before so there were some wet spots that were easy to manage. A couple of downed trees, also no big problem. The trail surface is a bit rough but really not bad on my gravel bike with slicks. The trail in that section goes along the Ashelot River which roars and tumbles along.

I would have done more of the Ashelot, but I had already ridden the Fort Hill Rail Trail that morning​​​​​. The trailhead is just across the road from the Ashelot trailhead. Fort Hill runs along the Connecticut River and has some pretty spots, but I think itís little used and little maintained. Water was running in the trail and there were a number of trees down. My feet were pretty wet by the time I finished.

Someone mentioned the Northern Trail, which is very nice if you like a well maintained rail trail with a nice consistent surface and beautiful scenery.
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Old 08-20-18, 08:20 PM
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wow, love it all
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Old 08-21-18, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by autonomy
https://www.google.com/maps/@42.9139.../data=!5m1!1e3

Looking for long unpaved trails again, eh? It sure does look interesting; on my to-do list. Looks like you can make a connection to Cheshire Rail Trail

Also on my list: the two branches of Rockingham RT out of Manchester
https://www.nhstateparks.org/visit/r...l-fremont.aspx
https://www.nhstateparks.org/visit/r...ortsmouth.aspx

And the whopping 50-miles of Northern RT
https://www.nhstateparks.org/visit/r...ail-trail.aspx
Cheshire is great, as are the Portsmouth branch of the Rockingham and the Northern (at least the ten miles I rode). The Fremont is more of a sand pile dominated by dirt bikes of the internal combustion variety, and I won't ride it. I haven't been on the Ashuelot yet.

Be sure to wear orange or yellow when riding on NH paths during deer season. White can actually look like a deer tail and you are very likely to encounter hunters in just about any wooded area.
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Old 08-22-18, 10:48 AM
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Wow, great information, everyone!
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Old 08-22-18, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by autonomy
Looking for long unpaved trails again, eh?
lol yup, my shoes are too clean & Fall is the season to be in the woods!
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Old 08-26-18, 05:34 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions
Cheshire is great, as are the Portsmouth branch of the Rockingham and the Northern (at least the ten miles I rode). The Fremont is more of a sand pile dominated by dirt bikes of the internal combustion variety, and I won't ride it. I haven't been on the Ashuelot yet.

Be sure to wear orange or yellow when riding on NH paths during deer season. White can actually look like a deer tail and you are very likely to encounter hunters in just about any wooded area.
Which part of Cheshire did you ride? I tried it out starting at the northern end near Walpole earlier this summer and it was wet and overgrown with lots of debris.
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Old 08-27-18, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Greenhil


Which part of Cheshire did you ride? I tried it out starting at the northern end near Walpole earlier this summer and it was wet and overgrown with lots of debris.

West out of Keene for a few miles on a ride from Nashua to Brattleboro. I probably should have been clear that I wasn't on it for very far, but the section I rode was quite easy on my FX.
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Old 09-01-18, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Greenhil
i did the lower part of the Ashelot Trail last week, starting at the trailhead at the southern end
if I park in the dirt lot on the west side of route 63 how do I get to the trail? ride south on 63? to find the beginning?

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.7587.../data=!3m1!1e3
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Old 09-01-18, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
if I park in the dirt lot on the west side of route 63 how do I get to the trail? ride south on 63? to find the beginning?

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.7587.../data=!3m1!1e3
My rail trail guide says the actual trailhead is .2 miles south on 63. But I just went across the road from the parking lot. The trail is on the embankment next to the highway. Itís not very obvious at that point; just a track, but ride north on it a bit and the trail becomes clear and turns into the woods.
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Old 09-01-18, 04:13 PM
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Yes, it's right on the other side of the Rt 63, it parallels the road for a bit before heading into the woods.I believe the guide is correct, south a bit to an entrance and then north.
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Old 09-01-18, 09:02 PM
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thanks for confirming guys


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Old 09-04-18, 11:01 AM
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follow-up, did this yesterday in 88 degree weather. shaded, but still hot. wow, that's a long way to go without pavement & yes it is a bit sketchy in parts. I'll come back to edit this but met a cpl guys who did the whole round trip on fat bikes, well done guys! but after 3.5 hrs of sightseeing (22.8 miles of dirt, grass, sand, mud, incl a giant mud hole requiring a difficult climb around with the bike, stone dust & gravel), I bailed the bike for a taxi back to my car! thank you John w/"Adventure Taxi". that back seat was juuuust big enough for the bike w/o front wheel. catching a ride back to my car, should have been my plan from the start. that a/c seat in the Keene NH McDonalds was great. stretching two water bottles over the whole distance, was just that, a stretch. caution to anyone else doing this trail. there are no places to buy water along the route

parking:
GPS 199-141 New Hampshire Route 63 Hinsdale, NH
(fyi this is several miles South of Hinsdale Ctr)
Route 63 is also called Northfield Road

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Old 09-06-18, 08:45 AM
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critters, I saw a black mink & the back of some sort of feral cat & these guys






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Old 09-06-18, 09:26 AM
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bridges: there's no shortage! especially no shortage of sketchy bridges! yikes, most have no side rails so you could ride right off the side! the rotting bottoms have some visible nails (& holes), so watch out!







the covered bridge was beautiful, tho!





visiting it def added some time to my trip. I rode up & down & both sides for pics & vids. some ppl were dipping their toes in the water. so jealous, it was so hot!


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Old 09-06-18, 09:31 AM
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old rail road stuff, just remembered I found a small piece of coal when I climbed around a mud hole, have to go dig it out of my bag! some of the old bldgs were a bit sketchy so I wouldn't encourage anyone to linger that area too long. if I recall the old mills? were south of the covered bridge



the trail takes you right thru this person's yard. I don't understand the no trespassing sign with the trail going right thru






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Old 09-06-18, 09:37 AM
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pretty trail & come the fall will be gorgeous! & having the river right there is a lovely plus! man it was so hot I kept looking for a place to jump in but there really aren't any "beaches" that I could see





if this was on my side & easy to get to I would have dipped my toes & maybe more!



would have been fun to do some sunning on this rock!



view from one of the many (5?) bridges



this field is closer to Keene I think (this tree was just 1 of several obstacles)



another interesting landscape feature (& where I found the coal) was this weird hill I had to traverse to get around the mud hole (dark area at lower right of photo)


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Old 09-06-18, 09:53 AM
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trail conditions

trail start at southern end (dark opening in center of pic)



the maps make it look like the trail is further from the road & maybe it is, but riding this trail/lane next to the road looks like it's more intentional & it keeps you out of a farmers field. at the top left of this photo you can barely make out the over exposed parking lot



if a tree is down, you either go under or over it. for one of them I had to lift the bike high over a tree about waist high, then crawl under, this one was high enough to tilt & go under



lots of the trail was good





wider tires are better (45 mm as I used or wider) lots of sandy spots. perfect trail for fat bikes but not required for dry conditions like this. add lots of rain or or some snow & things will get sketchy, quickly, in some spots



including plain sand along the power lines for which I had to air-down for more flotation





sometimes the soil is soft & loose, or maybe it's just dark sand? airing down definitely helped


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Old 09-06-18, 10:06 AM
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WTB Riddlers shallow tread provided good flotation, exactly why I got them



lots of landscape changes



the mud hole. fat bike guys told me they rolled right thru it. in hindsight maybe I should have tested the depth with a stick before climbing around it. it looked questionable & I wanted to keep my feet dry. had a lot of miles planned beyond this, including coming back



the hill climb around it!



one of the few road crossings


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Old 09-06-18, 10:13 AM
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bike stuff

aired down the Riddlers (which I love) for the softer stuff, but when I do I develop a slow leak. weird. I should just get wider wheels or another bike like the Marin Muirwoods! oh yeah! or maybe I shouldn't let out so much air?



when the taxi showed up, I realized the rear tire was low. I'll save tube changing for another day. this is when I got home



from bushwhacking around the mudhole



since I had 2 cams in the pouch, the phone rode in the side pocket. I'm liking this bag!



no cleats today! just some old hikers & my trusty DIY 1/2 clips!


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Old 09-06-18, 01:36 PM
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cpl vids





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Old 09-06-18, 04:37 PM
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Thanks for the pics and vid. There was a nice new house for sale right on the side of the trail just north of the covered bridge when I was there. Great location on the river.
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Old 09-07-18, 05:26 AM
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Thanks for the report! Other than the Northern Rail Trail, my experience with rail trails on this side of NH is that they’re pretty much like this. Next time you’re over in this direction try the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail section between Danville and St. Johnsbury Vt (about 30 miles out and back) or the stretch of the Montpelier-Wells River Rail Trail that goes through Groton State Forest (about 20 miles round trip).
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