A mountain biker goes past a single trek at Bear Brook State Park

Best Mountain Biking Trails at Bear Brook State Park

By Mitchell Craig

Nestled in the heart of New Hampshire, Bear Brook State Park is a mountain biker’s paradise. Covering over 10,000 acres, the park offers an extensive network of trails that cater to beginners and experts alike. Whether you’re a seasoned pro looking for a challenging ride or a beginner eager to explore the great outdoors, Bear Brook has something for you. 

Before you enjoy your visit to Bear Brook State Park, be sure you’re familiar with park policies as well as bike regulations. Class 1 and 2 E-Bikes can be used on designated mountain biking trails. Be sure to use bike etiquette to allow those climbing uphill the right-of-way. Consider wearing protective equipment such as gloves, helmets, and eye protection to ensure your safety to yourself and others. Refer to nhstatepark.org for more information or trail closures. As always, use common sense and good judgment when biking during inclement weather and always leave your itinerary with a responsible person. 

Map showing the parking area off Podunk Road.
Parking is accessible via Podunk Road.

Access the mountain biking trails from the hiker/biker trailhead, located directly off Podunk Road. Here you’ll find bathrooms, a trailhead kiosk, parking spots, and great access to single trek, double trek and dirt road mountain biking trails. Here’s a rundown of the best biking trails Bear Brook has to offer: 

Hemlock 

Difficulty: Advanced

Distance: 4 mile (loop) 

This is the trail that put Bear Brook on the map. Rivaling nearly any mountain biking trail in New England, this trail delivers the goods. Start at the hiker/biker trailhead and bear left onto Pitch Pine Trail. Follow signs for Hemlock-1 and you’ll be sure to find delight on this flowy, single-trek section of trail. Continue on to Hemlock-2 where the trail has technical descents and switchbacks that rewards riders with an exhilarating downhill. Bear right onto Hemlock-3 and enjoy a leisure pace back to the main campground road. From here, take a left on the campground road and catch your breath all the way back to the parking lot.

Check out this video below for a sneak peak of what Hemlock Trail has to offer:

Mountain Biking on Hemlock Trail

Squirrel – Moose – Little Bear – Big Bear

Difficulty: Intermediate

Distance: 3 miles (loop)

Want a mix of uphill riding and downhill exhilaration? Look no further! Squirrel – Moose – Little Bear to Big Bear is a perfect combination of heart-pounding ascent coupled with a fun, flowy section of downhill. Start at the hiker/biker trailhead and take a gradual uphill bike ride on Squirrel. Once you’ve reached the top of Squirrel, merge onto Moose trail for a flat, cruise ride until it drops you off in Hayes Field. From there, follow signs to Little Bear, where the real downhill starts. Enjoy the smooth single trek until you reach the conjunction of Big Bear. Enjoy the explosive downhill on Big Bear as you’ll encounter switchbacks, rock features, and a great flowy finish back towards the hiker/biker trailhead. 

Map showing the route for Squirrel - Moose - Little Bear - Big Bear.
Trail route for Squirrel – Moose – Little Bear – Big Bear.

Camp Trail – Broken Boulder – Bobcat – Moose- Squirrel 

Difficulty: Intermediate

Distance: 5 miles (loop)

Enjoy a beginner-friendly, single trek ride around Bear Brook! From the hiker/biker trailhead, follow signs to Camp Trail. Enjoy the slight uphill and downhill through a hemlock forest until you turn right onto Broken Boulder. Follow Broken Boulder through a mature, 80-year old hemlock-pine forest. For an added bonus, turn off to Smith Pond Campsite and take a break at tranquil Smith Pond. Continue on Broken Boulder until you turn right onto Bobcat. Take the single trek trail and cross through the heart of Bear Brook until you reach Moose Trail. Enjoy the downhill on Moose Trail and finish up your ride on Squirrel until you reach the hiker/biker trailhead. 

Map showing the route for Camp Trail - Broken Boulder - Bobcat - Moose - Squirrel.
Trail route for Camp Trail – Broken Boulder – Bobcat – Moose – Squirrel.

Camp Trail – Spruce Pond – Podunk 

Difficulty: Beginner

Distance: 7 miles (loop)

Take a leisurely stroll through Bear Brook and stop by some of the park’s namesake attractions! From the hiker/biker trailhead, follow Camp Trail as it takes you through a hemlock-pitch pine forest. Follow Camp Trail until you arrive at Beaver Campground, where a camp store is waiting for you with drinks, ice cream, and food. On a hot day, cool off in Beaver Pond and enjoy a snack on Beaver Beach. From there, follow Spruce Pond Road as it leads you through a historic Civilian Conservation Corps site. A few miles on Spruce Pond Road, you’ll encounter the grave of an unknown Civil War soldier. From there, enjoy the slight downhill on Podunk Road back to the hiker/biker trailhead. 

Map showing the route for Camp Trail - Spruce Pond - Podunk.
Trail route for Camp Trail – Spruce Pond – Podunk.

Squirrel – Salt Lick – Bobcat – Chipmunk – Ferret – Ledge – Little Bear – Big Bear 

Difficulty: Advanced

Distance: 6 miles (loop)

Enjoy challenging, technical descent on the infamous Ledge Trail. Start by going uphill on Squirrel until you merge onto Salt Lick Trail.  From there, follow the Bobcat Trail before you join the rocky, technical Chipmunk Trail. Ride past the historic Leavitt Cemetery until it merges onto Ferret Trail. Follow the Ferret Trail until you reach a scenic overlook at Bear Hill Pond. Enjoy a snack and rest until you’ll take Ferret Trail into Ledge Trail. Here you’ll find rock features, tight corners, and a fast descent down to Hayes Field. Finish up your ride by going down Little Bear Trail to Big Bear Trail for a well-deserved cold drink at the parking lot. 

Map showing the route for Squirrel - Salt Lick - Bobcat - Chipmunk - Ferret - Ledge - Little Bear - Big Bear.
Trail route for Squirrel – Salt Lick – Bobcat – Chipmunk – Ferret – Ledge – Little Bear – Big Bear.

Happy riding!

Bear Brook State Park Map

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Discover Power of Parks SCA Interpreters

Discover the Power of Parks is presented by New Hampshire State Parks in collaboration with the Student Conservation Association and AmeriCorps and made possible by generous financial support from Eversource. The program offers a look into the natural world through hands-on programming. Interpretive programs focus on connecting participants with nature and building appreciation for New Hampshire's unmatched natural heritage. Programs include guided hikes, interpretive tours, and imaginative environmental workshops for children and families. Programs are offered free to guests with paid park admission fee. No pre-registration is required.

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