There are lots of great places to go biking in New Hampshire, in and out of the State Parks. Here are just a few of my favorites!
The Northern Rail Trail near Lebanon, NH is a 48 mile long trail – but you don’t need to do all of it. I rode from the Icehouse Road parking area near Lebanon to the Grafton Country Store, but there are places you could get off the trail before or after that. If you can, leave a car wherever you plan to stop, so you don’t have to ride back! I would definitely recommend doing something like the section of trail I did – it was a very scenic ride. Mascoma Lake alongside the trail at the start was beautiful on that sunny day. Stopping at one of the benches by the lake I saw a loon float by.
For a ride on a paved bike trail, I would recommend the bike route through Franconia Notch. I’ve done parts of this trail a few times and while there are a few ups and downs and a few bigger hills, it’s an easy trail, and it’s very smoothly paved. If you want to do the whole trail, I would suggest starting from the Cannon Mountain parking lot as it’s more downhill to ride back through from there. That said, since the trail parallels the road and stops at most of the same attractions, there are a lot of ways to get on the trail and you definitely don’t have to do the whole thing to enjoy it. A shorter bike ride between stops like the Basin and the Lafayette Campground, with a picnic and maybe a hike in there somewhere could be a great way to spend a day in Franconia Notch.
The Presidential Rail Trail near Gorham, NH is another good long trail. I started from the Castle Trail parking area and got off the trail at Jimtown Road. This fairly long section of trail was a lot easier than I had expected because although the road to the trailhead had a lot of big hills up and down, the bike trail was almost entirely gradually downhill or flat. The trail alternated between being in what was essentially a shady tree tunnel to being open with views of impressive mountains to the right, with a couple river crossings and a marshy area interspersed.
Moose Brook State Park is right near Presidential Rail Trail and is a good place to camp if you’re exploring the area. There are actually a lot of great mountain bike trails in Moose Brook State Park itself as well. Berry Farm Road is similar terrain-wise to the rail trails in that it’s a fairly well-packed dirt and gravel surface, but it’s a lot more hilly. What I found more interesting at Moose Brook was the array of interconnected single track trails branching off from Berry Farm Road. They really are a maze and none of the maps I found were very good or up to date, but it was hard to go very far without coming to a trail that lead back towards the road and very hard to actually get lost. This is a good place to go if you’re looking for somewhat more challenging terrain for mountain biking, and some of the places I found out in the woods there were really beautiful past just being a backdrop for a trail.
There are a ton more great places to bike in New Hampshire and I can’t even begin to say these few of my favorite places are necessarily the best – so take some time to explore and find your own favorites!