Located in the northeastern portion and New England region of the U.S., New Hampshire is a state that offers countless opportunities for exciting mountain biking. Bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean, the “Granite State,” as New Hampshire is known, boasts a variety of different terrains, ranging from its towering snow-capped mountains to its miles of coastline along the Atlantic shore. Within these gorgeous landscapes lie a great number of biking trails that are guaranteed to please every level of rider.
To help you better explore all that New Hampshire has to offer, below we have highlighted five of the state’s most popular mountain biking courses and provided a brief recap of each trail.
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Bear Brook State Park
Situated in the city of Allenstown, New Hampshire, Bear Brook State Park—the largest developed park in the state—encompasses roughly 10,000 acres of natural beauty. The park’s awesome trail system accommodates riders of all skill and ability levels. Courses consist of flowing single track, wide double track and dirt roads, all of which include a variety of obstacles and unique features that exponentially increase the fun and excitement to be had by riders.
The trail system at Bear Brook State Park includes three colorfully-marked courses intended for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders, respectively. The beginner trail, which spans six miles when ridden as an out-and-back loop, features a mix of double track, dirt and paved road—a course that is mostly flat save for a few obstacles that allow riders to practice their bike handling skills.
The 14-mile intermediate course at Bear Brook State Park boasts a combination of double and single track, semi-grueling ascents and fast downhills, and a series of technical granite steps. Expert riders will be truly challenged by the park’s advanced loop, a 17-mile course that traverses both the Catamount Hill Trail and the Cascade Trail. Here riders are forced to negotiate a punishing uphill climb, followed by a rapid and technically challenging freefall that is sure to bring them back to this course time and again.
The mountain biking portion of Bear Brook State Park is located on Podunk Road, just a short distance from the I-93 off ramp in Allenstown.
Located in the towns of Exeter and Newfields, New Hampshire, Fort Rock is the common title for two distinct town forests: the Henderson-Swasey Town Forest in the city of Exeter and the Oakland Town Forest in Newfields. The two forests are separated by Route 101, but they are joined by a large metal culvert that runs under the highway.
The trails at Fort Rock are the perfect recipe for hard-working riders looking for a range of technical challenges. Each trail in this popular system is littered with challenging rocks and roots, and the portion of the course that runs under Route 101 is especially unique for New England mountain biking.
Mountain biking at Fort Rock can only be described as difficult and challenging. However, the taxing uphill climbs do not go unrewarded, as the downhill sections provide more than their fair share of exhilaration. Of the two properties, Oakland Hills seems to offer the most technical obstacles, while the courses at Henderson-Swasey hosts the majority of mellow and scenic trails that are ideal for beginners and families.
Great Glen Trails
The Great Glen Trails, located in the city of Gorham, are positioned in Northern New Hampshire adjacent to Mount Washington Great Glen. The collective trails at this popular mountain biking locale offer something for every level of rider, from beginners looking to improve their bike-handling skills to expert riders seeking to test the limits of speed.
The incredibly varied Great Glen Trail system, with courses for every level of rider, promises hours, if not days of outdoor cycling entertainment. Built amid some of the most breathtaking natural scenery the state of New Hampshire has to offer, the trail system is the perfect getaway for those looking to escape the noise and pollution of the big city while simultaneously improving their overall physical fitness.
Great Glen Trails are open year-round (save for periods of inclement weather) and there is no park admission fee. Trails are maintained both by the city of Gorham and the local mountain biking club.
Located in the town of Hill, New Hampshire, Page Hill is rapidly becoming one of the state’s premier mountain biking locations. Over the past three years, the local mountain bike chapter—CNH-NEMBA—has devoted oodles of resources to the trails at this park; a park that opened near the end of 2010 when the city’s Lakes Region Conservation Trust approached that chapter about developing trails on this 470 acre parcel. The result of these efforts was an extremely challenging, seven-mile single track and double track course intended for intermediate to advanced riders only.
The various tracks that make up the Page Hill mountain bike trail system gives riders of all skill levels an ideal locale to practice, hone, and ultimately master a variety of bike handling skills. The wide and relatively flat double track here caters mostly to intermediate riders, while the ultra-fast single track, which juts off the main trail in certain sections, affords more experienced riders the opportunity to seek thrills while navigating the mostly-downhill, obstacle-laden track. The park’s wide variety of trails are colorfully marked according to the level of difficulty they present, making this locale one of the more popular destination’s among New Hampshire’s mountain biking community.
The abbreviated trail at Mayflower Hill is the perfect place to ride when you have very little time. Located in the town of Milford, New Hampshire, the Mayflower Hill trail encompasses a mere one mile of track, but what it lacks in distance it more than makes up for in technical challenges and natural beauty.
Riders intent on finding the perfect spot for mountain biking should definitely consider a trip to the Mayflower Hill trail. Nestled among a variety of different hardwood trees, with bubbling creeks creating a cool, secluded environment, this popular trail offers a combination of wide, meandering double track, grinding climbs and a series of quick, technical descents that have to be experienced to fully appreciate. The Mayflower Hill trail is managed by the city of Milford and the local mountain biking club. It can be accessed year round, save for periods of inclement and potentially dangerous weather.
image credit: The Park Explorer