COMMON PATHWAY-OLD RAILROAD TRAIL-POWDER MILL POND RAIL TRAIL; NORTHERN SECTION:

PETERBOROUGH-HANCOCK, NEW HAMPSHIRE

MONADNOCK BRANCH RAIL TRAIL; SOUTHERN SECTION:

JAFFREY-RINDGE, NEW HAMPSHIRE

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:       August 21, 2023

Length:                 Powder Mill Pond Rail Trail; Northern Section; 1.4 miles

                                Old Railroad Trail; Northern Section; 4 miles

                               Common Pathway; Northern Section; 2.6 miles

                               Monadnock Branch Rail Trail; Southern Section; Jaffrey Section; 2 miles

                               Monadnock Branch Rail Trail; Southern Section; Rindge Section; 5.6 miles

Difficulty:             Powder Mill Pond Rail Trail; Northern Section; Moderate. Hard packed dirt rail trail. Less developed.

                                Old Railroad Trail; Northern Section; Moderate. Hard packed dirt rail trail. Less developed.

                               Common Pathway; Northern Section; Easy. Flat paved/hard packed dirt and gravel rail trail with some on-road sections.

                                Monadnock Branch Rail Trail; Southern Section; Jaffrey Section; Easy. Flat paved and hard packed gravel rail trail. 

                               Monadnock Branch Rail Trail; Southern Section; Rindge Section; Moderate. Flat, hard packed dirt & gravel rail trail. Southern section less developed.

Directions:     

For the Common Pathway; Northern Section in Peterborough [Southern End]; From the junction of Routes 124 & 202 in Jaffrey; Travel north on Route 202 for 5.3 miles. The Noone Falls Plaza parking lot is on your right. 

For the Old Railroad Trail; Northern Section in Peterborough [Southern End]; Continue north on Route 202 through Peterborough to Routes 123 & 202 north. Turn left on Main St over the river, then right on Summer St and travel north. The Summer St parking lot will be on your right after 0.9 miles.

For the Old Railroad Trail; Northern Section in Peterborough [Northern End]; From the junction of Routes 123 & 202 in Peterborough; Travel north along Route 202 for 4.2 miles. The Route 202 parking lot is on your left. From here if your turn right onto Scott Mitchell Road and pass by the entrance for the Recycling Center you'll come to the Scott Mitchell Road parking lot on the right.

For the Monadnock Branch Rail Trail; Southern Section; Jaffrey Section [Northern End]; From the junction of Routes 124 & 202 in Jaffrey travel north on Route 202. Take a right on Webster St and park next to the trailhead at Legion Field parking lot.   

For the Monadnock Branch Rail Trail; Southern Section; Rindge Section [Southern End]; From the junction of Routes 119 & 202 travel south on Route 202. Look for the parking lot w/Map Board on your left where the trail crosses Route 202.

The Monadnock Branch Rail Trail, also called the Jack Dupree Memorial Trail in Jaffrey, the Rindge Rail Trail in Rindge and the Common Pathway in Peterborough follow the old rail bed of the old Monadnock Branch Railroad. This was one of many extension line railroads built to help expand the Fitchburg Railroad/Vermont & Massachusetts Railroad into New Hampshire. This line was to serve the New Hampshire towns on the eastern side of Mount Monadnock, mainly Jaffrey and Peterborough. The Monadnock finally opened from Winchendon, MA to Jaffrey, NH in December 1870 and then to Peterborough by late spring 1871, from which the Peterborough & Hillsborough Railroad could take traffic further north to Concord. The Old Railroad Trail follows the old rail bed of the former Peterborough & Hillsborough Railroad  north into Hancock. For more information visit; PETERBOROUGH TRAILS .

Common Pathway & Old Railroad Trail; Northern Section:

Starting from Noone Falls Plaza parking lot in Peterborough [Southern End]; The paved Common Pathway travels North as it heads into the woods next to Route 202. The trail parallels Route 202 above to your left and the Contoocook River down along your right. The pavement is getting old and cracked but still fairly smooth. The river pulls away and you soon come to Grove St, next to Route 202 at 0.6 miles where the paved trail ends. Head right on-road (low volume traffic) along Grove St extension to a plaza and parking lot. Follow the edge of the plaza alongside the river and you'll pick up the paved trail on your right after 1 mile. The trail travels underneath Wilton Rd alongside the river then back out to Wilton Rd. Head right to Grove St at 1.2 miles. Here the trail continues north on-road (sidewalk available). Pass by Putnam Park before crossing over Nubanusit Brook (small Dam) and entering downtown at 1.6 miles. Turn right on Main St then left up Summer St (sidewalk/narrow paved trail available). Pick up the paved Old Railroad Trail on your right at 2.6 miles. The trail follows the Contoocook River, passing by the Summer Street parking lot, before returning to Summer St at 2.8 miles. Continue north a short distance along a BIKE LANE before the trail heads back into the woods. You lose the river, but not the wetlands associated with it. A crosswalk over Hunt Rd at 3.4 miles brings you to another short on-road section along Tarbell Rd (residential). This brings you to Nichols Lane where you continue straight past the gate and utilize the paved service Rd (closed to traffic). The Service Rd ends after 0.3 miles and the paved trail resumes heading into deep woods. A straight shot through a tall Hemlock stand. When you reach a roundabout for Prescott Hill & Southfield Lane roads at 4.6 miles follow it left to rejoin the now hard packed gravel trail into the woods. Come alongside Route 202 and follow the narrow paved trail as it parallels then travels underneath Route 202 at 5.3 miles. 

Note; A dirt trail on your left just before the tunnel leads to the Route 202 parking lot which is directly opposite Scott Mitchell Rd.

After emerging from the tunnel the trail becomes hard packed dirt & gravel. The trail parallels Scott Mitchell Rd, crosses the entrance for the Recycling Center and comes to a sign on your right at 5.5 miles. A dirt path on your left leads to the Scott Mitchell Rd parking area. The hard packed dirt trail continues north into deep woods. You'll occasionally travel alongside the Contoocook River. Cross a dirt road into Hancock at 6.6 miles, where you'll find open fields along your left. 

The Powder Mill Pond Rail Trail is rougher and less developed, with more tree roots to contend with. Cross over Cavender Rd (dirt) and along a driveway before rejoining the rail trail. Come to a culvert for the Ferguson Brook at 7 miles. This is as far as I traveled. The trail continues north out to Forest Rd at 8 miles.

Note; If you travel right on-road for 0.6 miles you can check out the Hancock-Greenfield Covered Bridge.

Monadnock Branch Rail Trail; Southern Section:

Starting from Webster Street in Jeffrey [Northern End]; The paved Monadnock Branch Rail Trail; Jaffrey Section heads South past the ball field. 

Note; The trail is currently undeveloped heading North towards Peterborough.

You come alongside Route 202 to your right and Rite Aid to your left and come to Route 124. Turn right to reach the cross-light over Route 124 followed by a second cross-light over Stratton Rd. Turn left up Stratton Rd to return to the paved trail heading south on your right at a 1/4 mile. Kiosk here. You pass by the old RR Depot on your right, although, at least from the outside it retains none of the old depot look. Once you pass by a gate at next to the ball field at 0.4 miles the trail turns to a wide, hard packed gravel. Here you'll find wooden Mileage Markers every 1/4  mile for the Jaffrey section. You head into the woods and at 0.7 miles you come alongside the Contoocook River. Next, the trail travels alongside Children's Woods & Carey Park. Come to a side trail on your right at 1.2 miles on your right that leads to a bridge over a dam for a section of Contoocook Lake. You then travel over a causeway between two sections of the lake, which at this end is more of a marsh. Cross the town line into Rindge at 2 miles. This is where the Mileage Markers started from.  Cross Country Rd (dirt) at 2.4 miles where you'll find the Contoocook Boat Launch parking lot. Porto-Potty and Map Board here for the Rindge Rail Trail Section. The trail is a bit less developed, with some ATV damage, softer surface and narrower. Spot an old granite RR Mileage Marker to your left at 2.7  miles, followed by an old RR Semaphore signal as you cross over S Woodbound Rd. The trail narrows further as you follow a short berm and then travel alongside Route 202 for a bit. Pool Pond is across the road. After heading back into the woods you run into a short section of rail ties still embedded in the trail just before you cross W Main St at 3.9 miles. This was as far as I traveled. Pass by another old RR Semaphore signal as you head back into the woods. Come to Route 119 at 4.1 miles. Map Board. Caution; No cross-walk over this busy road. Come to the Route 202 parking area and Map Board. Caution; No cross-walk over this busy road. After crossing Route 202 the trail is less developed with more ATV issues. Pass by another old RR Semaphore signal as you cross Perkins Rd. You pass by a granite marker as you cross into MA at 7.6 miles. Here the trail follows a causeway between Robbins Brook pond and marsh. Past here I believe the trail is not in great shape. The rail bed goes to Jackson Ave in Winchendon at 9.5 miles, but I don't believe the rail bed is passable to here. 

HH

CLICK HERE FOR JAFFREY-RINDGE MAP

CLICK HERE FOR REGIONAL MAP

CLICK HERE FOR PETERBOROUGH TOWN MAP

CLICK HERE FOR COMMON PATHWAY MAP

CLICK HERE FOR OLD RAILROAD TRAIL MAP

 

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