Ashuelot Rail Trail is a 21.6 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Keene, New Hampshire that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.
off road driving
cross country skiing
The Ashuelot Rail-Trail, located near Keene, New Hampshire is a 23 mile, four season trail with something for everyone. If you enjoyed "The Bridges of Madison County," you'll love the covered bridges of the Ashuelot Rail Trail. The Monadnock Region is famous for its beautiful covered bridges of varying types, and the trail is a perfect way to visit the bridges. The best starting spot for your trail tour is in Keene, New Hampshire. It is a fun place to grab some supplies and maybe a hot or cold beverage before you hit the trail which starts near the intersection of Emerald Street and Ralston Street, not too far from the center of town. Use the map that comes with this guide to help you get started. This trail is good for biking and hiking from late spring well into fall. During the winter, it is open for nordic skiing and snowmobiling. Snowshoeing is another winter option, but the trail is usually pretty well packed from the skiers and snowmobilers. Although it can get pretty warm during the summer, the Ashuelot Rail Trail has lots of shade. It's still advisable to do your most strenuous activities in the early morning during the midst of summer. The Autumn is great for many reasons outlined in the "tips" below, but one other reason is the cemeteries. They make a great fall/halloween backdrop whether you are a fan of the macabre or just a history buff. They are fascinating, educational, interesting, and sometimes spooky. The trail follows the Ashuelot River the whole way, so it is dotted w/ the remnants of old mills, quaint villages, and abandoned railroad memorabilia. Be sure to glance through the waypoints in this guide either before you leave or while you're on the trail. The Ashuelot Rail Trail has many fascinating side trips to explore from the covered bridges to the local festivals. In the process of getting some great exercise, you will also be educated, entertained, and exhilarated.
I parked at Colony Mill Marketplace shopping plaza in downtown Keene. Headed south on the paved rail trail. Encountered a crew running brush cutting equipment right from the start. You will have to take your life into your own hands trying to cross route 101. I can't believe they didn't even put in a cross walk here. Crazy dangerous crossing that took many minutes of waiting and a final brave sprint across traffic. Next time I would seek out parking south of 101 to ride this trail. Nice ride from here into West Swanzey. At Railroad street, the trail turned into a big bunch of mud traps. Take what you like, but I was looking for a fast ride to avoid deer flies, and I opted to bypass on N Grove Street to what I hoped would be another better maintained stretch of the trail. What I found was less maintained double and single track with tall weeds, sand, and more deep mud holes. Awesome if that's what you're looking for, but the deer flies were horrible at that slower pace. Great ride with lots of variety, but it isn't for beginners after Swanzey. I encountered tracks from the brush mowing machines everywhere on the full stretch I rode. Perhaps that factors into all of the mud holes. But they were plentiful, and the mud stunk like poo.