Saturday, June 21, 2014

Biking the Derry Rail Trail

Beavers are responsible for most of the wetlands here.
The first day of summer and the weather was gorgeous in New Hampshire -- the perfect day to explore the Derry Rail Trail which has been on my "wish list" for a while. (My apologies upfront if I don't have all my facts straight on this one; the Derry Rail Trail Alliance website seems a tad outdated, so I can only share the little bit I know.)

I definitely loved this trail! It has easy access, is completely paved and almost 100% flat. Now I know some bikers would say that all sounds pretty "boring." But I enjoyed the scenery, the coolness of the woodlands, and the bits of history along the way. Best of all, there's a new section of trail (opened in 2012) connecting it to the Windham Rail Trail. The Derry portion is just under three miles and the Windham Trail is about four miles, for a round-trip total of 14 miles. We probably biked about 8 miles of it today.

Along the Way
The Derry Trail starts in downtown near Sabotino's Restaurant, which is located in an old rebuilt Depot Station. The trail follows an abandoned Boston & Maine railroad bed and has a few well-marked road crossings. During one stop, we saw a big snapping turtle's head moving in the water.

There was a great breeze as we biked through the trees and a few stone cut-throughs. On our right (headed to Windham), there was a miles-long stonewall in the woods. At one point, we even saw a stonewall that ended in a small wetland (below).

Now for some quick bits of history: There's a nicely restored train depot where the Derry and Windham trails connect, as well as a restored caboose at the end of the Derry Trail. None of these have indoor access, but at least they're neat to look at. There's also an old cellar hole (state archeological site) with an informative marker. I'll leave those details for you to discover on your own! If you venture here, be sure to write in and let us know your thoughts.

Look closely and you'll see a stone wall in the water!
Things to Know Before You Go: Parking is available in a municipal lot behind Sabotino's. From Broadway Street, take a right on Abbot Court. You can also park in Hood Park; Take a left onto Manning Street just after crossing the red crosswalk in front of Sabotino's. Follow Manning Street past the courthouse to where it ends at a stop sign. Hood Park is right in front of you.

Approved Uses: Like most NH trails, this one is mixed use. It appears to be a great place for families. We saw bikers, runners, in-line skaters and a sign saying that snowmobiles are allowed. I believe ATV's are not allowed.

No comments: