White Mountain National Forest

Kankamagus Highway, White Mountains National forest
Kankamagus Highway, White Mountains National forest (Alan Copson/Photographer's Choice/Getty)

Mountain biking in the White Mountain National Forest is relatively unrestricted at this time, though bikes are prohibited in Wilderness Areas and on the Appalachian Trail. Otherwise, bikers generally have access to the Forest's entire network of roads, as well as hiking and ski trails.

Cherry Mountain Loop

The Cherry Mountain Loop is a major ride that circumnavigates the Dartmouth Range in the northwestern Forest. Heading up to Jefferson Notch along the highest highway in the state, the trail tempts riders to reach even greater heights on a sidetrack to the summit of Mount Martha (3,554 feet). There are also some gorgeous waterfalls on this 25-mile, intermediate-level pedal.

Hastings Trail

Another good route is the Hastings Trail, which follows old roads as it heads towards Hastings, Maine. Beginning at the State line on US Route 2, follow the trail to the swinging bridge at Hastings. Cross the bridge and head north on Rte. 113 to Gilead, Maine, then west on Rte. 2 to the parking area. Total distance of this loop is about 6.8 miles.

Highwater Trail

The Highwater Trail provides more challenging and longer rides than the Hastings Trail. Beginning at the swinging bridge at Hastings, head southwest on the Highwater Trail. The terrain on this 8.9-mile trail varies from flat to quite steep in some sections. There are a number of stream crossings that must be made on foot.

For a good loop ride, you can cross Wild River at the swinging bridge near Moriah Brook or the wooden bridge at the junction of the Highwater and Wild River Trails. In both locations you can return to the Hastings parking lot via the Wild River Trail and Wild River Road. The Highwater Trail follows Wild River for much of the 8.9 miles—come in the fall for the best views.

Bretton Woods

Bretton Woods is a low-key ski resort that turns into a home for mountain bikers in the summer. Bikers can buy lift tickets for themselves and their bikes, then enjoy marked single-track rides all over the mountain. Trips range from pleasant jaunts through White Mountain forest to screaming downhill descents on Bretton Woods ski trails.

Pemigewasset Trails

There are 30 biking routes on the Pemigewasset Ranger District to challenge fat-tire freaks of all skill levels. For beginners, Beebe River Road is a rolling ramble across a covered bridge and along the meandering Beebe River. Intermediate riders can take the East Rumney-Campton Bog Road Route to find out what a real bog smells like. If you don't mind a lot of downshifting, the Timber Camp Trail rewards expert bikers with dramatic views of Painted Cliff and sweeping vistas from Mt. Kancamagus to Mt. Tripyramid.

Detailed mountain biking maps covering the Pemigewasset Ranger District are available from the Pemigewasset Ranger Station.

Mountain Biking Trails in the Pemigewasset Ranger District

Beebe River Road
Blueberry Mountain Trail
Bog Pond Route
Brown Ash Swamp Route
Chandler Hill Road
Chickenboro Brook Route
Dickey Notch Trail Route
East Pond Route (from Tripoli Road)
East Pond Route (from Kancamagus Highway)
Ellsworth Pond Route
East Rumney-Campton Bog Road
Flat Mountain Pond Route
Forest Service Road 113
Gordon Pond Trail
Greeley Ponds Route
Jeep Road Route
Little East Pond Route
Livermore Road
Meader (Wachipauka) Pond
Peaked Hill Pond Trail
Sandwich Notch Road
Smarts Brook - Tri Town Route
Thornton Gore Route
Timber Camp Trail
Tripoli Road
Tunnel Brook Trail and North South Road
Warren-East Haverhill RR Grade
West Branch-Forest Service Road 378

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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