New Hampshire Introduces Bicycle Itineraries
Lancaster, New Hampshire - New Hampshire Grand has added a new Bicycle Itinerary to www.nhgrand.com, providing a Grand Tour of several routes to ride in northern New Hampshire to experience scenic views of foliage, mountains, woods and wildlife. Highlighted trails on the itinerary are located in: Jefferson, Stewartstown Hollow, Lancaster, Dixville Notch, Gorham, Shelburne, and Kelsey Notch.
"You haven’t been bike riding until you’ve ridden in the Grand North!" said Pam Sullivan, marketing coordinator for New Hampshire Grand, the official visitor information source for northern New Hampshire. "Whether you’re an experienced bicyclist, a moderate cycler, or a family looking for an easy and enjoyable ride, there is an exciting trail waiting for you. We’ve included all of our favorite routes, where we know you will be able to experience the best that the Grand North has to offer."
The itineraries include:
For animal lovers, the Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge in Jefferson is a great place to see a variety of wildlife. The trail is well groomed, not too strenuous and is completely flat. It is a short ride of 1.5 miles up to the pond, and is great for kids with short attention spans, or anyone looking for a quick ride with the reward of a magnificent view at the end. The refuge is located between Twin Mountain and Jefferson Highlands off Route 115 near the Mount Washington Regional Airport. At the junction of Routes 3 and 115 in Twin Mountain, drive 4.3 miles east on Route 115. Turn left (west) onto Airport Road (also called Hazen Road). In 1.4 miles, turn right into the parking area.
The route, through one of northern New Hampshire’s scenic towns, is mostly on dirt roads with some hills, but none are too difficult. Plan on an hour-and-a-half to go out and back. To get there, follow Route 145 about five miles north of Colebrook. The route is 14 miles roundtrip, with an opportunity for a shortcut. At different points you are able to see into Vermont and even Quebec if you have a good pair of binoculars with you.
Enjoy beautiful views of the Connecticut River along Route 135 in Lancaster and Dalton, as well as cozy homes and farms nestled into the landscape, and a covered bridge that crosses the river into Vermont. You can start in downtown Lancaster (park at the Information Center on Main Street) and ride south on Main Street until you see the sign for Route 135 south. Bike along for about 5 miles until you reach the covered bridge. Right before the covered bridge, Route 135 veers off to the left. Take that left and you’ll be able follow the river road south for 3 miles to an old train trestle over the river, a cemetery and a public boat launch. You can easily spot a car at the boat launch or on the side of the road near the covered bridge, or do the whole thing round trip and you’ll log about 16 miles. This ride is easy enough for kids to handle, especially the 6-mile roundtrip along the river between the covered bridge and the boat launch.
Tucked way up in Dixville Notch on Route 26 between Colebrook and Errol, The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel has many looping and connected mountain bike trails through the woods. Although the resort is closed for renovations until 2013, there are 30 miles of trails that are still open. These mountain bike trails require both aerobic and navigational skills, so a beginner biker shouldn’t try to tackle them. The trails are marked by numbers so make sure to keep an eye out for the signs and remember what trail you’ve been following. Be sure to pack plenty of Gatorade and Cliff Bars - you’ll need energy for these trails! To get here with a GPS, enter 1000 Cold Springs Road in Dixville Notch, NH. If you’re coming from Berlin take Route 16 North to Errol, then take a left onto Route 26 (west) and follow that for 10 miles. If you’re coming from Lancaster follow Route 3 North to Colebrook, then turn right onto Route 26 for 12 miles.
The Presidential Range Rail Trail follows the abandoned Boston and Maine Rail Line and is packed with beautiful mountain views and wildlife. The trail is 27.5 miles round trip, and it takes about three hours (depending on your skill level) to bike. Although the distance is long, the ride itself is not too tough, as it is mostly flat the entire way. If you have kids or want something a little more leisurely, you can decide to just do a part of the trail and pick one of the many spots along the river to lounge, have a picnic and dip your toes in the water. This trail is frequented by snowmobilers in the wintertime, and signs along the trail advertise hot drinks and food aimed towards them - but just because you’re riding on two wheels doesn’t mean you can’t stop in, too, if you want something a little more substantial than a picnic lunch!
A perfect ride for advanced bicyclists is to take North Road from Shelburne to Evan’s Notch. It follows mostly back roads through the woods and along the Wild River. The elevation gain can be a little intense, but the climbs are spread out along the route. The route is partially on paved roads and part on dirt or gravel. You definitely need to be in good shape, but the views and serenity are worth it. Roundtrip, this trail is around 35 miles and will take roughly 4 hours. You can access North Road from Route 113. Your best bet is to find a spot on the side of Route 113 to park.
One of the lesser-known notches, Kelsey Notch is an excellent place for an early morning ride. The trail runs through the woods and also along Route 26 so you’re in for a little bit of mountain biking and a little bit of street biking. It is hard to find unless you know where to look. This 21-mile loop is best for riders who are in good shape or those who are looking for a challenging ride. It takes about 2 hours depending on your fitness level. This notch - definitely one of the best-kept secrets of the Grand North - can be found by taking Route 26 east from Dixville Notch for 4 miles. Kelsey Notch Road is an unmarked dirt road on the left. Follow the dirt road until you see the Millsfield town line, where there are a few spots off the road to park less than a half-mile up.
New Hampshire Grand’s Summer 2012 Intern, Rebecca Malkin, who prepared these bicycle itineraries, has also supplemented them with several journal entries - containing her observations as she explored Coos County’s roads and trails. This will give bicyclists a fuller flavor of the experiences they can expect while biking in the Grand North. In addition, Rebecca has highlighted areas where several good restaurants can be found.
While bicycling is one way to experience New Hampshire’s Grand North, there are many other ways of enjoying foliage in northern New Hampshire.
"Visitors can also enjoy the North Country’s panorama of color while walking, hiking, riding a train, dog sledding, or while enjoying a variety of local events," said Sullivan. "Take a trip along any road or hike any trail in the Grand North in late September and early October for a scenic treat!"
For visitors who enjoy hiking amidst the Grand North’s stunning scenery, the Appalachian Mountain Club offers a variety of "Fall Foliage Savings" packages. A 30% discount is being offered on 3-night stays, Sunday through Thursday at any combination of Joe Dodge Lodge at Pinkham Notch, AMC’s full service huts in the White Mountains, or Maine Wilderness Lodges.
For visitors who enjoy the luxury of a grand hotel, The Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa is offering a Foliage Season Midweek offer, where guests can receive up to 45% off accommodations.
Those looking for other ways to take in the fall foliage might consider traveling by dog sled or by train. Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel is offering Fall Foliage Rolling Dog Sled Rides through October 14th. Or, a fall foliage train tour is a leisurely way to experience the beauty of fall in New England. The Mount Washington Cog Railway offers several foliage excursions. Either way, visitors can enjoy incredible views of the Presidential Mountain Range.
Driving up the Mount Washington Auto Road is another way to take in the fall scenery. This NH Grand Certified Grand Adventure is especially popular during foliage season, with breathtaking views along every twist and turn of the road, and especially from the top of the mountain, the northeast’s highest peak.
There are also plenty of seasonal events scheduled throughout the autumn months in the Grand North, including on September 30th, the historic City of Berlin hosts one of NH Grand’s Signature Events: The 13th Annual Lumberjack Festival & Competition at the Northern Forest Heritage Park. This event celebrates the history of logging and lumberjacking in the region with numerous events and activities - among them, discounted River Boat Tours from 11am-4pm, where visitors can do some leaf-peeping from the water
"Experience New Hampshire’s Grand North" is the brand of New Hampshire’s North Country marketing initiative - also known as NH Grand -- and is the official visitor information source for the Great North Woods and the Northern White Mountains. New Hampshire Grand is an initiative of the Northern Community Investment Corporation to promote Coos County to potential visitors. This outreach effort includes introducing visitors to the diverse range of lodging, dining, events, and outdoor activities available in Northern New Hampshire.
For a list of other New Hampshire Grand fall activities and events, visit: http://www.nhgrand.com/what-to-do/events.aspx
For more information on NH Grand, visit www.nhgrand.com, New Hampshire Grand on Facebook, and NH Grand on Twitter.