Moose Brook State Park
Moose Brook State Park is a great local and tourist location for biking. Coos Cycling Club has been working hard with the State Park to maintain and expand the trail system for a few years now. This map should help you feel a little less lost as you wind your way through the flowing single track. Berry Farm Road climbs through the park, and accesses most of the trails. All trails ride well in both directions. Stop by the shop and I'll put you onto a loop that is sure to please. The feedback from travelers has been amazing. If you haven't checked it out yet, you don't know what your missing. Help us maintain a healthy working relationship with the state, and pay your day use fees. Admission is $4 for adults; $2 for children ages 6-11; children ages 5 and under and NH residents age 65 and over are admitted free. Click Here for a printable PDF of the trail map. Maps are also available at the state park office.
Presidential Rail Trail
The Presidential Rail Trail is a wondrous gravel grind that starts here in Gorham, and ends at the Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge. It is 18 miles each way, though there are multiple parking areas along the way to make the ride as long or as short as you desire. Starting from the shop adds a couple of miles that include Gorham's new(ish) Multi-modal trail that skirts town by following the Moose River around to where it intersects the Presidential Rail Trail. You will pass by the old Madison Spring Water Company ruins as you come through the town of Randolph. Riding past the Northern Presidential Mountains you will cross multiple trail heads pointed towards the alpine zone as you parallel US Route 2. Both the AMC and RMC have lodging options just a couple of miles, and a few thousand vertical feet from where you cross.
From Gorham, it is a gentle, but continuous grade that only a rail trail could offer. Just think of the nice gentle ride that you will have on the way home. This trail is generally a pretty fine crushed stone, but has a couple of short sections with chunkier gravel. It is ideal for bike path/comfort bikes, mountain bikes, and touring bikes with beefy tires. There aren't a lot of amenities (if any) along the way, so plan accordingly for snacks and water.
Circumnavigate the Presidential Range
Travelers come to the area just to take part in the awesomeness that is road riding in northern NH. This is one of those rides. Since our shop is on the route, we may as well make that our start/finish. I prefer to ride it counter clockwise, so away we go. From the shop, hang a right on Route 16N/Route 2W. At the stoplight make a left to follow Route 2 past the northern edge of the Presidential Mountains. Leaving Gorham you will get your first climb in pretty quickly going up Gorham hill, and coming down Randolph hill. It is then that you settle in for a long stretch of moderate/flatness before you start to approach Jefferson. As you climb up a short hill and past Bowman Trailhead, the road starts to undulate and narrows for a little while. Busy road, stay aware, ride safely. The road will open up into a short descent, and your next left turn is at the bottom of the hill onto Route 115. This is a great open road in the full force of the sun. It is a moderate, and fairly long climb up and over, but affords amazing views to the Green Mountains of VT. At the end of Route 115, you will turn left onto Route 3 for a short bit before turning left again at the stop light on to Route 302 through Crawford Notch. This starts your 3rd notable climb of the day. It is a gradual climb at the onset, up to the base of Bretton Woods Ski Resort, and the historic Mt Washington Hotel. From here the climb gets gradually steeper. The height of land in Crawford Notch is the home of the Appalachian Mountain Club's Highland Center Lodge, which is a nice stop for refueling, They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as having a great assortment of energy snacks. As you cross over the top you will see the headwaters of the Saco River on it's way to the ocean. The descent out of Crawford Notch starts off as a steep one. The speed limit is 50mph, and that applies to bikes as well, but with a little courage you can capture the lane and ride along with traffic past the cascades and flumes that plunge off of the cliffs to your left. It quickly mellows into a nice crank down the river, through the town of Bartlett, and in to Glen. The stoplight is yet another left hand turn, putting you headed North again on Route 16 towards Pinkham Notch. It is a steady climb straight away after the turn, as you cruise through beautiful Jackson, NH. The approach to Pinkham Notch is a cool cruise through the canopy along the Ellis River. Soak up the shade, because the climb up Pinkham Notch is all sun. Another AMC lodge, Pinkahm Notch Visitor Center, is at the top of the climb. Just over the top you will pass Wildcat Mountain Ski Area. Ready for a swim? Remember this. After wildcat, there are a series of pullouts/parking areas on the left side of the road along the Peabody river. Stop at the third one, find the social trail, take off as many clothes as you desire, go to the top of the rock, and jump in. This is Emerald Pool, and is the first water that I enjoyed in New Hampshire...at night...in May...brrrrr. This water is straight out of the mountains, and is quite the cool down. Point your way down hill, and enjoy the descent down to Gorham, your work is done. One more left hand turn at the intersection in Gorham to stay on 16N, and the shop will be on your right hand side. 84 miles or so. Enjoy!!
Grafton Notch Century
Need to put on some miles? This is a real treat, with some hidden gems along the way. Leaving from Gorham you head for Maine on Route 2, and quickly make your way onto the North Road on the opposite side of the Androscoggin River which will take you into Bethel, ME. There is a great little food store and BBQ trailer directly on the route at The Good Food Store....but don't fill up (read on). In Bethel you jump back onto Route 2 east (north) for a few miles before making the left turn onto Route 26 through Grafton Notch and back towards the Granite State. The Notch offers a great climb, and some of my favorite ride stops along the way. Keep your eyes peeled a few miles into the notch for Puzzle Mountain Bakery, which has a roadside stand with some wonderful everythings. Stock up on jams, pies, cookies, whoopie pies, dilly-beans, pickles...or who knows what else you can cram into those sweaty jersey pockets (cash only, so stick a $20 in your sock). As you get climbing through the notch, pick your head up long enough to see the pull offs every couple of miles. Waterfalls, waterfalls, waterfalls. Worth the stop to see first hand what a glacier can do to solid granite. There are also great educational offerings around, so you might even learn something. You crest over the notch and enjoy the drop in elevation down to Umbagog Lake State Park on the border of Maine and New Hampshire. Another little climb and a great descent into Errol. In Errol, you take a left on Route 16 south towards Berlin. This is a simply awesome chunk of mileage that drops with the Androscoggin River all the way back to Gorham, but not before heading straight through beautiful downtown Berlin. Plan your ride for a Thursday, and you will find yourself riding straight through the uber-popular Berlin Farmers Market on your way back to Gorham, and the end of your ride. OK, so it's like 94 miles, close enough to round up. What a great day.