The Old Railroad Trail in Peterborough, New Hampshire is an easy 6.2-mile out-and-back trail that runs parallel to the Contoocook River.
Trail name: Old Railroad Trail
Location: This section of the trail runs from the trail head parking area just outside of the Peterborough NH Transfer Station on Scott Mitchell Road to South Elmwood Road. Scott Mitchell Road is about 4 miles from the center of Peterborough heading north on Route 202.
Allowed activities: walking, snow shoeing, snow mobile riding, cross country skiing, fishing, bicycling, bird watching, foraging, and horseback riding.
Forbidden activities: No motorized vehicles. No fires.
Hours: Open daily; no hours are posted at the trail head.
Fees and Parking: There is limited parking at the trail head parking area. There is no fee to park or use the trail.
Pets: Dogs are permitted, but must be on a leash. Dog waste must be picked up and removed from the trail.
Accessibility: The Old Railroad Trail has a very large section of the trail that is wheelchair accessible and baby stroller friendly. The trail does get narrow in several areas and there some places only have a single foot path, which eventually widens out and then gets narrower again. The trail is very well maintained and there are no trip hazards whatsoever on the wide flat areas.
Sanitation: There are no restrooms or trash bins here. Please carry out whatever you carry in.
Length: This hike is an easy 6.2 (round trip) trail that goes out and back.
The trail has no colored blaze markers on it, but it does have a smattering of
conservation markers posted as well as multiple signs for snowmobilers who use
the trail in winter.
The start of the trail runs parallel to the Peterborough transfer station and the area surrounding the trail is mostly wooded. The trail bends slightly and then runs parallel to the Contoocook River. The Contoocook River is great place to kayak or canoe - many people take advantage of this resource in the warm summer months and head out to this river to paddle the day away.
The rail trail is also bordered by private lands. Many of the private land owners have posted “No Trespassing” signs to keep visitors on the path. There is little chance of a visitor becoming lost on this rail trail.
There is only one bench on the trail. It is not too far from the trail head and is built into a snowmobile bridge that was built to help snowmobilers cross over a wet section of the trail. Because the trail runs beside the river, visitors have many opportunities to stop and take in the beauty of the river or find a spot to wade into the river and cool off. The trail is well shaded, but does have some areas that open up to farm lands where if you are lucky, you may see a cow or two grazing off in the distance.
The trail crosses over several roads, so caution needs to be taken when reaching these junctions. There are a couple of sections on the trail, where the trail shares the road with what looks like someone’s driveway. Pay attention in case a homeowner is using the road too. This is a great trail to visit when you want a beautiful easy walk in the woods.