A couple of weekends ago, we made our first outing since the Covid-19 pandemic. We’ve been spending a lot of time outside, but mostly in our own backyard woods. With cases low near us and the okay from officials that doing outdoor activities are okay (with caution), we headed to the Winnipesaukee River Trail in Tilton, NH.
The website for the organization has maps, but we found them confusing and there was little description about the trail itself (surface, flora and fauna, and history along the trail), but it does seem to be an active organization (although this years clean up was canceled according to the website). We found using google maps was easier to figure out the parking situation: plenty of parking at what we think is the “Riverview Park” near an old train station and skate park.
We texted our friends Sarah and Frederic who parked at McDonald’s – just a few minutes ride from us. Then we all headed down the rail trail. We only saw a handful of people heading out and enjoyed watching turtles and fish in a pond next to the trail. Further along the Winnipesaukee River comes into view again with several side trails leading down to it.
We stopped to eat lunch just off the rail trail, close to the river, while Sarah and Frederic continued to the end of the trail where they found the upside down covered bridge. The trains would travel on top, while other traffic would travel inside the covered bridge. If we had known this was there, we might have changed where we parked so we could have seen this neat historical landmark too.
We started to make our way back to the parking lot and began to run into a lot of people enjoying the nice weather. We safely passed large groups of families as Sarah and Frederic caught back up with us from behind. It was to be expected that there would be a lot of people as you get closer to the parking areas, but we were glad that we had ventured out late morning. If you check out this rail trail, based on our experience, we recommend going in the morning to avoid the large after lunch crowd.
This was a wonderful rail trail. The full length is 5 miles end to end, and can easily be done by adults – or partially done with kids (depending on their skill level). The trail is mostly hard packed dirt with easy riding for little kids. Unfortunately, sign posts that once held interpretive signs are empty and the website maps were confusing (unless you know the area well). However, the beauty of the place next to the River with wetlands, fields, and forests is a gem of a place. Birds, reptiles, and fish were among our wildlife sightings for the day.
Stay safe out there, friends, and don’t forget to get some fresh air!