They say you can never have too much of a good thing and when it comes to walking and hiking trails this is definitely true! Earlier this spring the Harris Center (@harriscenterconservation), with the help of many great volunteers, opened up yet another wonderful walking trail for locals.
Like many old railway beds in this part of New Hampshire, the old Keene – Manchester NH railway line was laid during the “hey day” of train travel. Unfortunately the theory of “if you build it they will come” did not come to fruition for many of these railway lines and they were lightly used. When the hurricane of 1938 devastated many parts of New Hampshire, many railway bridges were washed away. The rail owners were not making enough money on the routes to justify replacing the bridges and the train travel simply discontinued.
A few weeks ago, Paula and I (along with some friends) decided we wanted to check out this newly opened Jaquith Rail-Trail. This 1.5 mile path is an easy scenic and densely wooded walk. Many of the old railroad ties are still set in the ground as you set your stride either between or on top of he ties but the main attraction is a newly installed 50′ high historic truss bridge that spans Jaquith Brook (replacing the one that washed away in the ’38 storm).
We were not sure what to expect before getting to the bridge but its views did not disappoint. We crossed the bridge and descended down to the river’s edge. We’d had a lot of rain leading up to our walk and the river was high and flowing very nicely. We did a little rock hopping to the middle of the river to take some photos before climbing back up to the path and continuing to the end.
We turned around at the end of the 1.5 mile mark and returned along the path we had started so it was a straight forward three mile round trip walk. However, if you have more time and are more ambitious, the Jaquith Trail links to the East View Trail and North Pond Trail (which skirts North Pond in Harrisville) which will return you to your starting point (with a one mile walk on very lightly traveled Jaquith Road which is conservation land). I am estimating the total distance of the loop would be about 6.5 miles.
So, if you are looking for something new and less traveled, definitely check out the Jaquith Rail-Trail!