This is a thread I had in the VT/NH/ME forum but felt I might get some feedback in here too:
I've been following some posts/blogs about guys out west doing bikepacking. I love New England riding and think we have a great selection. But I'm looking for some wilderness on an upcoming vacation.
I may do some backpacking in the Whites and/or Baxter. Do we in New England have any long/epic/out-there trails? I know I could easily put in an epic 6-hour ride at KT or any number of areas, but I'm looking for a more point-to-point, possibly bring a pack, see no one ride.
Based on the terrain, a lot of WMNF and Baxter are limited in their bikepackability to forest roads. I've been dreaming up a couple routes in the Whites, with a few peak-bagging loops connected by bike and secondary road. I was recently up in the northern swath of forest (north of rt 2) and there seemed to be an abundance of forest roads that one could probably put together a good route with, there's less traffic up there too.
VT has a lot of possibilities as well. There's a guy over at bike packing.net that has some info about a possible north-south MA to Canada route, he's got some beta, but a lot of it hasn't been documented. Worth checking out in any event.
A buddy and I road the Baxter Park Tote Road over three days. It's not single-track. But, it's not paved either. It was an amazing adventure. We carried everything ourselves - even water and a purification system. We made arrangements to park at the Togue Pond Gatehouse. We rode all the way to Trout Brook campground on the first day - somewhere between 40 and 50 miles. Second day was back to Arbol campground. Then back out of the park on the third day. For us, it was an out-and-back trip.
I've been reading about people riding the Monadnock-Sunapee trail. Some may say it's too hard to ride. You'll have to decide for yourself. There are huts along the way! Give it a Google.
Lastly, I've ridden the northside of Bay Circuit Trail around greater Boston. It starts deceptively easy in Newburyport. It gets nasty by the time you hit Boxford. I stay overnight at the campground in Harold Parker State Forest. This is not for the faint of heart. It's buggy, rugged, and long. AND, it's the epitome NE riding - rocky, rooty, wet, slimy, twisty, nasty.... All within 20 miles of Boston.
+ 1 for the bay circuit trail. Try checking out some snowmobile routes, they are all over NH and VT. ME has that new hut to hut system as well as some new and active NEMBA chapters. Logging roads?
Great advice everyone.
I've heard a few replies on the Baxter idea, seems it would be a nice way to travel between sites.
The singletrack tips are awesome, I'll have to investigate. As for snowmobile trail, would probably be nice, though I'd prefer singletrack. I did a few days on the Maine Hut trail this spring XC skiing, double track and some areas seemed to be in what would be soggy bottom land in the warm months.
There is a old rail rad bed that goes from Winchendon, MA through Keene, NH and ends near Walpole, NH. Another line goes from Winchendon south to Oakdale, MA. I believe there is another line in Keene that heads south towards Winchester, NH and a little further towards the CT River and north of Keene but I am not sure how far. many of these are maintained by local snow mobile clubs with many other trails in the area. (note; I have not been on all f these and the ones I have was 10+ years ago via bike and x/c skiing)
I did see a map f old railroad beds and it appeared you could link a few from the MA border to the Whites in NH.
Thanks for the tip. I've actually been thinking about this idea more lately. What do I love? Riding my bike in the woods, adventures, and New England. I've noticed there is a lot of snowmobile trail in the northern states that is maintained and extensive.
I haven't done much recent but tentatively I could see an extended woods trip by bike this way. One concern is the state of trails in warm weather. Used/rutted by ATVs and dirtbikes? In lowlands and primarily wet?
I'll have to do more research.
I know a lot of snowmobile trails are closed to atv traffic. RR beds are pretty solid. Where I used to live in north central MA, south western NH the danger in low laying areas was flooding by beavers. Winter those are frozen over. There are also in that area a lot of gravel/dirt roads to explore and link many together.
Years ago I read an article that was a ride (if I recall via jeep) in Vermont that went from the Canada border to the MA border. They only had to drive 11 miles on pavement total.
Definitely not trails, but two other options for long-distance rides would the PuppyDog trail and the Trans-Mass Trail. Both of these piece together quiet roads, often dirt, and cover many miles from the Connecticut/Massachusetts border all the way up to Canada.
These routes were identified for dual-sport motorcycling, but should work equally well for bicyclists seeking long-distance off-pavement routes...
Puppy Dog Trail: Trans-Mass-Trail
Google will turn up more info about both.
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