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  1. #1
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    Horse Hill thanks you!

    I'm assuming this was NEMBA, but thank you to whomever cleared most of the trails at Horse Hill in Merrimack. I ride there almost every day and I sure appreciate it! While I'm at it, thanks as well to whomever is responsible for the amazing new twisty trail (that I never would have found were it not for the leaf blowing) on Blodgett Hill!

  2. #2
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    Several Southern NH NEMBA members live right in Merrimack and keep a lot of the stuff down there well manicured. Definitely some fun stuff.

  3. #3
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    This seems like it was a concerted effort for a ride or something - I forgot to mention they put up green NEMBA trail marker signs around the same time but had them taken down by today.

    Regardless, I really need to sign up, or at least donate.

  4. #4
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    Where is this Horse Hill located--directions, advice would be appreciated.

  5. #5
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    Horse Hill has several parking lots; the one I use is 184 Amherst rd in Merrimack, which is exit 11 off RT 3. It's a 5 minutes ride from my front door so I use it almost daily, but it's also one of the best local rides I've hit IMHO. The loop trail is a nice 4 mile variation of single and double track with plenty of elevation changes and rocky rooty trails. The three trails up Horse Hill are also a nice variation of rocky and steep, though there's nothing here that's going to blow any serious/expert riders away. If you just to the loop trail I like doing it counter clockwise; when you do it in the other direction you save a longish stretch of really rocky uphill for the end of your ride.

    My recommended ride - From the Amherst parking lot turn at post 2 for the Blodgett Hill Summit trail. After the foot bridge take a right for the brand new trail, which is a nice twisty route up Blotgett hill. From there go to post 16 to the ledges - I recommend the outer ledge trail - it's one of the prettiest rides and is more technical than the "inner" ledges, as well as a bit longer. Either way you come out at post 10 where you take a left, and then another left for the Twister trail, another great trail tailored to the mountain bike rider. You'll come out at post 18 and follow the loop trail until post 6 - here you would turn left, but instead go straight following the powerlines up a reasonably shallow but super rocky incline. When you reach the top of that rock (overlooking the powerlines and swamp on the other side) continue up the hill to the right back into the woods. This is Horse Hill. This path will lead you two one of two descents - I prefer staying straight to stay on the horse hill summit trail; it's a nice rocky and reasonably steep descent. At the bottom it's a hard right to pick up the Rocky Trail. The second choice is at post 15, a right that comes right after the summit - this is Horse Hill Summit East Slope, and is easily the steepest trail in the reserve, but not nearly as fun. Either way, you end up near the end of the Rocky Trail and enter a short section that used to be for dirt bikes; it's a fun little spot that has a little bit of a park feel. From there you can jump back onto the powerlines trail that will bring you back to the loop and take a left at post 6 (where you went straight before), or you can use a trail that's kind of hidden (again, thanks NEMBA) - it's right before you'd enter the powerlines area on your right, and if it isn't cleared you aren't likely to see it. The is another twisty bit of uphill single track that is ultimately more rewarding than the sandy uphill, and when it spits you out at the powerlines just ride straight across; you're now back on the loop. From here I generally just complete the loop - that's the longest ride/loop here I know of where you don't hit the same trail twice. If you want to pick up some of the loop trails you missed you can do the entire loop trail (or just go straight at post 4 to do most of it) for a 11 or so mile hero ride. Or what I'd call a hero ride, anyway.

  6. #6
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    Was blown clear for Halloween ride last Friday.
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  7. #7
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    NEMBA, the local chapter led by Matt Caron, is responsible for the trail maintenance and building at HH. Shawn Smith has also been helping Matt extensively. Kudos to these two and NEMBA.

    -Pete
    I can barely get my mouth around it.

  8. #8
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    Billy, Thanks for the Horse Hill trail info- on mapquest it looks like you also have riding nearby on Grater Road.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedalphile View Post
    NEMBA, the local chapter led by Matt Caron, is responsible for the trail maintenance and building at HH. Shawn Smith has also been helping Matt extensively. Kudos to these two and NEMBA.

    -Pete
    Thanks for the info, and a huge thanks to Shawn and Matt. I'll try to get more involved next year for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by damnation View Post
    Billy, Thanks for the Horse Hill trail info- on mapquest it looks like you also have riding nearby on Grater Road.
    No sweat. Grater woods is nice, but smaller. You can actually ride straight there via the powerlines from Horse Hill, which is a nice ride in and of itself.

    Edit - Scratch that - I've never been to Grater; Wasserman is the one I'm thinking of.

  10. #10
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    Yup. Matt Caron does most of the work there but a lot of other people (including myself) contribute.

    If you want to add some more miles you can take Quarry trail across Naticook road and do some of the trails there. There's a nice loop called 'Greens Pond Connector' (GPC)... and some other stuff in that area (Pipeline) that I haven't even ridden yet.

    I live 15 minutes from HH. It's been getting better and better as time goes on thanks to the work people are doing there.

  11. #11
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    It really is turning into a destination. Really nice to see and the hard work is sincerely appreciated by all users.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregGirardin View Post
    Yup. Matt Caron does most of the work there but a lot of other people (including myself) contribute.

    If you want to add some more miles you can take Quarry trail across Naticook road and do some of the trails there. There's a nice loop called 'Greens Pond Connector' (GPC)... and some other stuff in that area (Pipeline) that I haven't even ridden yet.

    I live 15 minutes from HH. It's been getting better and better as time goes on thanks to the work people are doing there.
    I've hit the quarry trail, but I can't figure out the loop. It's definitely the rockiest area in the reserve, and I went about 75% OTB the only time I tried it. I'll have to explore it more at some point soon though.
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  13. #13
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    I recently added the HH trails to OpenCycleMap/OpenStreetMap and it is up to date with the latest trail work. You can view the map with your favorite smart phone app (Maprika works) while you ride to make sure you hit all the best trails. MTB trails are marked in blue but the bridle trails are fun too.
    OpenStreetMap

  14. #14
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    Very cool, and as up-to-date a map as I've ever seen for HH. I haven't been in a while; my suspension is at Fox getting serviced. Can't wait to spend a day there, hopefully next weekend.
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  15. #15
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    NEMBA site says this area is bad to ride when wet. I'll be in Merrimack this weekend with the lady's family. Are there any areas nearby I can ride Saturday with the impending rain? Plan to go to Bear Brook Sunday so looking for something to do Saturday....dying to get back on the bike.
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  16. #16
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    I think it should be fine to ride Saturday morning. It's sunny right now and should stay that way until tomorrow afternoon. Other places to ride include Musquash Conservation Area in Londonderry (just over the river, about 25 minutes from Horse Hill) or Yudicky Farm in Nashua (about 20 minutes south of Merrimack).

    Of the three locations, I would say Musquash dries out the quickest after rain. If you like technical single track, park at the Faucher Rd entrance and start with the White trail (its closest to Merrimack anyway if you take the new airport bridge). if you want a little more flow, park at Hickory Hill and start with the Overlook trail.
    OpenCycleMap.org - the OpenStreetMap Cycle Map

  17. #17
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    Awesome, thanks chuyler! I'd rather hit Horse Hill, though I know little about it, because I can ride from their house. Musquash will be on the radar if it looks bad.

    EDIT: My original plan was to drive to North Conway Saturday. But with rain in the forecast I don't want to sit in a car for hours for a wet ride. But, are there any places closer to Merrimack that one would consider must hits?
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceboxsteve View Post
    EDIT: My original plan was to drive to North Conway Saturday. But with rain in the forecast I don't want to sit in a car for hours for a wet ride. But, are there any places closer to Merrimack that one would consider must hits?
    FYI, this is about the worst weekend of the year for traffic in North Conway, with foliage and the Fryeburg Fair going on. Anyone in this area should know the local bypasses and avoid Rt 16 at most times.

  19. #19
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    Well the must hit places for us are Bear Brook, STAB (Ascutney, VT), Highland Mountain Bike Park (lift service but also a handful of XC trails), North Conway, and Kingdom Trails (East Burke VT). They are all day trip destination sort of riding.

    The weeknight type places are Horse Hill, Musquash, Yudicky (Nashua), FOMBA (Auburn), Fort Rock (Exeter), Lowell Dracut State Forest (Lowell MA), Russell Mill (Chelmsford MA), and a few others. These are good for 1-2 hour rides but I wouldn't consider them must hits.

    Keep your eye on the weather. If there isn't any rain far North, make the drive to Kingdom Trails instead of North Conway. It's easier to navigate, and it is about as epic as you can possibly get in New England. Plus, the foliage is peak up there right now. In fact, I will go as far as to claim that you will have a blast at Kingdom Trails even if it IS raining. It's that fun. Seriously.

  20. #20
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    I hit KT twice a year. I was at the VT MTB Fest at STAB this year. I've ridden Spaulding and Mount A in NH. I could try to list everywhere in Mass/Maine/CT I've been but thats not the point. I get around a lot for a young guy.

    North Conway is calling me, but with rain and the leaf peepers I'll probably stay local, would rather make it a great trip than just pretty good. Bear Brook Boogie Sunday. Saturday I guess will be whatever local tour I decide upon over coffee.

    Honestly I love to ride and most places I go I have a blast. Doesn't matter what it is, if I'm spinning in the woods I'm grinning. Thanks for the tips on nearby places.
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  21. #21
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    north conway handles rain/wet 10 times better than kindom trails. and the riding is 10 times better, imo.

    rog

  22. #22
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    I've ridden both in the wet. KT definitely collects rain on a few trails but they've improved it over the years. As for the riding being 10 times better, it's all about personal taste. Both have smooth flowing flatland trails and fun switchback descents. North Conway has rocks (rock faces, rock armored trails, and just plain rocks you have to go over or around). KT has dirt (bermed switchbacks, table tops, whoop-de-dos, roller coaster like snaking trails). If I went to one instead of the other on any given day, I would not be disappointed. However if I were going to spend several days riding one of the networks, I'd definitely choose KT.

  23. #23
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    yes of course, all personal preference. but who's kiddin who here? n-con has a much wider variety of terrain and much more of it than kt if you factor in all of the hours of riding on both the east and west side of town and the stuff up along the kanc and other areas.

    darling hill is good for a day if you combine it with white school stuff and moose alley/burn em.

    rog

  24. #24
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    I did 34 miles at KT and left at least half if not more of the trails on the table. NC west is good for 25 miles (maybe 30 now, I know there is some new stuff I haven't hit). NC east is good for 35, maybe 40. I'd say they are on par for mileage until you start adding in the Kanc stuff (which from what I've heard isn't that spectacular). However you could cruise 85% of the mileage at KT on a fully rigid bike and have a blast. You'd be in agony at North Conway. So it depends on what you prefer. Also, NC just isn't mapped out very well yet. Very few trail signs and lots of off-map hidden trails to get the equivalent mileage as KT.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuyler1 View Post
    I did 34 miles at KT and left at least half if not more of the trails on the table. NC west is good for 25 miles (maybe 30 now, I know there is some new stuff I haven't hit). NC east is good for 35, maybe 40. I'd say they are on par for mileage until you start adding in the Kanc stuff (which from what I've heard isn't that spectacular). However you could cruise 85% of the mileage at KT on a fully rigid bike and have a blast. You'd be in agony at North Conway. So it depends on what you prefer. Also, NC just isn't mapped out very well yet. Very few trail signs and lots of off-map hidden trails to get the equivalent mileage as KT.
    lol, agony on a rigid bike? funneh, that's all i ride. no agony here. rigid is only agony if you ride like you have rigor mortis. you may have left half of kt trails out, but the other half is about as redundant as the 1st 34 miles you rode. and what's the average length trail at kt? .25-.75 miles in length with trail junctions coming at you like asteroids in space. $Hit in n-con yer on some trails for way longer than any trails at kt. some trails go for miles.

    the fact that n-con isn't mapped out very well is one of the reasons why it's so great and more refreshing than all the fully mapped out/signed "bike parks" out there. there's no sense of adventure at a place like kt compared to n-con. i been riding n-con for a good 20 years and still stumble on stuff i've never ridden before. the town of jackson has a ton of stuff too, but you have to explore to find it. refreshing. did a 7 hour ride up above and around jackson some years ago with some locals and we never even touched any of the n-con stuff. and we weren't that far away.

    rog

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