Proud mountains, roaring seashores, tranquil lakes, forests with forget-me-not foliage, scrumptious chowders and wicked-awesome trails—yes, we’re talking about New England. These are just a handful of the attractions the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) team was lucky enough to experience while out mapping trails for our latest round of guidebooks covering Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. A time-honored and beloved tradition at RTC, our annual mapping trips allow us to experience trails throughout the country—up close and in person.
In addition to ensuring every guidebook trail is safe and certifiably a top-notch place to walk, run or ride—we would never miss the chance to trade in our desk chairs for bike saddles. (And thanks to our friends at Alter Cycles, we were able to do just that in style and comfort!)
Now that we’ve returned from our mapping adventures, we wanted give you a sneak peek of what you can look forward to when our guidebooks are released this spring!
Have a hankering for more? Check out all our #MappingMoments on Instagram.
1Winnipesaukee River Trail, New Hampshire
One of the first trails on our mapping expeditions, the Winnipesaukee River Trail was also one of our favorites. Named after the river it follows over its 5-mile route, the trail passes near the upside-down covered bridge (pictured), which is on the National Register of Historic Places!
2Mass Central Rail Trail (Norwottuck Branch), Massachusetts
This sensational 10-mile section of the greater Mass Central Rail Trail takes you over New England’s longest river, the Connecticut, by way of a nearly 1,500-foot lattice truss bridge. We loved crossing the Norwottuck Branch’s rail-trail bridge so much that we had to film the experience; watch it here.
3Ten Mile River Greenway, Rhode Island
Though its name might lead you to believe otherwise, Rhode Island’s Ten Mile River Greenway is a smooth, accessible delight that runs just 3 miles. The trail treats you to glimmering water views as it traces the Ten Mile River (James Turner Reservoir), and wanders through Slater Park, home of the 19th century Loof Carousel.
4Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, Vermont
With big dreams to cover an even bigger footprint, the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail is already more than a third of the way there! The system has plans to extend a full 93 miles and connect 18 towns, and will eventually be one of the longest rail-trails in New England. Check out our on-the-ground look at a stretch of soon-to-be trail.
5Auburn Riverwalk, Maine
Another slice of paved perfection, Maine’s Auburn Riverwalk travels just more than a mile through Auburn’s downtown. Along the scenic trail, you’ll be awed by the tumbling waters of the manmade Lewiston Falls Project Dam and the Great Falls of the Androscoggin River and charmed by the route’s beautiful trestle bridge and parks.
6Shining Sea Bikeway, Massachusetts
Truthfully, our team barely got through the Shining Sea Bikeway’s 11 miles—without hopping off our bikes and jumping into the ocean, that is! Winding its way along the shores, marshes and woodlands of Cape Code, the siren call from the sea beckons you all the way from Falmouth to Woods Hole.
7Franconia Notch Recreation Path, New Hampshire
The Flume Gorge, pictured, is found slightly off the Franconia Notch Recreation Path, but visiting it was one of our most memorable mapping moments in New Hampshire. The ancient Flume lives with Profile and Echo lakes, the Old Man of the Mountain Historic Site and the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway in the stunning Franconia Notch State Park—all of which can be easily accessed right off the 9-mile trail.