New England Bicycle Touring Destinations

19 October, 2015

While living in New England, I've loved spending my free time venturing out by bike into quaint towns and local diners to get a feel of the area. Riding through quiet back country roads dotted with peaceful villages and views of mountains, lakes, and ocean: New England has become my favorite cycle touring destination. Throughout North East states, abandoned railway lines are now cycle routes. There are also trails in conservation areas that can accommodate any style of riding terrain from road to mountain.

As I'm hopping on my bike and heading from town to town, the sounds of rushing air, chirping birds, and running water fills my ears as well as the appreciation for the quaint scenery. New England country sides with picturesque villages, farms, rivers, ocean views, and forests make a great weekend of bike touring adventure. To help you find your next bike tour destination in New England, I've rounded up a few sites to help you guide your next visit to the most picturesque states of New England.

Connecticut's countryside with its picturesque villages, farms, rivers and streams and many parks and forests covers almost 90 percent of the state that can best be viewed on a bicycle. For help on routes, there’s the Connecticut Bicycle Map and the guide to mountain biking in state parks. The many public trails in the state include Bluff Point State Park in Groton with its mixture of wooded hiking and biking trails along with spectacular wildlife viewing on Long Island Sound, and White Memorial Foundation in Litchfield with 25+ miles of gravel roads for mountain biking through the 4,000 acres of forests. In the Windsor Locks/Suffield area, along the Windsor Locks Canal, bike an historic 4.5-mile trail used in the mid-1800s by horses and mules to tow boats along the canal and offering scenic views of the Connecticut River and Windsor Locks Canal (weekends only). If you’re looking for guided bike tours, try the Connecticut Shoreline Bike/Boat Tour in Guilford, a leisurely three hour, 18-mile guided bike ride along the Connecticut shoreline combined with a 45-minute boat tour of the Thimble Islands (bike and helmets supplied). In the western part of the state in scenic Kent, the Bicycle Tour Company offers year-round bicycle rentals and cycling routes for all levels, plus self-guided tours and custom trips. Learn more about cycling in Connecticut.

Maine is great for cycling. For an easy ride with lovely water views, take the Casco Bay Route. Part of the East Coast Greenway, this 35-mile (56km) segment links the Portland harborfront with the college town of Brunswick, taking in Freeport on the way. In Acadia National Park, the carriage roads are well-known to cyclists; less traveled is the Schoodic Peninsula in the eastern part of the park. Take the 13-mile (20km) or the 29-mile (46km) loop; either way, spectacular views of this rocky coastline are guaranteed. Learn more about cycling in Maine.

In Massachusetts, a wide variety of trails are on offer. Best known is the Cape Cod Rail Trail, a flat, easy 25 miles (40km) that links towns like Dennis, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham, and Chatham. Pedal through woods and past cranberry bogs; stop at beaches. In western Massachusetts, the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail has views of Mount Greylock; this 11-mile (17km) route goes from Lanesborough to Adams. There are even rides close to Boston: the Nashua River Rail Trail, is a pleasant 11 miles (17 km) from Ayer through Groton and Pepperell to Dunstable. Learn more about cycling in Massachusetts.

Rhode Island
America’s smallest state, Rhode Island is ideal for easy riding. The longest and prettiest trail is the East Bay Bike Path, a 14-mile (22km) route. From Providence, it runs along the Providence River and Narragansett Bay, then cuts inland to Barrington and Warren. It ends in Bristol, a lovely small town, with the fascinating Herreshoff Marine Museum and America’s Cup Hall of FameLearn more about cycling in Rhode Island.

New Hampshire
Explore the beautiful New Hampshire countryside on a bike. Running east-west, the Rockingham Recreational Trail, Portsmouth Branch is a 25-mile (40km) run between Manchester, the state’s largest city, and the village of Newfields. Pass by Lake Massabesic and Raymond, with its renovated depot and locomotive. Or, take the easy 11 mile (18 km)Wolfeboro Recreational Trail (also known as the Cotton Valley Trail) for an easy jaunt with views of Lake Winnipesaukee. Particularly fun are the causeways across Lake Wentworth and Crescent Lake! Nearby, in the Lake Sunapee Region, the Northern Rail Trail offers a 52-mile (84km) converted railway bed with easy, flat biking through simple farm land, around lakes and river valleys, and past a winery and Shaker Museum. Seven historic inns throughout the Lakes and Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee regions of New Hampshire are connected by the Northern Rail Trail and offer inn-to-inn packages. Learn more about cycling in New Hampshire.

Vermont is famous for its mountains but there are plenty of flat areas for easy pedaling. In the north of the state, the Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail is a 26-mile (42km) run. Start in St. Albans, enjoy lovely scenery on the way and finish in Richford, with its views of Jay Peak ski resort. Also in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom is the award-winning Kingdom Trails with pastoral and wild settings. Or, cycle along the shore of Lake Champlain. The Burlington Waterfront Bikewayfollows the former Rutland Railway for 7 miles (11km). Great views of the Adirondack Mountains across the lake in New York State! Learn more about cycling in Vermont.
Amy said...

That's for all this great info! Having just moved to Connecticut from Tennessee (and having never even been further north than NYC) I am just blown away by how beautiful it is here and how easy it is to explore by bike! We've also been making frequent use of the Airline Tail, which is a 50 mile rail trail starting in East Hampton, CT. I'm really looking forward to cycling all over New England!

christina torres said...

Welcome to CT Amy! I'm really excited about all your adventures here. It's so nice to have another person completely surprised by all that New England has to offer by bike!

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