Sugar River – After moving from central Upper Valley to the Kearasge Mountain region, just 15 minutes east on I89, a whole new region seems to have opened up to explore. One of my finds has been the Sugar River Recreation trail which provides a great bike, snowmobile, hiking and ATV trail along an old railroad grade between the New Hampshire cities of Newport and Claremont.
Last time I was there a team from the Library of Congress was on site documenting a historic steel truss bridge in Newport. Unfortunately this typically means the bridge is in danger of being removed and indeed it had a bunch of safety cones on it. The bridge in the above photo is in better shape and ran by the old Hartford Woolen Mill which is now in a state of total disarray and is currently a brownfield site being monitored for oil leakage as the last owner had been using it as a site to store used oil.
The Sugar River Recreational Trail, this picturesque 9.8-mile path stretches from Newport to the southeastern edge of Claremont along the banks of the Sugar River. This video shows some of the best parts of the trail, bridge crossings over the Sugar River and some time lapse footage of the beautiful fall scenery along the trail.
To reach Claremont proper, you can seamlessly connect to the Bobby Woodman Rail Trail, which meets the Sugar River Trail at Washington Street and heads toward the center of the city.
The trail has nearly a dozen other bridges, ranging from small wooden plank structures to steel truss bridges that span the Sugar River and its side streams. If the trail inspires you to see more of the region, finish your day by hiking, fishing, boating, camping or just relaxing in one of two nearby state parks. The beach at Mt. Sunapee State Park is a great place for a swim after you get off of the trail, and you can take rented kayaks and canoes for a spin on Lake Sunapee.