Route I-93 & I-95 are the gateway highways to New Hampshire.
Mountain biking is a welcome activity on all Bear Brook State Park trails. There is something for everyone, from beginners looking to develop their mountain biking skills to those who relish a technical singletrack mountain bike adventure. The 10,000 acre Park is the largest developed park in New Hampshire and offers about 40 miles of trails for a wide variety of outdoor activities. An impressive network of multi-use trails and forest roads wind through the heavily forested terrain and lead to marshes, bogs, ponds and summits. Take the time to visit Hayes Marsh. The best time is early morning or evening. You may spot beaver, muskrats or even a great blue heron.
Bear Brook State Park is also home to a favorite local swimming hole, Catamount Pond, where you can relax and swim after your ride. The day-use area at Catamount Pond, just inside the main entrance, offers a swimming beach and canoe rentals. You can also swim at Beaver Pond beach (east end of the park) where there is also a campground, with showers and laundry, campstore and boat rentals. Other facilities include a bathhouse, restrooms, picnic area and shelters. Nearby is a museum complex with Nature Center, Camping Museum, CCC Museum and Snowmobile Museum.
Bear Brook State Park Mountain Bike Trail Descriptions
You can mountain bike on just about all the park trails unless otherwise posted by a "No Bikes" symbol. This large network of trails provides many options for the mountain biker on trails leading to seldom visited interesting natural features. The trails are well-marked and the terrain is wonderfully varied ranging from woods roads and snowmobile trails to narrower technical singletrack trails. The trails become more challenging and rugged as they run towards the hillier southwest part of the park.
A good place to park is at the parking area located off Podunk Road. this provides easy access to many great trails.
Some of the best trails for mountain biking at Bear Brook State Park are:
Ferret Trail: This is the best trail for beginner mountain bikers. The wide trail provides a relatively smooth easy ride and provides access to the Hedgehog Ledge Trail and the Bear Hill Trail. It also provides views of Bear Hill Pond, which is utilized by the 4-H camp during the summer months.
Lane Trail: This wide doubletrack dirt/gravel old woods road is a good lead in trail as it intersects many other popular routes offering a wide variey of ride configurations. The Lane Trail takes riders through two meadows and a lowland forest area near Bear Brook. Expect a few steep climbs and descents on this moderate mountain bike ride.
Broken Boulder Trail: Divided by Spruce Pond Road, this trail offers a moderate ride and several interesting features including the foundation of an old mill and a bog. The southern side of the trail requires several stream crossings and tends to get muddy after periods of rain. The northern section of the trail gets narrower as it crosses the campground just past (south) Archery Pond and leads to Smith Pond. The bog at the Pond makes this an interesting destination.
Bobcat Trail: One of the most popular trails used by hikers, mountain bikers, and cross-country skiers. Nice intermediate doubletrack with just enough rocks and roots. The trail also provides access to a beautiful stand of red pine.
Hedgehog Ledge Trail: A favorite moderate/advanced technical ride. Accessed from Podunk Road, about two tenths of a mile (west) past Hayes Field. You can get a look at one of the original Conservation Corps (CCC) trails built in the 1930's. The trail leads through a boulder field at the base of Bear Hill. The rocks provide excellent habitat for porcupines. Also visible along the way are the stone revetments and steps, also originally built by the CCC troops.
Carr Ridge Trail: Ride east to west on this narrow, rocky trail for a fun but challenging mountain bike ride. Carr Ridge offers beautiful vistas in the early Spring before the foliage obsures the view and in the Fall after the leaves have fallen.
Snowmobile Route 15/Podunk Road: You can also bike on this major north-south Corridor snowmobile trail. It passes through the park and links up with the Massabesic Lake/Tower Hill Pond ride to the south.
Note: To preserve trail integrity and prevent erosion try to avoid muddy trails whenever possible. Trails closed to mountain biking are signed with a "No Bikes" symbol. Most the trails close for "mud season" in the Spring. For more information call the NH Bureau Of Trails (Phone number listed below)
Things To Do
County Fairs, Festivals, Special Events
Bear Brook Boogie
Each year, the Bear Brook Boogie, a fun adventure mountain bike ride organized by the Southern New Hampshire chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association usually takes place. The funds raised event benefits the bike club which in turn targets approved trail projects within Bear Brook State Park.
The route changes from year to year. From beginner loops of 5 miles over a mix of fire roads and singletrack to 14.6 mile Intermediate / Advanced loops that include technical challenges and steep climbs.
During your visit be sure to stop in at the museum complex located in the park about 1 1/2 miles from the tollbooth. Most of the museums are housed in historic CCC buildings. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Bear Brook Camp is one of the most complete CCC camps remaining intact in the country. The Nature Center features exhibits of the natural History of the park and interpretive programs are regularly scheduled throughout the summer season.
Bear Brook State Park:
Park Office: (603) 485-9874