adventures

Snowmobiling the Monadnock Region

By Dan Mathers

New Hampshire is a snowmobiler’s dream. With more than 7,000 miles of trails, breathtaking natural scenery, and links to trail networks in neighboring states, it’s easy to understand why snowmobiling is one of the state’s most popular winter activities.

 

The Monadnock Region features miles of well-groomed trails.

Snowmobilers don’t have to travel very deep into the Granite State to enjoy its groomed trails. The Monadnock Region is home to some of the first trails encountered by visitors from southern New England. Here, snowmobilers enjoy views of snow-capped mountains while riding through forests and passing around or over scenic ponds and lakes.

While some trails traverse state-owned land, the majority are privately owned and maintained with the help of local snowmobile clubs such as the Monadnock Sno Moles.

Snowmobilers often use Monadnock as a base camp for trips to other parts of the state and neighboring Vermont.

The Sno Moles have worked to maintain trails in the Monadnock region for more than 50 years. Today, they’re one of the largest snowmobile clubs in southern New Hampshire, maintaining 96 miles of trails in Rindge, Jaffrey, Fitzwilliam, Troy, Swanzey, Sharon, New Ipswich, and Greenville.

“Our trails are a mix of nice flat, wide railbed, windswept hilly powerline trails, and tight, twisty wooded club trails,” says Derek Jodoin, trail administrator for the Sno-Moles. “Views of Mount Monadnock can be seen throughout our system.”

When snow blankets the ground, hundreds of snowmobilers gather in the Monadnock Region for winter fun.

Among the region’s most popular trails is the Cheshire Rail Trail. This 42-mile trail runs from Winchester, Massachusetts, north to Keene. It’s one of the two longest recreational rail trails in the state and sees heavy use during winter.

The Monadnock Rail Trail is a seven-mile trail that also begins at the Massachusetts border and runs north to downtown Peterborough, providing a fun ride within easy reach of hotels, inns and restaurants.

Among the many trails Jodoin recommends is Route 402, which heads northeast out of Rindge towards Wilton and connects to other club systems to the east and north. A fun side trip off Route 402 is scenic Route 403, which weaves through Annett State Forest and loops around Hubbard Pond.

Jodoin says the region has a number of convenient access points where snowmobilers can park their rigs. Among them are the Contoocook Lake Boat Launch in Rindge, 202 Boat and RV Storage in Rindge, the Jaffrey Baseball Field, Sip Pond Trailhead in Fitzwilliam, and across from the State Line Grocery store in Fitzwilliam.

To learn more about the Monadnock region’s snowmobile trails, view the statewide interactive map. You can also download an app available from the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association. 

A hard-copy map of Monadnock region snowmobile trails can be purchased for $5 at Troy Powersports in Troy, Pelletier’s Sports Shop in Jaffrey, and at Hometown Diner in Rindge.