By Robyn Larson McCarthy
Living near Mount Monadnock--the most hiked mountain in the world--one doesn't generally think about starting a hike in the middle of town. Trailheads to our numerous summits abound in New Hampshire's Hillsborough and Cheshire Counties. Spot a lone car parked at the side of the road? For sure it's at a minor trailhead to something historic or someplace scenic.
So we only recently discovered the dog-friendly hiking trail that starts right in the middle of Jaffrey. One of more than 50 so-called rail trails that crisscross the state of New Hampshire today, the Monadnock Branch Rail Trail follows the right of way of the old Monadnock Railroad. In places, you can still see the moss-covered railroad ties tumbled off to the side, verdant symbols of technology recycling back into nature.
With free parking on Webster Street just south of the dogleg intersection of Routes 202 and 124, the Jaffrey Rail Trail makes a great place to stop when touring the stunning Monadnock region by car with dogs (or kids) in tow.
Partly paved but mostly packed gravel, the path is smooth enough for dogs of senior years and strollers alike. The 7.2-mile trail passes through cool forests and ponds teaming with birds and lily pads. Translation: plenty to see and sniff!
Like Jaffrey's trail, the WOW Trail in Laconia, New Hampshire also allows