Cycling, whether mountain biking or road cycling, has seen a resurgence during the pandemic. Bicycles flew off the shelves faster than the elusive toilet paper as more people discovered the enjoyment of life on two wheels. The Western White Mountains is an incredible hub for cycling with miles of mountain biking trails weaving throughout the forest, a paved recreational path with stunning views of the mountains, and brag-worthy road cycling routes. Plus, June 21-27 we’re hosting the first White Mountain Bicycle Week! Celebrate New Hampshire’s other bike week with the communities of Lincoln, Woodstock and Franconia Notch as we pedal through the great outdoors to support regional non-profits. So, what are you waiting for? Pump up your tires, fill up your water bottle, and hit the trails or road for some two-wheeled fun!
Opened in 2019, the new purpose-built downhill mountain biking trails at Loon Mountain are epic! Designed and built by the people who built Highland Mountain Bike Park in Northfield, New Hampshire, the Loon Mountain park offers six downhill trails over nearly six miles for every level of riders. And, later this summer, over 10,000 feet of new trails will be opening as well! Learn more about Mountain Biking at Loon.
For the more experienced rider, day passes are available online. If you’ve never been downhill mountain biking then the Your Turn lesson, rental, and ticket package might be just for you. The Whistle Stop Bike Center at Loon Mountain offers downhill, cross-country mountain bike, and e-bike rentals for whatever trails you choose.
If you’re looking to get off the beaten path in the White Mountains, hit the six miles of cross-country trails through the forest of lower Black Mountain along the banks of the Pemigewasset River. The East Ridge Trails are open to the public and can be accessed near the Whistle Stop Bike Center. Drive north on I-93 and check out Franconia Area Nemba and Profile Trails. Just a bit further north in Littleton is PRKR MTN Trails offering 22 miles of hand-built mountain biking trails for all abilities. And just a little bit further over the border in Vermont is Kingdom Trails. If you’re looking for a mountain biking mecca then you have come to the right place!
While the mountain biking trails in the Western White Mountains are incredible, we can’t forget about road cycling. If you love to climb, then we have you covered! Cyclists from all over New England come to Lincoln every year to compete to earn bragging rights by riding all 34 miles of the Kancamagus Highway. If you have ever driven the “Kanc” then you know it’s one tough ride, but at least it’s beautiful! From the Conway side, the first 16 miles are relatively easy with a slight grade, but after that, you’ll start climbing towards the sky. The last stretch to the top of the Kancamagus Pass is about a 7% grade and then it’s downhill all the way to Lincoln.
For the overachievers or just the cycling fanatic, the Tour de Notches is one of the legendary New England rides for road cyclists. Start from Main Street in Lincoln and climb north through Franconia Notch on Route 3. In Twin Peaks, take a right on to Route 302 where you’ll ride past the beautiful Mount Washington Hotel and Bretton Woods through Crawford Notch. In Bartlett, take another right on to Bear Notch Road where you’ll climb for five miles to the Kancamagus Highways. By the time you’re done, you rode 77.3 miles and climbed over 5,300 feet in elevation. Make sure you rehydrate with a cool beverage at one of the many breweries or wineries in the Western White Mountains!
Paved Bike Paths
If you have young kids or just prefer a more leisurely ride on a paved path, the Lincoln/Woodstock area is home to a few paths. The Franconia Notch Recreation Path runs 8.7 miles through Franconia Notch State Park and passes some of the park’s most famous attractions. While there is a little bit of climbing on the path, it is relatively easy for any age and riding ability. The Lincoln Loop from Loon Mountain to downtown Lincoln is another great paved, family-friendly loop for all ages. The two-mile path follows along the Pemigewasset River.
When the snow starts to fly, you don’t have to put your bike away or ride the dreaded trainer in your basement! Fat biking has become very popular in the White Mountains in recent years thanks to groomed trails and local bike shops carrying these bikes that are outfitted with super-wide tires. PRKR MTN in Littleton grooms miles of trails and many of the local trails, like the Lincoln Woods Trail, are great for fat biking.
Hit the Trails or Road This Year
Life is better on two wheels with the wind in your hair (under your helmet of course!). Whether you are a complete newbie or an experienced cyclist, the Western White Mountains offers something for everyone when it comes to biking. We hope to see you on the trails or roads soon!