I recently discovered a love for rail trails. Being a person who enjoys trail walking as well as a person who enjoys… er… frequently runs, rail trails are a lovely little bit of both worlds. I can get away from the buzz of the city and breathe some fresh air. I crave it!
After reading a bunch of posts on Facebook about local trails, my “Saturday Long Run” buddy and I decided to take a stab at testing out the Goffstown Rail Trail. As a result, here are some pros and cons of running this trail (mostly pros, I promise!).
This trail has many points of entry (more about parking, here)- for our first run, we decided to park at Sarette Recreation Complex, closer to the terminus of the trail where it connects to the Piscataquog trail. Our second run, we parked at the town recreation department thinking we’d go for a dip in the lake after our run (but sadly, we didn’t!). Our third run, we actually started on the Piscataquog trail in Manchester and kept running onto the Goffstown Rail Trail.
This 5.5mi-long dirt/gravel/sand trail is walker, runner, bike, and dog friendly. It has posts marking every .5mi, which is a nice, encouraging reminder that you’re actually making progress. The trail does cross several roads (quiet back roads, as well as busier 114), but the pedestrian walkways have good visibility in both directions, are very well-marked, and even have walk signals on busier roads.
Here are some of my favorite things about this trail:
- It’s relatively flat
- It’s well-maintained and clean
- The scenery is nice
- Beautiful views of Namaske Lake and Glen Lake
- A section runs through some interesting geology – I love rocks!
- The light filters through the trees and looks so dreamy
- Thanks to the tree cover, it’s much better for people susceptible to sunburn
- Parking at the town rec center means that you can cool off with a post-run dip in the lake!
- I see deer every time I’m on the trail
The one thing this trail lacks is regular access to bathrooms along the way. But, when nature calls…… right?
This trail has your back in the middle miles, but not too much at either end. If you need to take an emergency bio break on the side of the trail, there are few options for privacy, since this trail mostly passes through residential neighborhoods (ie: you don’t want to get caught peeing in someone’s backyard). BUT, if you an hold it, here are details for where you can take bio breaks without flashing anyone:
- There are two port-a-potties in a field behind the GRT trail map as you’re approaching the women’s prison from the east, between the 2.0mi and 2.5mi markers. I’m not sure if they’re open (why would anyone lock a port-a-potty?), because they’re in a field and it’s tick season here, y’all (I have enough skin issues with all this running as it is, and have no need to add “tick bites” to the list, thankyouverymuch). If locked, in a pinch I suppose you could squat behind and be afforded some privacy…
- Also within the 2.0mi to 2.5mi markers, just at the other end of the prison where the trail crosses Henry Bridge Road, you can turn off the trail and head toward the traffic lights on Rt 114/Mast Road and say hello to the kind of folks at the Irving gas station.
- Finally, right at the 3.5mi marker, the trail goes by a Shell gas station on Rt 114/Mast Road.
All in all, I do love this trail! Because of its proximity for both of us, my running buddy and I are having a hard time finding another place we’d like to run. We like to run at 6:00am, so traveling further for a trail means getting up earlier – no thank you!
Have you been on the Goffstown Rail Trail? What is your favorite thing about the trail?
Map image courtesy of the Friends of the Goffstown Rail Trail website.