Bucket-List Worthy MTB Trails: Bear Brook Trail, New Hampshire

The best word to describe Bear Brook Train in New Hamp­shire — LOTS. Lots of trails, lots of rocks, lots of drops, lots of flowy sec­tions, lots of ele­va­tion changes, and lots of scenery. The giant trail net­work expands over 10,000 acres and three moun­tains, deliv­er­ing an insane vari­ety of ter­rain. Ter­rain built by moun­tain bik­ers, New Eng­land Moun­tain Bike Asso­ci­a­tion (NEMBA), and history. 

The Best Sec­tions
Crank your met­al steed to its lim­its on Low­er Chip­munk’s tech­ni­cal rocks or ride it out easy on Podunk road. Bear Brook accom­mo­dates all types of rid­ers. “My favorite tech­ni­cal trail is Carr Ridge…best flow­ing sin­gle­track is Big Bear,” says Jason Record, who has been rid­ing Bear Brook for 17 years at least once a week.  “My favorite sec­tions to ride are near the hiker/biker lot off Podunk Rd and include Bear Brook trail, Big Bear and Hemlock.”

Tom Bar­ton, a long time mt bike rac­er hav­ing won sev­er­al area & region­al moun­tain bike races as an elite mas­ter com­peti­tor, enjoys Bear Brook Trail as well, but he prefers  Hedge­hog Ledge Trail for its short ups and downs dot­ted by huge boul­ders. He was also a big fan of Carr Ridge — “a long tech­ni­cal decent with a lot of fun, banked cor­ners.” But, per­haps the best part about Bear Brook is the enor­mi­ty of the state park. Tom says, “Bear Brook  is FULL of trails, I just raced the Core Sweep Trail 26.7 mile pro race — it was a con­tin­u­ous loop that nev­er crossed over the same trail twice.” 

Qual­i­ty or Quan­ti­ty?
Bear Brook is big, but it’s not just pop­u­lar because of vari­ety. “NEMBA takes real­ly good care of these trails, they are main­tained near per­fect,” said Bar­ton. The dou­ble­track is all fast with a good sur­face and almost no mud-holes (a big deal in New Hamp­shire). NEMBA even main­tains the fast, swoop­ing banked cor­ners on the more advanced trails like Carr Ridge. “[Bear Brook] is great for race train­ing, you can ride an over 20 mile loop with­out repeat­ing a sec­tion and you wont have to wor­ry about any unknown mud-hole or bro­ken burm either.” 

All in all, Bear Brook is a crazy huge net­work of the great­est trails New Hamp­shire has to offer. It’s wor­thy of a trip, so grab your camp­ing gear, your trusty met­al steed, and pre­pare for expe­ri­enc­ing some thrilling ter­rain that will be new around every cor­ner. Next week we’ll take a look at the best of the best in Wash­ing­ton, a trail called Noble Knob.


DIF­FI­CULTY: Novice, Inter­me­di­ate, or Advanced
LENGTH: 40+ miles
TRAIL TYPE: Sin­gle­track, Dou­ble­track
CON­FIG­U­RA­TION: HUGE net­work
AVER­AGE TIME: 1–5 hours
ELE­VA­TION CHANGE: 1,900 ft
REG­U­LA­TIONS: Stay out of the archery range and rid­ing is pro­hib­it­ed dur­ing the “mud sea­son” (Spring).