Gorham Trails & Moose Brook State Park
Have you ever found yourself somewhere that made you think “this place is like a hidden paradise made just for mountain bikers”...? Well, I'm here to tell you a little secret: we live there, and it's awesome! If you find yourself exploring the White Mountains this summer, be sure to make your way to Gorham, NH, home to a sweet network of mountain biking trails as well as the ideal accommodations for cyclists.
Gorham's Coos Trails network consists of over 20 miles of purpose-built MTB trails, created and maintained by the Coos Cycling Club. The Coos Cycling Club is a non-profit, all-inclusive group of cycling enthusiasts in Northern New Hampshire's Coos County. We are dedicated to great trails and open spaces for riding, building community, sharing our love of cycling and, most of all, having fun on our bikes. For many decades folks around Gorham have been exploring the hiking trails, logging roads, and anywhere else two wheels might roll, but the club really started to form around 10 years ago, when a couple of friends who loved mountain biking discovered some underused and abandoned trails in a local state park, and they had an idea. The cyclists approached the managers of Moose Brook State Park and asked if they could do a little work on the trails in order to make them rideable for mountain bikes. The park enthusiastically gave the cyclists their blessing, adding that not only would the park allow the cyclists to improve and ride on the existing trails, but that they could build new trails in the park too, as long as they took care of the maintenance. And thus, a cycling club was born.
Located just a couple minutes from downtown Gorham, Moose Brook State Park is a beautiful 87 acres which was largely built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1934-1936 as a part of President Roosevelt's New Deal. Harkening back to the spirit of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the Coos Cycling Club (CCC) has, through their trail-building efforts, been a part of one small piece in the complex process of revitalizing the economically-depressed area of rural Northern New Hampshire. The club began by reclaiming and adding onto the old 1930's trails in the park, which now make up some of the more technical, old-school portions of the club's network, with plenty of easy to moderate riding mixed in as well. With a double-track access road dividing the two halves of the park and an ice-cold swimming hole at the base, a fun half-day of riding can be made out of exploring the trails within Moose Brook State Park.
Over the course of the last 10 years, Coos Cycling Club has evolved and gotten more organized while retaining its groovy roots. The club became a 501(c)3 organization in 2016 and now gets together for weekly group rides, organizes volunteer trail work days, and accomplishes larger projects through a combination of donations and small grants. Our trail network has also expanded to two new areas: Power Island and Pine Mountain. Easily accessed from Moose Brook State Park by bike on the Presidential Rail Trail, Power Island is a small cluster of beginner-friendly trails on an island in the Androscoggin River. The project was made possible by the Brookfield Power Company, who owns the land for the operation of hydroelectric dams in the area, and are happy to have their unique landform shared by cyclists, runners, and dog-walkers. The largest and current area of trails are being built on the north side of Pine Mountain, through a generous partnership with landowner Gorham Land Company and a grant from the Neil and Louise Tillotson Foundation. These trails can be easily accessed on singletrack from any of the other trails, parking areas, or downtown Gorham via connector singletrack and multi-use non-motorized town trails. Power Island boasts the club's flowiest work to date, including a beginner-friendly loop along the Moose River, well-benched and rolling climbs, heights of land with spectacular views of the snow-capped Northern Presidential Range of the White Mountains, and ridiculously fun, long, grin-worthy descents.
Coos Cycling Club organizes weekly group rides for all abilities, and hosts events several times a year. In winter, the club grooms trails for fat biking with snowshoes and a Snowdog machine, and puts on the Moose Brook Fat Bike Race in January, part of a weekend of winter revelry. This September (2018), we're trying something new and we're calling it Log Jam. It's going to be a 2-day, 80-mile bikepacking race/ride on gravel roads and a little singletrack, with a route which traces the history of the logging in the area. It'll be mostly self-supported (you carry your gear, we carry your beer) and the two days will be broken up by a big group camp/party on the Androscoggin River. Register on Bikereg and join us!
In addition to trails and riding and parties, we've got some fun new projects in the works too, including some new avenues for getting local kids out riding (and racing!), and participation in the MTB Collaborative, a group of 6 MTB areas from northern NH, VT, and Southern Quebec who are joining forces to help promote each other.
To find trail maps and learn more, visit our website cooscyclingclub.org, find us on Facebook, or look up the trails on Trailforks (soon to be on MTB Project, too). Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Now Gorham also has the idea place to stay at the end of a great day of riding: Hub North! Recently Kara and Jason Hunter, two of Coos Cycling Club's most active members and original instigator/masterminds, decided to follow a dream and purchased the property abutting Moose Brook State Park, an old and nearly-defunct Girl Scout camp on 26 acres which include trails linking directly into the club's existing trail network in the park. The Hunters, both professional carpenters, have renovated the property into a beautifully re imagined space located right in the heart of the cycling scene, with accommodations for individuals, groups, and events.
At Hub North, comfort and character come standard with all accommodations; you can stay in indoor or outdoor rooms, and ride right from where you're staying! Indoor accommodations include fully-furnished, private rooms in the main lodge, in a variety of sizes and configurations with well-appointed bathrooms down the hall, a new and modern shared kitchen, and cozy common lounge spaces for your post-ride beer. Or in the warmer months, you can choose to stay in a number of glamping options – it's super cozy camping made easy. Eclectic yurts and large tents with beds and linens are nestled into lovely sites on the property. A redesigned shared bathroom with running water and is centrally located, and a large covered pavilion with a big fireplace and tables provides the perfect place for comfortable outdoor cooking and dining. Showers in the outdoor bathrooms and a modern new kitchen in the outdoor pavilion are coming soon for summer 2018.
Inspired by their world travels and driven by their deep personal connection to the community and their passion for mountain biking, the Hunters have not only succeeded at filling a gap in the accommodation options in the area, but have literally provided a hub for folks from near and far. Come and see why Hub North is the hub of activity! To learn more, make a booking, and get a peek at the space, visit hubnorthnh.com, and find them on Facebook and Instagram. Contact Hub North at or 603-915-9010.
We look forward to seeing you out on the trail!
Secretary, Coos Cycling Club