BEST MOTORCYCLE RIDES IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

Winding mountain roads, stunning seashores, dense wilderness byways, and picturesque tiny villages punctuate each route in New Hampshire, which has it all for bikers. “Live free or die,” the state motto, encapsulates the spirit of New Hampshire inhabitants and motorbike riders everywhere. Whether you want to go for a few hours or spend the entire weekend on the road, you’ll find the ideal starting place here.

HOW CAN I FIND THE BEST MOTORCYCLE ROADS AROUND NEW HAMPSHIRE?

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What Are The Best Motorcycle Rides In New Hampshire?

  1. KANCAMAGUS HIGHWAY
  2. MOUNT WASHINGTON AUTO ROAD
  3. THE SEACOAST HIGHWAY
  4. SUNAPEE LOOP SCENIC DRIVE
  5. MONADNOCK REGION LOOP
  6. CONNECTICUT RIVER SCENIC BYWAY
  7. CURRIER AND IVES TRAIL
  8. MOOSE PATH TRAIL
  9. LAKES LOOP
  10. AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE BYWAY

1. KANCAMAGUS HIGHWAY

  • Length: 25 miles
  • Time to Ride: 1 hour
  • Tolls: Free

The Kancamagus Highway, sometimes known as “the Kanc” by motorcyclists and locals, is the highest altitude highway in the American northeast and is possibly the state’s most famous drive. The Kanc starts roughly 60 miles north of Concord and runs through the White Mountains’ heartland. The flowing roadway highway is a relaxing ride with plenty of twists to keep things interesting but few tight switchbacks. The trail runs alongside Mount Kancamagus, through the White Mountain National Forest, and past numerous spectacular viewpoints and overlooks. Many riders stop at the Russell-Colbath Historic Site for a taste of colonial history and a stroll along the Forest Discovery Path.

Good to Know: The Kanc is lovely all year, but it’s particularly lovely in the fall. Every fall, foliage hunters go to the White Mountains and Mount Kancamagus in search of the next spectacular view of the White Mountains. Every overlook in September and October is a stunning tapestry of miles of gold, scarlet, sunset orange, and green.

2. MOUNT WASHINGTON AUTO ROAD

  • Length: 7.6 miles
  • Time to Ride: 30-40 minutes each way
  • Tolls: $17 for one motorcycle and operator

Mount Washington is the tallest peak in the northeast and the most prominent mountain east of the Mississippi, thus despite the hefty toll cost, the picturesque Mount Washington Auto Road is a must-do. The route is brief, but it includes numerous gorgeous stops and viewpoints. This route is difficult for the faint of heart; forbidding drop-offs from the road’s edge have caused worry in the past, and a 12 percent grade keeps things intriguing. You can park and stroll around the gift shop, enjoy the sights, use the facilities, and even ride the steep Cog Railway to the summit after you’ve arrived at the top.

Good to Know: For a once-in-a-lifetime view, plan a sunrise ride to the peak during one of the three Sundays when the road opens early. Be prepared for dramatic weather variations no matter when you arrive; it could be 80 degrees at the bottom and 20 degrees at the summit.

3. THE SEACOAST HIGHWAY

  • Length: 18.5 miles
  • Time to Ride: 40 minutes
  • Tolls: Free

From the Massachusetts/New Hampshire state line up to the motorcycle-friendly city of Portsmouth, the Seacoast Highway/Route 1A runs directly along the shore. You’ll be riding very next to the crashing waves for at least half of the journey. As it hugs the coast and weaves between neighbourhoods of beach houses and small local restaurants, the ride is smooth with only a few twists and curves. There are numerous spots to stop and eat, as well as breathtaking views of the Atlantic seas and the Isle of Shoals.

Good to Know: Portsmouth has some of the best restaurants in the Northeast, so plan to meander around and have lunch or dinner here.

4. SUNAPEE LOOP SCENIC DRIVE

  • Length: 140 miles
  • Time to Ride: 3 hours
  • Tolls: Free

The Sunapee Loop ride is a low-stress, low-effort way to visit New Hampshire’s lake region. Spend a half-day seeing the area’s rolling hills, glittering lakes, and ancient villages, including Washington, NH, which has arguably New England’s most stunning city green. You’ll ride through the woods, around Otter Pond, to the summit of Mount Sunapee, and alongside Mount Sunapee State Park. Many cyclists stop at the state park to unwind on the beach, use the toilets, and take a brief trek.

Good to Know: This is a circular route that starts and ends in Greenfield. Join the 80-mile Monadnock Region Loop here to prolong your adventure.

5. MONADNOCK REGION LOOP

  • Length: 80 miles
  • Time to Ride: 2 hours
  • Tolls: Free

The Monadnock Loop in southwestern New Hampshire is pure New England. This calm, easy route features rolling hills, sparkling white colonial houses, barns, covered bridges, and vistas of Mount Monadnock. You’ll pass past ponds and bogs, have access to numerous paths, and see Mount Monadnock from afar. The towns and villages you’ll pass through are full of great bookstores, antique shops, and local restaurants.

Good to Know: Fall foliage enthusiasts will like this excursion as well! Here’s where you can keep up with the peak colour predictions.

6. CONNECTICUT RIVER SCENIC BYWAY

  • Length: 140 miles
  • Time to Ride: 3 hours
  • Tolls: Free

The Connecticut River Scenic Byway follows the Connecticut River up the western border of New Hampshire. Take Route 9 via West Chesterfield on the southernmost leg of the route, then zigzag north to Rt. 12 and 12A to pass through historic Walpole and Claremont. From the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site to the pristine Pisgah State Park at the ride’s southern end, you’ll experience lovely villages, vistas overlooking the river, and lots of options for side diversions and sites to explore as you pedal north.

Good to Know: You’ll have plenty of chances to join other Connecticut River Byway rides. From Groveton, do the Great North Woods Ride or the Multi-Notch Mountain Ride from Littleton, NH.

7. CURRIER AND IVES TRAIL

  • Distance: 30 miles
  • Time to Ride: 1 hour
  • Tolls: Free

The Currier and Ives Trail winds its way through some of central New Hampshire’s most picturesque scenery and tiny communities. The journey takes you through the towns of Henniker, Hopkinton, Warner, and Webster, New Hampshire. You’ll drive through Rollins State Park, which includes Mount Kearsarge and the Mount Kearsarge Indian Museum. A little detour from Hopkinton will lead you to two covered bridges. In Salisbury, you might want to pay a visit to Daniel Webster’s birthplace. The Currier and Ives Trail is a smooth, pleasant drive, largely tree-lined but with farms and open fields thrown in for good measure.

Good to Know: This route, like many others in New Hampshire, is especially beautiful in the fall.

8. MOOSE PATH TRAIL

  • Distance: 30 miles
  • Time to Ride: 1 hour
  • Tolls: Free

The Moose Path Trail has it all for the outdoor enthusiast looking for a trip into the wilderness: wildlife observation places, access to hiking trails and state parks, and a moose population that possibly outnumbers the human population. You’ll pass through the Northern Forest Heritage Park in Berlin, which features a full-scale model of a 19th-century logging camp. You’ll love a winding route between Berlin and Errol that gives views of the Pontook Reservoir. Between the reservoir and Dixville Notch State Park, you’re most likely to see moose.

Good to Know: If you want an even bigger taste of the wilderness, campgrounds are available at Dixville Notch State Park, Lake Francis State Park, and Connecticut Lakes State Forest. You might wish to bring a picnic lunch with you to eat at one of the state parks along the way.

9. LAKES LOOP

  • Distance: 134 Miles
  • Time to Ride: Allow 3-4 hours
  • Tolls: Free

The Lakes Loop Scenic Drive allows you to take in the cottages and coastlines of Lake Winnipesaukee, go through Wolfeboro, one of America’s oldest summer resorts, and experience a taste of summer in the New Hampshire Lakes that you won’t soon forget. The meandering, smooth road provides regular views of Lake Winnipesaukee, making for a relaxing, scenic trip with lots of opportunities to stop, browse, and soak up the traditional New England small-town feel.

10. AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE BYWAY

  • Distance: 21 miles
  • Time to Ride: 45 minutes
  • Tolls: Free

The American Independence Byway, one of the state’s most historic rides, runs through the heart of Exeter, New Hampshire’s capital during the Revolutionary War, before looping via Kensington, Hampton Falls, and Portsmouth. In Portsmouth, you’ll admire the seascapes along the shore and drive between some of the country’s oldest towns on some of the region’s oldest (but well-maintained) roads. Along the way, history buffs should stop by the American Independence Museum.

Good to Know: Exeter and Portsmouth are both wonderful shopping destinations and fun towns to go around in, so plan on spending some extra time there.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best time of year to ride a motorcycle in New Hampshire?

In New Hampshire, the greatest times to ride a motorcycle are during the summer and autumn. The cold and snow arrive early in the season and last until late in the spring. The months of June to August are the busiest for riders. The fall foliage will be at its peak in September and October, with less tourists.

What is the best motorcycle road in New Hampshire?

The Kancamagus Highway (Route 112) is the state’s busiest motorbike route. The roadway runs through the White Mountain National Forest, which is both scenic and mountainous. The Mt. Washington Auto Road, on the other hand, is the most challenging and thrilling motorbike ride in New Hampshire. The route climbs at an average gradient of 11.6 percent from 1,527 feet at the bottom to 6,145 feet at the top.

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