New England is full of little-known corners only a few hours away from everywhere. Colebrook is one of those places: Close enough to Boston and Montreal for a weekend away, and far enough that you’ll see more moose tracks than fellow hikers on the trail. If you’re looking for cool breezes and fewer crowds during a hot New England summer, check out this outdoor guide to Colebrook, NH.
These hikes and recommendations are also useful if you’re planning a trip to the nearby towns of Lemington, Vermont, West Stewartstown, New Hampshire and Canaan, Vermont.
Try if you like: Bethel, Maine
- Hiking trails to yourself on the Cohos Trail through Dixville Notch
- Road biking beside the headwaters of the Connecticut River, with singletrack mountain bike options in Quebec at Circuits Frontiers.
- Central location for exploring border towns in Quebec, as well as other northern New England destinations like Pittsburg and Errol New Hampshire.
Where: Northwestern New Hampshire
- 2.5 hours from Montreal, QC 212km / 131 miles (closest airport)
- 2.75 hours from Portland, ME 202km / 126 miles
- 3.5 hours from Boston 328 km / 204 miles
This makes a great stop between Montreal and the Maine seacoast
Day Hikes Near Colebrook:
Colebrook is further north than the popular White Mountains, which means there are fewer people on the trails and more wilderness to enjoy. That said, less traffic on the trails can make for more adventure, so pay attention to blazes and be preparing for a bit of wayfinding even after reading our outdoor guide to Colebrook, NH.
Chill: Upper Coos Recreational Rail Trail and Riverwalk
This short loop is close to downtown and flat, so makes a nice diversion after you’ve checked out the downtown. From the parking area, begin by following the rail trail across the Mohawk River Bridge, then turn left at the sign. The trail follows the banks of the Mohawk and Connecticut River until it reaches a field. Turn right and follow the fence along the field until you reach the Upper Coos Recreational Rail Trail. From there, take a right on the rail trail to return to the parking area.
Moderate: Hike Table Rock in Dixville Notch
Dixville Notch is a rugged little gem of a pass that not many people know about, and this hike will show you its best side. Table Rock is a narrow ledge overlooking both sides of the notch as well as the former site of The Balsams resort and hotel. Parking is at an easy-to-miss dirt pull off on the south side of the road. The trail is steep and can be somewhat muddy and lasts 2.4 km/ 1.5 miles.
Full Day: Mt. Monadnock Fire Tower in Lemington, Vermont
This hike is 5 miles round trip with more elevation gain than the previous two, but a restored fire tower at the top makes for a rewarding trip with a trailhead that’s only minutes from downtown Colebrook, New Hampshire. Crossing the Connecticut River on the 5-minute drive from town means that you’ll be hiking in Vermont. Note that this trail and mountain are not the same place as the other popular Mount Monadnock in southern New Hampshire.
If you want to explore more of the region on foot, try the 170 mile / 263 km Cohos Trail. It starts in the White Mountains, passes through Dixville Notch, and finishes at the Canadian border, where it connects to the Sentiers Frontaliers hiking trail system in Quebec.
Bike Rides near Colebrook
Ride Vermont Rt. 102 along the Connecticut River
Vermont’s Route 102 winds along the Connecticut River without much change in elevation or traffic. Head north on 102 to Canaan, VT and back for an 18 mile / 28 km ride, or head south to Bloomfield, Vermont for a view of the covered bridge. It’s possible to ride back on New Hampshire Rt. 3 on the east side of the river, but there is usually more truck traffic.
Ride from the Canadian Border in Pittsburg, NH
For a longer trip, start further north in Pittsburg, New Hampshire. From the Canadian border, bike south on Route 3 alongside the reservoirs that control the flow to the Connecticut River and also create habitat for the moose the region is known for. Turn right onto Beecher Falls Road and to stay on the west side of the river, then continue to Colebrook via VT. 102. Route 145 will bring you from Pittsburg to Colebrook as well with lots of hills and less of a shoulder.
Groups road rides run weekly through the Spoke N’ Word Bike Shop in the summer. Try the multisport Metallak Race in September for a gravel grind in the area, or buy a local summer recreation map to get an idea of what gravel roads you can try.
Ride Québec’s MTB trails at Circuit Frontières
Technical bits and few intersections make this 50km cross country trail network more than worth the trouble of packing your passport and making sure to unload the unwashed tomatoes from your lunch. Best practice dictates that you should also have health insurance that will cover you in Canada, but know that the Colebrook hospital is 15 minutes away. Pay your fees online here, park at the church, and get ready to enter the flow state.
Nearby Coleman State Park operates a campground, and other private options are listed on the local tourism website. Umbagog Lake State Park (pictured) is 40 minutes away, and a variety of state and private campgrounds are available 30 minutes away in Pittsburg, NH as well.
When to Visit + Weather
Most summer services are open between Memorial Day long weekend (early May) and mid-October. If you’re visiting in spring, don’t forget bug nets. July is the driest month with an average high temp of 23ºC / 75ºF and low of 13ºC / 56ºF. August and late summer is a great time to visit since it’s less busy than other New Hampshire destinations with lakes and mountains.