The colors are coming out, so now starts the series of bike rides that I think provide the best fall foliage panoramas. This is a fall version of The Lupine Ride, with great views of the Presidentials, Wambek and Cherry Mountain. It is an easier ride than most, lots of flat roads and no big climbing. I am in CT this week and will not be on this ride, but I did the ride last Friday to check it out, and with the perfect weather forecast for Thursday, this should be a great ride! If you can't make it this Thursday, try to ride it at some point during the foliage season to enjoy the views!
I rode Valley Road and it was is MUCH better condition (as of Friday!!) than when we rode it in June. The loose stones have been ground into the road or tossed aside. I wish for you the tailwind that that pushed me to 15 mph on the dirt without peddling the entire way, and I wish that the wind direction switches for your return route. Whipple Road (the dirt road leading from the dairy farm to route 116) was NOT in good shape for riding. It was very loose and stoney.
Start time: 10:00 am ready to ride
Bring lunch or snacks - no food or water available on this version of the ride.
Meet at the parking lot on the west (Randolph) end of Pinkham B Road at the rail trail crossing.
Carpool: Meet at the Jackson Ski Touring/Wentworth Golf Club parking area across the street from the J-Town Deli at 9:15 am.
Ride length: 28 miles, with a 22 mile option if you don't ride the route 115-115A triangle and just go to the campground on Valley Road.
Route description: Cross Route 2 over to Durand Road. Ride it all the way up to the end of the dead end and walk the path up to Route 2. Ride about 2 miles and take a left onto Valley Road. Ride out Valley to Route 115. Take a left and ride up to the intersection with Cherry Mountain Road (on left) and Route 115A (on right). For something different and more views, take a LEFT onto Cherry Mountain Road. Ride out and back, soak up the views on the flat road, turn back where the road goes uphill. Return to Route 115, cross over it onto Route 115A and ride this out past the raircar home and cemeteries to the dairy farm in the Jefferson Valley. Since Whipple Road was not in good shape, ride to the right here and cross the Israel River, stop and enjoy the view. Reverse and return by Valley Road stopping at the campground for lunch. The store there is closed on Thursday, but you could use the picnic tables there, or eat by the pond next to the campground. Head back by Valley Road then choose either Route 2 or Durand Road for the smiling downhill back to Pinkham B. I wish I were there....
Directions to the start: The start is at the Randolph end of the Pinkham B Road. There is parking right next to where the Presidential Rail Trail crosses Pinkham B. Access Pinkham B road from the Dolly Copp Campground entrance off of Route 16. As you drive down the hill on Pinkham B and come out of the woods, where there are 2 houses on the left, the rail trail crosses the road at a public works department building. There is parking on the left side near the rail trail.
If you don't want to drive Pinkham B's dirt and "pavement", drive route 16 to Gorham, follow it left at the intersection towards Berlin and then take a left on Route 2 at the traffic light. Go up the big hill and down the other side. Just after the hill flattens, Pinkham B Road will be on your left. Take the left and drive about 0.5 mile to the parking area near the rail trail on the right.
For a map: