motorcycle destinations

Best Motorcycle Roads & Destinations in New Hampshire, United States

Best Motorcycle Roads & Destinations in New Hampshire, United States

1. Introduction

Despite being one of the smaller states along the northeast coast of the United States, New Hampshire or “the Granite State” can be an ideal place to have a motorcycle trip. As you travel on its highways, you will find that many of New Hampshire’s natural features include rugged mountains, crystal clear lakes, and hilly or rocky terrain. Aside from its most prominent landmark, Mt. Washington, you will also be able to ride along the Atlantic Coast.


This article is intended to provide a list of New Hampshire’s famous motorcycle roads and destinations as well as supplementary information on this state’s motorcycle laws and possible luggage options.

2.Best Roads and Destinations in New Hampshire

2.1 Kancamagus Highway

Starting from within the White Mountain National Forest, you head eastward away from Lincoln. After you clear East Branch Pemigewasset River, you may get the chance to explore Lincoln Woods Trailhead, Discovery Trail, East Pond Trailhead, and Greeley Pond Trailhead.

Distance: 36 miles
Time: 54 minutes
Start: Lincoln
End: Conway


Further along, you will be able to climb up Hancock Overlook, Pemigewasset Overlook, and CL Graham Wangan Overlook to get a better look at the surrounding wilderness. As you travel parallel to Swift River, you will catch sight of Sugar Hill Scenic Vista, Sabbaday Falls Observation Site, Rocky Gorge Scenic Area, and the Lower Falls.


Continuing to wind around Swift River, you will cross over Albany Covered Bridge. You will be able to explore Boulder Loop Trailhead and South Moat Mountain Trailhead before you exit the wilderness, finally arriving in Conway.


Recognized as the highest highway in the northeast, this route is capable of reaching heights of nearly 3,000 feet above sea level. Other notable historical sites you may be able to visit during your ride include the Passaconaway Historic Site and the Russell-Colbath Historic Homestead.

2.2 Route 1A - The Seacoast Highway

Route 1A - The Seacoast Highway- Best Roads and Destinations
Photo Credit: motorcycleroads.com

Starting in Amesbury, you have the opportunity to check out the exhibits at Macy-Colby House, Mary Baker Eddy Historic House, and Industrial History Center. Heading eastward on Elm Street and Beach Road, you will encounter Salisbury Salt Marsh Wildlife Management. Eventually, you will make it to the Atlantic Coast.

Distance: 30 miles
Time: 1 hour
Start: Amesbury, MA
End: Portsmouth, NH


Turning northward onto Route 1A, you will pass by Salisbury Beach before you cross over back into New Hampshire. Continuing to travel north, you will come in close proximity to Seabrook Dunes and Beach, Blackwater River, and Bound Rock.


After you cross over Hampton Bridge, you will come across Hampton Beach State Park, Hampton Salt Marsh Conservation Area, North Beach, North Hampton Beach, Bass Beach, Sawyer Beach, Jenness Beach, Foss Beach, and Wallis Sand Beach as you keep heading up.

As you turn inland, you will have the chance to check out the Seacoast Science Center, Odiorne Point State Park, Sagamore Creek Headlands, Sagamore Creek, and Piscataqua River. You will then arrive in Portsmouth.

2.3 Mt. Washington Auto Road

Mt. Washington Auto Road - Best Roads and Destinations
Photo Credit: stuff.co.nz 

Before you leave Glen House, you should check out the exhibits at Douglas A. Philbrook Red Barn Museum. You will then embark westward and begin your climb towards the summit of Mount Washington.

Distance: 8 miles
Time: 26 minutes
Start: Glen House
End: Mt. Washington Summit


As you swerve within the White Mountain National Forest, you will be able to explore the wilderness by heading up the Appalachian Trail, Madison Gulf/Old Jackson Road North Trailhead, Chandler Brook Trailhead, and Alpine Garden Trailhead.


Crawling up to the highest point in New Hampshire, you will catch sight of the Lizzie Bourne Memorial and delve deep into the heart of Mount Washington State Park. This route is not recommended for those with a fear of heights as the road gets narrower the higher up you go.

2.4 Route 118 From Warren to Lincoln

Route 118 From Warren to Lincoln - Best Roads and Destinations
Photo Credit: q1065.fm

While you are still in Warren, you can check out the landmark known as the Redstone Rocket. You also can grab a quick bite at either Calamity Jane’s or Moose Scoops Ice Cream. You will then embark northward via North Hampshire Route 118 which will have you traveling parallel to Baker River.

Distance: 16 miles
Time: 26 minutes
Start: Warren
End: North Woodstock


Delving into the western region of the White Mountain National Forest, you will be able to explore the wilderness by hiking up either Hubbard Brook Trailhead, Mcvetty Trail System, and Raven Lodge Trailhead.


Most of your surroundings will be dense woodlands with views of the mountain tops in the distance. The route will have plenty of sharp, twisty turns with undulations and s-turns that climb and drop down the hilly terrain.

2.5 New Hampshire Route 153 Among the Lakes

New Hampshire Route 153 Among the Lakes - Best Roads and Destinations
Photo Credit: schroders.com

Embarking from Conway by traveling south via New Hampshire Route 153, you should be able to catch sight of Pequawket Pond and Conway Lake. Further along Eaton Road, you will pass by Dolloff Pond and Crystal Lake.

Distance: 35 miles
Time: 54 minutes
Start: Conway
End: Sanbornville


As you continue heading down, you will pass by Hatch Pond, Long Pond, Purity Lake, Freedom Town Forest, Berry Bay, and Ossipee River. When you make a temporary transition via New Hampshire Route 25, you should be able to catch sight of Turtle Rock and Strangeville.


Continuing back onto New Hampshire Route 153, you will wind around Green Mountain State Forest, Province Lake, Belleau Lake, Balch Pond, Pine River Pond, and Great East Lake.You will finally arrive in Sanbornville/

2.6 The Grafton Notch

The Grafton Notch - Best Roads and Destinations
Photo Credit: conwaydailysun.com

Heading northwest on Route 26, you will first come across Step Falls Preserve and Mahoosuc Public Reserve Land. You will cut through Grafton Notch State Park then you will be able to get a glimpse at both Moose Caves and Old Speck Mountain.

Distance: 148 miles
Time: 3 hours 9 minutes
Start: Newry, ME
End: Newry, ME


After you pass the Maine-New Hampshire border, you will come across Umbagog Lake State Park, Sargent Cove, and Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge. After arriving in Errol, you will have reached the northern tip of the loop.


Turning southward via Route 16, you will pass by Mollidgewock State Park, Androscoggin State Park, Bofinger Wildlife Management Area, Milan Town Forest, Nansen Wayside Park, and Alpine Cascades. You will travel parallel to Bear Brook and Androscoggin River.


Turning back towards Newry, you will ride atop U.S. Route 2 just on the northern edge of White Mountain National Forest. Continuing to travel parallel to Androscoggin River, you will encounter Shelburne Town Forest and Maine Mineral and Gem Museum.

2.7 The Nashua Triangle

The Nashua Triangle - Best Roads and Destinations
Photo Credit: onlyinyourstate.com

If you choose to explore Nashua, you will have the chance to check out Greeley Park, Mine Falls Park, Fields Grove, Morgan’s Mire, and Roussel Memorial Field. Embarking southwest via Route 111, you will travel parallel to the Nashua River.

Distance: 29 miles
Time: 57 minutes
Start: Nashua
End: Nashua


Reaching the southern tip of the loop, you will turn northward via Route 122 after you have crossed over into Massachusetts for a short time. You will be in close proximity to Nissitissit Meadows, Beaver Brook, Tenney Meadow, Silver Lake State Park, Spalding Park Town Forest, Millicent Scott Gardner Memorial, Big Dickerman Town Forest, and Little Dickerman Town Forest.


Beginning the return trip, you will travel southeast via Route 101A after clearing Amherst. You will be within the vicinity of Ponemah Bog Wildlife Refuge, Stump Pond, Round Pond, and Northwest Conservation Land. You will soon find your way back to Nashua.

2.8 Colebrook to Umbagog Lake

Colebrook to Umbagog Lake - Best Roads and Destinations
Photo Credit: mainetrailfinder.com

Departing eastward from Colebrook via Route 26, you will encounter the Coos Trail before you begin to travel parallel to Mohawk River. Further along, you will come across Tabletop Rock, Lake Gloriette, Dixville Notch State Park, Cascade Brook, and Huntington Falls.

Distance: 30 miles
Time: 38 minutes
Start: Colebrook
End: Umbagog Lake


Continuing along towards the southeast, you will travel parallel to Bear Brook. You will catch sight of Akers Pond, Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge, Androscoggin Wayside Park, Mollidgewock State Park, and Umbagog Lake State Park. This route will end at the New Hampshire-Maine border.

2.9 Hollis to Jaffrey

Hollis to Jaffrey - Best Roads and Destinations
Photo Credit: flickr.com

Leaving Hollis behind by heading north via Route 122, you will pass by Silver Lake State Park, Spalding Park Town Forest, Millicent Scott Gardner Memorial, Big Dickerman Town Forest, Little Dickerman Town Forest. You will then turn west along Route 101A which will take you in close proximity to Kaley Park, Curtis Well, Keyes Memorial Park.

Distance: 33 miles
Time: 52 minutes
Start: Hollis
End: Jaffrey


Traveling parallel to the Souhegan River, you will transition onto Route 101 while continuing to head west. You will be within the vicinity of Wilton Town Forest, Scott Land, Sheldrick Forest Preserve, and Miller State Park.


For the last leg of the trip, you will transition onto U.S. Route 202 which will point you towards the southwest. You will travel parallel to Contoocook River which will take you beside Moore Parcel, Howard Memorial Park, and Cheshire Pond. You will soon find yourself arriving in Jaffrey.

2.10 Route 119

Route 119 - Best Roads and Destinations
Photo Credit: triumphpetfood.com

After leaving Brattleboro, you will cross over the Connecticut River and begin to head south on Brattleboro Road. For this section, you will come in close proximity to Wantastiquet Mountain Natural Area, Vernon Street Wetland, and Hinsdale Town Park.

Distance: 40 miles
Time: 59 minutes
Start: Brattleboro, VT
End: 10 Sun Cliff Drive, NH


You will then turn east while traveling parallel to the Ashuelot River. You will curve around the southern tip of Pisgah State Park. After you have cleared Winchester, you will pass by Musterfield Park, Bennet Gorge, Quint Preserve, and Barden State Wildlife Management Area.


For the last leg of this trip, you will continue to head east which will take you close to Morgan Reserve Association Open Space, Stearns-Lamont Forest, Fosket Wildlife Refuge, and Converse Meadow. This route will end when you reach the edge of the border between New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

2.11 Central New Hampshire Tour via Route 132

Central New Hampshire Tour via Route 132 - Best Roads and Destinations
Photo Credit: rocherealty.com

Within the urban area just north of East Concord, you will be able to check out Turtle Pond, Merrimack River, Penacook Riverside Park, and Holt Road Marsh State Wildlife Management Area. Shortly after you exit the edges of the city, you will come across Hannah Duston Memorial State Historic Site and Muchyedo Banks.

Distance: 31 miles
Time: 47 minutes
Start: East Concord
End: New Hampton


As you continue to head northward, you will pass by Hutchins Forest, Ayers State Forest, and Northfield Town Forest. When you arrive in Tilton, you get the chance to admire the Memorial Arch of Tilton, Arch Park, and Riverfront Park.


After a short transition via U.S. Route 3, you will return to heading upward atop Route 132. You will be within close proximity to Cawley Pond, Sanbornton Town Forest, Hermit Lake, Spectacle Pond, and Pinnacle Park. After swerving on roads with minor cracks and bumps, you will finally make it to New Hampton.

2.12 New Hampshire Route 123

New Hampshire Route 123 - Best Roads and Destinations
Photo Credit: flickr.com

Departing from Mason, you will head northwest via Routes 123 and 45 which will take you close to Russell-Abbott State Forest, Greenville Reservoir, and Marshall State Forest. Transitioning onto Route 101, you will begin to wind around towards the northwest which will pass by Miller State Park and Casalis State Forest.

Distance: 62 miles
Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Start: Mason, NH
End: Westminster, VT


Returning to riding atop Route 123, you will navigate a wide swerve towards the northwest. You will come close to Evas Marsh State Wildlife Management Area, Carpenter Marsh State Wildlife Management Area, John Kulish Forest, Hosmer State Wildlife Management Area, Daniel Upton Forest, and Pierce Wildlife & Forest Preservation.


For the final stretch of the route, you will be within the vicinity of Kinson State Wildlife Management Area, Elizabeth Burns McIntire Forest, Lake Warren, and Mill Pond Nature Sanctuary. After passing these areas, you will finally arrive in Westminster after crossing over the New Hampshire-Vermont border.

3. Motorcycle Laws in New Hampshire

Motorcycle Laws in New Hampshire - Best Roads and Destinations

3.1 New Hampshire Motorcycle Helmet Laws

All motorcyclists under the age of 18 are required by law to wear an approved motorcycle helmet while traveling on New Hampshire’s roads and highways. If you are above the age restriction, you are allowed to ride a motorcycle without having a motorcycle helmet strapped on. However, it is best that you have protective headgear since it will help prevent severe or fatal head injuries.


The types of motorcycle helmets accepted in New Hampshire are three-quarter and full-face helmets. These models have been approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation, were manufactured by the Snell Memorial Foundation, and provide both ample protection and visibility.


As you select your motorcycle helmet, check that they meet the following requirements and are designed with the proper features:

  • Has a Department of Transportation (DOT) sticker
  • Can be fitted around your head snugly
  • No visible signs of damage
  • Has a face shield with no scratches (Full-face helmet only)
  • Requires separate eye protection with no scratches (Three-quarter helmet only)
  • Has a hard and durable outer shell that is shatter-resistant
  • Gives you a clear, peripheral view
  • Can be fastened with a neck- or chin-strap
  • Allows airflow without fogging up
  • Can allow you to wear sunglasses or goggles underneath

3.2 New Hampshire Motorcycle Passenger Laws

If you wish to transport another person on your vehicle, keep in mind that there is no minimum age requirement for motorcycle passengers in New Hampshire. However, any passengers under the age of 18 must wear an approved motorcycle helmet if they wish to ride behind you.


It is only legal to transport a passenger on your motorcycle if it is fitted with the following equipment: a designated passenger seat, handholds, and footrests.


The passenger seat can either be fixed to the side as a sidecar, at the rear as a separate saddle, or at the back of a large driver’s seat.


Characteristics to look for in passengers are individuals who listen to directions, follow your movements, cannot be carrying packages in their arms, are wearing protective attire, and can reach the footrests.

3.3 New Hampshire Motorcycle Equipment Requirements

In New Hampshire, you are required to bring your motorcycle to an approved inspection station within 10 days after registering the vehicle. Going forward, you will have to bring your motorcycle to an approved inspection station every year within 10 days after your birth month. It is recommended that you make a habit of examining the condition of your vehicle before every ride. Maintaining the upkeep of your motorcycle’s primary components will help you when applying repairs, replacing broken parts, and ensuring your vehicle’s overall functionality.


You need the following minimum requirements fitted to your motorcycle for the vehicle to meet the safety requirements in New Jersey. They must be working at optimal capacity to help you quickly avoid obstacles, improve your visibility to other drivers, and increase awareness of your surroundings:

  • Horn
  • Wheels
  • Tires
  • Handlebars
  • Front & Rear Brakes
  • Controls
  • Headlight
  • Rear light
  • Brake Light
  • Turn Signals
  • Exhaust System
  • Muffler
  • Rearview Mirrors
  • Fenders
  • Footrests

3.4 New Hampshire Motorcycle Lane Splitting Laws

In New Hampshire, lane splitting is deemed an illegal practice and forbidden for motorcyclists to attempt. You can’t ride ‘motorcycle on top of the dividing lines in between traffic lanes, ride in between adjacent rows of stopped vehicles.


You should act with just as much caution when it comes to lane sharing. Motorcyclists are entitled to make full use of the space within their current lane. They can also share a lane with another motorcycle so long as the vehicles stay apart at least two abreast and both parties consent beforehand. You should refrain from engaging in this practice unless you are alongside someone you trust with riding experience.

4. Motorcycle Luggage for New Hampshire Motorcycle Tour

Listed below are the motorcycle luggage options you can choose from. All of them have zippered and/or mesh pockets, are made of durable and weather-resistant materials, and come with an installation guide for easy mounting. They differ in terms of design, color, size, and placement position to offer you diverse choices:

5. Parting Words

Before you head out on your New Hampshire motorcycle trip, you should first be mindful of safety by making sure you prepare the necessary protective gear and motorcycle equipment. You should also keep in mind your passenger’s well-being if you carry one with you and what maneuvers on the road are considered legal or illegal.


As you travel via popular routes and visit promising locations in New Hampshire, you will not just have the opportunity to test out your riding skills. You will also be able to admire this state’s natural scenery, places of historical significance, and roadside attractions. While you are operating your vehicle, do not be afraid to take slight detours if you think you are heading to places that will enhance your riding experience.


Remember to be responsible when handling your motorcycle and try to have fun as you prepare to head out on your New Hampshire motorcycle trip.

Reading next

Motorcycle Laws & Licensing for New Hampshire, United States
Best Motorcycle Roads & Destinations in Connecticut

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