DEMANDING ride (2+ hours)
This is a problematic area. Several old trails and roads are now part of land owned by the Federal Government as part of the Appalachian Trail (AT) Corridor, which is off-limits to anything other than foot-traffic. The new section of the AT that runs through this corridor has received a lot of mountain bike traffic despite its being off-limits to mountain bikes, and suffers erosion problems as a result. If its being illegal doesn’t phase you, think of the long hours of volunteer hard work that go into the trail and the worsened relations between mountain bikers and public. Title 36, Section 7.100 of the Code of Federal Regulations makes it clear: No bikes on the AT or in the AT corridor. Please respect this rule.
There are a few old town roads that provide access over town rights-of-way (actually old town roads that were actively used in the last century) that allow riders to cross the AT corridor while it is “in the woods”. In addition, a good loop can be put together.
Here’s how you get to the top of Bragg Hill. Riding through Norwich from Hanover, take the left immediately after the Norwich Inn. Continue down the slight hill, across the bridge and to your first left. This is Bragg Hill Road.
You can continue up this by crossing the small bridge and heading up (“up” being the important word) the dirt road, or take a slightly more adventurous route. Take the immediate right at the intersection onto Dutton Hill Road, which goes up steeply. Where it ends, continue straight onto the town right-of-way (R-O-W). This brings you onto another dirt road. Continue up, and when in doubt, continue as straight as possible, onto the old R-O-W if necessary. At the end of the last R-O-W, after the small apple orchard on the left, continue to the top of the hill, stop and look back. It’s usually a good view of Hanover. Go down from here and take a left onto Bragg Hill.
Now get onto Newton Lane. Riding up Bragg Hill Road from Norwich, go left when the road flattens and turns right. (Coming down Bragg Hill Road from Dutton Hill Road, take a right where the road turns sharply to the left.) (Another road, Happy Hill Road, also exits next to Newton Lane — don’t take Happy Hill Road as it dead-ends at the AT corridor.)
Go up Newton Lane and continue going straight ahead when the road turns sharply to the right to go between a house and barn. Ride down between the cow fields and up the rocky, ledgy trail. You’ll cross the AT and start down the other side.
You soon reach a trail that descends to the right. If you continue straight, Newton Lane continues down to Dothan Street. A left on Dothan Street will take you down to Route 5 south of Norwich. A right will take you onto the old Jericho Street, now little more than a jeep path, and site of the old AT. This is a great trail to let it rip — over, around or through the frequent mud-puddles and over the short, ledgy roller-hills. You soon reach a rapidly over-growing meadow with a junction at its far edge.
Take a left here. If you go straight or right, you enter the AT corridor (illegal). A left brings you down to and across a small, rideable stream. Head up the hill on the other side and enter the maintained part of Jericho Street. Continue down on this to a junction with Dothan Street. A left will eventually take you back to Newton Lane. A left onto Newton again will make a smaller loop. To make a two hour-plus loop, take a right on Dothan Street and continue past the intersection with Wallace Road. Continue quite a ways down Jericho Street and take the next right, onto Wildlife Road. This road is not maintained all the way through for cars, and provides some slightly rough terrain for mountain bikes.
After a ways on the far, maintained, side of Wildlife Road, when you reach a fork in the road and where a smaller road ascends straight ahead and the main road turns to the left, you have reached your turn. Take a sharp right behind the house on the right side of the road. This is perpendicular to the straight line made by the right fork and the main road. Ride up this old road past the fields on the left and up the hill. Eventually the old woods road crosses the AT and heads downhill. After an often-ledgy downhill, take a sharp right at the intersection you reach.
Ride up this narrow, rough, dirt road along the stream. Continue up and to the left at the next fork in the road. Continue past the red house on the right, and up again. Take the first major left and head slightly downhill and then across the flat woods road. Take it easy for the first time as you cross the small streams that cross the trail. After a little ways the trail heads sharply uphill and to the right, take the sharp right and ride between the house and the barn foundations in the small clearing. Continue on this trail up and over the height of land and down the other side, on a rutted woods road.
At the four-way intersection, with the blue gate on the left, take a right, heading across the hill. Where this trail forks, head left downhill, a moderately rocky and rutted descent. This eventually brings you onto the upper section of Bragg Hill Road.
To get back to Hanover, either take a right and head back down Bragg Hill Road or take a left, then bear right at the corner and go down to Beaver Meadow Road (paved), where you can take a right towards Norwich and Hanover. A third option is to take the right, onto Bragg Hill Road, but keep your eyes open for a woods road that angles off to the left and slightly downhill. Follow this to the bottom, cross the Charles Brown Brook, and take a right onto Beaver Meadow Road.