By Bob Peterson
Interested in a challenging ride with several unexpected surprises along the way? The Mt. Cube Loop is both challenging and surprising!
The ride starts in Orford, NH, at the recreation field parking lot on the south side of Route 25A across from Rivendell Academy. Turn right out of the parking lot and start climbing almost immediately. You’re on Mt. Cube, an 8.5-mile “worthy hill,” well known to cyclists who’ve ridden the Prouty 77- or 100-mile loops. (The Prouty is a bike, walk, row, golf, and paddle charity event in July sponsored by the Friends of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.)
As you start, the ride up Mt. Cube seems daunting, but there’s a reward coming for all this climbing; work for it! Although you will be steadily climbing, the road is terraced so there are short stretches of level pavement and no extreme uphill sections. Take a breather at Mt. Cube Farm on the right at the top of the hill. You’ve earned it! Your reward is coming!
After you’ve caught your breath, continue east on Route 25A, which will quickly pitch downhill for a 7-mile “whoosh” into Wentworth, NH. That’s the reward for all of your climbing as well as the first surprise on the Mt. Cube Loop. When’s the last time you rode downhill for 7 miles? The road surface is generally good, so ride in control to the intersection of routes 25A and 118. At that intersection turn left and head north on Route 118 toward Warren, NH.
At approximately 18.5 miles into your ride, as you approach Warren, look for the second surprise on this ride. It’s the New Hampshire Fish and Game Visitors Center on the right side of Route 118. Stop for a break and check out the huge trout and salmon in the pool. If you have a couple of quarters, you can purchase fish food and watch the lunkers rising to the surface for your snacks.
After feeding the fish continue north on Route 118 into Warren, where there’s a well-stocked convenience store. It’s the last chance for snacks and water for approximately 23 miles if you’re running low!
As you ride through Warren, get ready for the third surprise on this ride. Look left! You can’t miss the towering Redstone Rocket located on the town green. Ride over to the green, take a selfie, and read the history of how this missile was brought to tiny Warren, NH, in 1971. You can search “Redstone Missile, Warren, NH” for more information.
After checking out the Redstone, continue north on Route 118 for approximately 1 mile and bear left onto Route 25, also known as the Mt. Moosilauke Highway, at the junction with Route 118. You’ll be treated with some outstanding views of Mt. Moosilauke as you ride through the small towns of Glencliff and Pike, and may see some Appalachian Trail hikers crossing Route 25 along the way.
Continue following Route 25 for approximately 20 miles to the intersection with Route 10 in Haverhill, NH. Turn south onto Route 10 and get into your lowest gear as you chug up a short, steep hill into the picturesque village of Haverhill. Turn off Route 10 south onto River Road at mile 35 and enjoy the ride through several working farms. Turn right at the intersection of River Road and Route 25, and cross over the Connecticut River into Bradford, VT. Your fourth surprise, Farmway, is just after you cross the river. Farmway is an institution in this region, and it’s worth stopping to check out the selections of footwear, clothing, camping and hunting gear, furniture, and gifts at this eclectic store. Come back when you can spend more time.
At the intersection of routes 25 and 5, turn south on Route 5 toward Fairlee, VT, five miles down the road. You’re almost home! In Fairlee, turn left onto the picturesque iron bridge over the Connecticut River, and then turn right onto Route 10 south in Orford, NH. One last surprise—check out the row of beautiful Colonial Era homes on the ridge on the left side of Route 10 as you pass through Orford. Turn left onto Route 25A and into the rec fields parking lot after a challenging and interesting 45-mile ride.
Come to think of it…this is a nice loop for a drive if you just want to get away for a few hours on a nice spring or summer day. Check it out!