Course Map & Details | Great Bay 55K Challenge


Virtual 55K Challenge: October 1 – 30, 2021

About the GB5K Challenge

The Great Bay 55K Challenge is a scenic route that takes participants around the Great Bay. Scenic extensions, not included in the 55K Challenge, are marked on the map and described below. Be sure to take photos along your route and post them to your favorite social media with the tag #greatbay55kchallenge or email us your photos.


Great Bay 55K Challenge Maps

You can race anywhere you like for the virtual Great Bay 55K Challenge. Create your own route, use a treadmill, or complete the suggested course and explore the Great Bay, as long as you can run, walk and use your wheelchair safely on your own and without any course support. The 55K Challenge does not need to be completed all at once. 

Choose your interval, send in your distance and time, and we will help you keep track of your progress. Details on how to submit times will be sent to registrants via email.


Would you like a Great Bay 55K Turn-by-Turn Description of the entire 55K route?

Great Bay 55K Milestones

Great Bay 55K Milestones

Your journey will start at the Great Bay Discovery Center (89 Depot Road, Greenland, NH), which serves as the conservation-education headquarters for the Great Bay Reserve. A universally accessible trail and boardwalk allow visitors to explore a variety of habitats including upland hardwood forests, freshwater wetlands, salt marsh, and mudflats. Visitors can stand on the deck of a 19th century gundalow replica or wander through the native gardens surrounding the center. Birders find the Discovery Center an excellent location to watch for Great Bay’s wintering Bald Eagle population, migratory warblers, waterfowl, and local pair of Osprey.

84 Depot Road, Greenland, NH

The Great Bay Discovery Center serves as the conservation and educaiton headquarters for the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Community Backyard Wildlife Garden

Enjoy the fruits of volunteer power at the Great Bay Reserve’s Community Backyard Wildlife Garden at the Champman’s Landing boat launch on the Squamscott River.

Squamscott Bridge Boat Landing/Chapman's Landing Boat Launch

The bridge, opened in the early 1800s, allowed masted schooners and gundalows to travel up river to downtown Exeter.

Schanda Park on the Lamprey River

This town-owned park, located in downtown Newmarket, is on the tidal portion of the Lamprey River.

Newmarket Riverwalk

A public pathway along the Lamprey River procides nice views of the river. 

Downtown Newmarket - Mill Town

Visit the many shops and restuarants of the downtown.

Lamprey River Fish Ladder

You will see the Lamprey River where you can view a “fish ladder”. This is a structure that allows fish to migrate upstream past the mad-made dam.

Bridge over the Lamprey River

The Lamprey River occupies 3.51 miles of Great Bay shoreline in the tidal portion.

Heron Point Sanctuary

Heron Point Sactuary Loop Trail is a 1.2 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located in Newmarket that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels.

The Nature Conservancy

The mission of the Nature Conservancy is to conserve all lands and waters of which all life depends.

Lubberland Creek Preserve/Sweet Trail

Lubberland Creek Preserve is a remarkable natural area manage by the Reserve and The Nature Conservancy where visitors can see a mosaic of estuarine, grassland, forest and freshwater weland habitats.

Crommet Creek Conservation Area

You are entering 2,514 acres of natural lands protected in the Great Bay watershet.

University of New Hampshire Browne Center

The Browne Center is an experiential education campus operated by the University of New Hampshire.

Horsehead Pond/Creek Great Blue Heron Rookery

A “rookery” is a colony of nest. Great Blue Heron gather in large colonies each spring, building their nests in the safety of the tree tops.

Oyster River Massacre

On July 18, 1694, a force of about 250 Indians under command of the French soldier, de Villieum, attacked settlements in this area on both sides of the Oyster River.

Old Durham Town Landing

Jackson Landing Boat Ramp and the UNH Rowing Facility

The beautiful saltmarsh fringing the water’s edge here, and around the Great Bay Estuary, is home to a variety of plant and animal species. Saltmarshes provide critical ecosystem services.

Oyster River Bridge

Bunker Lane Barn

This site is home to a large wildlife management area, with many shrubland birds, as well as deer, turkey, rabbit, and fox.

Bridge over Bunker Creek along the Oyster River

As you look to the left you will see Bunker Creek which provides a local example of sea level rise impacts on the Great Bay Estuary.

Bridge Over Johnson Creek

Emery Farm

Founded in 1655, Emery Farm is the oldest continuously operated family farm in the United States.

Wagon Hill Farm

Wagon Hill Farm covers a total of 140 acres on parcels on both sides of Route 4. About half woods and half meadows, it offers year round recreation and exploration. 

Cedar Point

At the east end of Cedar Point, the towns of Durham, Madbury and Dover meet, with
beautiful views of Little Bay and the mouth of the Bellamy River

Alexander Scammel Bridge over the Bellamy River

You will notice a variety of buoys and
boats on either side of the bridge. These are some of the many oyster aquaculture
sites on the Great Bay estuary.

Newick's Lobster House

Stop in for this local favorite for traditional New England seafood served in a sprawling, laidback locale overlooking Little Bay.

Hilton Park

Founded in 1623, Hilton Point was the first Dover settlement.

General Sullivan Bridge

The General Sullivan Bridge is a deck truss bridge, with a through truss span to accommodate ship traffic, that formerly carried the roads that now travel over the Ruth L. Griffin Bridge.

Bloody Point

Bloody Point is a jut of land bordered by the Piscataqua River, which in 1630 was part of Dover.

Glenn's Cove, Emery Lane, Greenland, NH

This property owned and managed by the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is an important historical smelt fishing location.

Great Bay 55K Challenge Scenic Extensions

Scenic extensions, not included in the 55K Challenge, are marked on the maps provided and described below. We hope you enjoy these detours as you explore the Great Bay Estuary.


2.70 mile lollipop: Moody Point off of Bay Rd, Newmarket. At mile 6.85, take a right onto Cushing Rd, go about 1 mile and then bear right. Cushing Rd continues to a circle. Stay left on the circle and then take a left onto Eagle Drive which brings you back to Cushing Rd. Take a left onto Cushing Rd and follow it back to Bay Rd.


2.15 mile out & back: Adams Point to the UNH Jackson Estuarine Lab off of Durham Point Rd, Durham: At mile 10.21 take a right onto Adams Point Rd and follow it out to the Jackson Estuarine Lab parking area and then return to Durham Point Rd.


1.68 mile lollipop: Deer Meadow off of Durham Point Rd, Durham: At mile 12.24 take a right onto Dear Meadow Rd then left onto Fox Hill Rd and then left onto Meadow Rd. Follow Meadow Rd to the Circle. Then follow Meadow Rd bearing left when you reach Fox Hill Rd and finish at Durham Point Rd. 


1.7 miles loop on trails: Wagon Hill Farm trails, Durham. From Piscataqua Rd (Rt 4) at mile 17.53 turn right into Wagon Hill Farm. Pass through the parking lot and stay left going past the wagon on the hill. Continue bearing left at trail intersections and it will take you down to the shores of the Oyster River and back around past the community vegetable gardens to the parking lot and Piscataqua Rd (Rt. 4).


1.16 mile out & back: Fox Point Rd, Newington. At mile 23.37 stay straight continuing on Fox Point Rd to a parking lot at the end of the pavement where you should turn around and head back. Unless you have permission, please do not continue on the dirt section of Fox Point Rd as it is private.   


3.76 mile out & back. Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Newington. At mile 24.53 stay straight continuing on Little Bay Rd and then turn right onto Nimble Hill Rd. Continue until you pass through a gate and then turn right onto Arboretum Dr, which takes you to the parking lot at the Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge.  Next, choose option one or two. Option 1 (0.5 mile loop): Peverly Brook Upper Pond Board Walk Loop: As you reach the Refuge parking lot stay left to enter this loop and be sure to spend a moment on the short extension that takes you to the edge of the pond. Option 2 (1.9 mile lollipop loop): Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge Trail. As you reach the Refuge parking lot stay left to take the trail that goes out to where Little Bay and Great Bay meet. There is a lookout on the water with great views of the Bay.


0.7 mile out and back: Glenn’s Cove, Greenland. From Newington Rd at mile 27.51 take a right onto the driveway that leads to a future home of the Great Bay National Estuarine Reserve educational and research facilities. Enjoy the views of Great Bay at the end of the driveway.