Franconia Ridge Trail (2008) – White Mountains, New Hampshire
Trailside History, White Mountains – The history of the trail system in the New Hampshire White Mountains is amazing; early 19th-century trail builders are true legends of the White Mountains, and they are forever implanted into the history books. Trails built in the 1800s, such as Crawford Path, Davis Path, and Lowe’s Path, are still in use today. And while the building of hiking trails is a great topic, there are also many interesting features along the trails.
Trailside features such as Cow Cave, Gibbs Brook dam, Walton’s Cascade, and the many abandoned cellar holes along the trail system have some intriguing history attached to them, but they are often unnoticed by today’s hikers. So this blog article focuses on a few trailside features.
Memorial Bridge, The Link – Randolph, New Hampshire
Memorial Bridge, Randolph – Built 1923-1924, Memorial Bridge crosses Cold Brook along “The Link” trail in Randolph, New Hampshire. The bridge was dedicated as a memorial to Randolph's early pathmakers (19th-century trail builders) on August 23, 1924. These early pathmakers are responsible for cutting many of the trails in the Northern Presidential Range.
Louis F. Cutter and Eldredge H. Blood designed and built the bridge. Work began on it in the fall of 1923 and was completed in time for the August 1924 dedication. The span of the bridge is about 26 feet, and it's built of concrete, logs, stone, and supported by a copper-clad log that is said to be over 5 feet in circumference. And the entrances were intentionally kept narrow to prevent horses and cattle from using it.
Suspension Bridge – Lincoln Woods Trailhead, White Mountains
Lincoln Woods Trail, White Mountains – There isn’t a grand story about how the Lincoln Woods Trail came to be, and the trail isn’t named for any famous person. However, this trail is the direct result of J.E. Henry’s historic East Branch & Lincoln Railroad (1893-1948), and that is what makes it so unique.
The 2.9 mile-long Lincoln Woods Trails utilizes the railroad bed of the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad. It begins along the Kancamagus Highway at the Lincoln Woods trailhead, crosses a picturesque suspension bridge (above), and travels along the west side of the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River, and after crossing Franconia Brook, the trail abruptly ends at the Pemigewasset Wilderness boundary.
Trail Ladder – Six Husbands Trail, Great Gulf Wilderness
Six Husbands Trail, Presidential Range – When it comes to rugged mountain trails in the New Hampshire White Mountains, the Six Husbands Trail is at the top of the list. This trail dates back to the early 1900s when the legendary AMC Trail-builder Warren W. Hart was cutting trails in the Great Gulf. From 1908-1910, Hart was AMC’s councilor of improvements, and he oversaw the building of 9 trails in the Great Gulf. He thought trails should be all about adventure. And was known for building rugged and steep trails, so rugged one of them, Adams Slide Trail, was eventually closed. Before Hart’s trail building stint, the Great Gulf was wild wilderness.
Cut in 1909 and 1910 by Hart and a volunteer AMC trail crew the Six Husbands Trail originally was about 4.85 miles long. It began on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, traveled across the alpine garden, crossed the Mount Washington auto road near mile marker six, descended into the Great Gulf, ascended the rocky ridge known as Jefferson’s knee, crossed the Gulfside Trail (Appalachian Trail), and ended on the summit of Mount Jefferson.
Camel Trail – Mount Washington, New Hampshire
Random Trail History, White Mountains – Think about these White Mountains history facts for a moment. Crawford Path is the oldest continuously-used mountain trail in America. Trail maker Charles E. Lowe and Dr. William G. Nowell built Lowe’s Path in 1875-1876. Nathaniel Davis, son-in-law of Abel and Hannah Crawford, built Davis Path in 1845. Nathaniel L. Goodrich (1880-1957) is considered to be the founder of peakbagging in the White Mountains.
In this era of outdoor recreation (camping, fishing, hiking, etc.) the ones who explored the New Hampshire White Mountains before us are being forgotten about. So today’s blog article focuses on random tidbits of history surrounding the White Mountains trail system.
Downes-Oliverian Brook Ski Trail – White Mountains, New Hampshire
Interesting Finds, White Mountains – My documentary work of historic sites takes me to many areas of the White Mountain National Forest. And I have to admit I have come across many things that I just can’t explain. And today I want to share a few of these interesting finds with you.
What intrigues me about the history of the White Mountains is researching the who, what, and when of an area. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to research every oddity I come across. And I have done little research on the included finds. Hopefully, this summer I can do some research on them.
Franconia Brook Trail (old railroad bed) – Pemi Wilderness, New Hampshire
Trails of the Pemigewasset Wilderness – At 45,000-acres, the Pemigewasset Wilderness (the Pemi) is one of six designated wilderness areas in the White Mountain National Forest. Wilderness areas are governed under the National Wilderness Preservation System and the Wilderness Act of 1964. And they are managed much differently than other parts of the National Forest.
Permanent improvements are not allowed, trail work is minimal, and there are strict guidelines when it comes to man-made structures in designated wilderness areas. Bridges are a convenience in wilderness areas, not mandatory. And bicycles are not allowed in these areas, and trail work can only be done with non-motorized hand tools. Preserving the natural character of a wilderness area is the objective.