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.
Greenleaf Trail – White Mountains, New Hampshire
Greenleaf Trail, Mount Lafayette – Greenleaf Trail is located in Franconia Notch in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I am lead to believe that the Greenleaf Trail is named after Colonel Charles Henry Greenleaf, once owner of the Profile House in Franconia Notch. The Greenleaf Hut, along Greenleaf Trail, is named in his honor so there appears to be a connection.
The Greenleaf Trail travels through an interesting forest, passes by Greenleaf Hut, and eventually ends on the summit of Mount Lafayette where a summit house once stood. And though the trail is located in a busy hiking area of the White Mountains it is lightly maintained. Hikers will actually feel like they are traversing a hiking trail.
Crawford Path Sign – White Mountains, New Hampshire
Crawford Path, White Mountains – Crawford Path, located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, is the oldest continuously-used mountain trail in America. And for a period of time, it was used as a horse trail to Mt Washington. This eight and half mile historic path came to be in 1819 when Abel Crawford and his son, Ethan Allen, began building a trail to the summit of Mt Pierce, formerly Mt Clinton. Once north of Mt Pierce, the Crawford Path follows the famed Appalachian Trail corridor to the summit of Mt Washington.
The entire eight and a half miles of Crawford Path is a photographer's delight. Landscape photographers will love the bold mountain scenes, while macro photographers will enjoy the variety of alpine flowers along the trail. If a photographer plans accordingly, he or she can spend a full day shooting along this historic path.
Bemis Bridge – Crawford Notch, New Hampshire
Davis Path, White Mountains – Davis Path, completed in 1845 by Nathaniel Davis, son-in-law of Abel and Hannah Crawford, was the third and longest bridle path built to the summit of Mount Washington. The path was in use until about 1853-1854, and then it was neglected and became unusable. In 1910 it was reopened as a footpath. Today, the path is just over 14 miles long with most of it being within the Presidential Range – Dry River Wilderness.
The Davis Path begins in Crawford Notch, near the Notchland Inn, and crosses the Saco River by use of the 168 foot long Bemis Bridge (above). The Bemis Bridge, named after Samuel A. Bemis, is considered to be an asymmetrical cable stay bridge, and is also the start of the 165 mile long Cohos Trail.
Tuckerman Ravine – Boott Spur Trail, New Hampshire
Boott Spur Trail, White Mountains – Boott Spur Trail begins off the Tuckerman Ravine Trail and ends at Davis Path, near the summit of Boott Spur Mountain. At 5500 feet, Boott Spur is named for Francis Boott, a botanist who took part in scientific expeditions to the Presidential Range during the early 1800s. The original route of the trail was opened by the Appalachian Mountain Club in 1900.
If I had to pick my top ten favorite trails in the White Mountains, Boott Spur Trail would be on the list. Much of the Boott Spur Trail is above treeline, and the views are breathtaking! First timers hiking this trail could suffer from view overload and will be taking many more breaks than expected to enjoy the mountain landscape.