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.
Lincoln Mill Era – Lincoln, New Hampshire
Abandoned Mills, White Mountains – During the 1800s and early 1900s, cut-up mills, grist mills, sawmills, and various other types of mills were found throughout New Hampshire. And because of the abundance of water in the White Mountains, there was no shortage of water-powered mills in the region. This blog article showcases a handful of the abandoned mills in the White Mountains.
Because most of these abandoned mills are within the White Mountain National Forest, keep in mind the removal of historical artifacts from federal lands without a permit is a violation of federal law. And you can’t dig for artifacts at historical sites which means metal detecting anywhere in the National Forest is asking for trouble. Take only pictures and leave these unique places the way you found them.
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.
Trestle No. 16 (2010), East Branch & Lincoln Railroad – Pemigewasset Wilderness
Pemigewasset Wilderness, Random History – This designated wilderness is the result of one the greatest conservation laws ever passed; the Wilderness Act, which has protected over 109 million acres across the United States. While the history of New Hampshire's Pemigewasset Wilderness mostly revolves around the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, the railroad is not the only interesting piece of history surrounding this unique region of the White Mountains. This blog article features random tidbits of history about this one of a kind designated wilderness area.
One of the grandest pieces of New Hampshire logging railroad history, trestle No. 16 (above) collapsed in late May or early June 2018. Spanning Black Brook, it stood for over 100 years and became a favorite attraction among outdoor enthusiasts. Logging railroads were built to be temporary and its remarkable that this trestle stood for as long as it did. The last log train rolled over this trestle most likely in the summer or fall of 1946.
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.