Blue Range Morning

PROBLEMS TO WATCH FOR NOW

The Cohos Trail is in good condition, generally, and is getting better. But there are some things to watch out for when you are on the trail now. Why not print out this information and keep it with you just to be on the safe side.

WHITE MOUNTAINS

The trails the Cohos Trail utilizes in the White Mountain National Forest are not marked or signed referencing the CT. To navigate, you must have a set of new CT maps and the guidebook or the Applalachian Mountain Club White Mountain trail guidebook and AMC maps. Follow the existing WMNF trail signs and you should be fine.

MOUNT EISENHOWER

The first edition of the guidebook states the Mt. Eisenhower Trail (CT) reaches the Crawford Trail (AT) on the Presidential Range ridgeline and “crosses over” the Appalachian Trail. This is not quite accurate. The CT hiker must turn left (south) at the AT and walk toward Mt. Eisenhower some 300 feet and then pick up the Mt. Eisenhower Loop on the right and then, almost immediately, the Edmands Path headed downhill to the west. Later editions of the guidebook have corrected this.

CRITICAL: BARRIER PLATE BY THE MT. CLINTON ROAD

The first three editions of the guidebook indicate you should look for a barrier gate in the dogleg of the Mt. Clinton Road (once you come down off Mt. Eisenhower and into the valley). Walking northbound on the CT along this road, you will see two barrier gates or plates on the left, one just before the dogleg turn in the road and one another 200 feet farther along and right in the middle of the dogleg. You must go to the second barrier gate, the one directly in the turn, and then pass behind it to the Old B&M Railroad railbed beyond.

OLD B&M RAILBED AND BRIDLE PATH

Tend to stay to the right (shunning all turns to the left) when traveling northbound on the CT when you enter the old route B&M railbed and Bridle Path, which diverges south at a distinct dogleg in the Mt. Clinton Road. Cross country ski trails cut off westward but ignore them. You will reach the little spur to the right to the Upper Falls bridge eventually. Below the falls, the trail splits. Tend to stay to the right in all cases. Either the old railbed or the Bridle Path will reach the vicinity of the Mt. Washington Hotel, but stay with the Bridle Path closest to the river. It is a more enjoyable route.

BLACK BROOK TRAIL CLOSED

The Black Brook Trail is closed for good. Take the narrow Cherry Mt. Road north to the height of land and pick up the Cherry Mt. Trail on the left (west). If southbound, follow the Cherry Mt. Trail out to the Cherry Mt. Road and turn right (south), downhill.

THE SLIDE BROOK TRAIL IS NOW OPEN

The new Slide Brook Trail is now complete and open. It will get some new bog bridging in 2015, but otherwise, it is in good condition. It is accessed 300 feet downhill from the Owls Head Trail trailhead parking lot on the south side of Route 115.

ENTRANCE TO THE COL. WHIPPLE TRAIL

Southbounders coming along the Col. Whipple Road (formerly the Old Turnpike Road) half a mile from Route 115A may find the Col. Whipple Trail entrance sign has been stolen, but there is a stake with a yellow painted top there. Half way between Route 115A and Route 116 (about half a mile) look on your left for the blaze post and for two tire tracks running into the woods on the left and up to a gate. Just beyond the gate and inside the woods a bit you should see a yellow blaze on a tree. If you do not see a gate and a yellow blaze shortly after leaving the Col. Whipple Road, you are in the wrong spot.

THE KILKENNY

Follow the Starr King Trail and the Kilkenny Ridge Trail from Jefferson to South Pond in Stark. The trail is blazed in yellow paint much like the CT, but there are no CT signs in the forest there. Dozens of blowdown trees were removed by Cohos Trail crews in 2014, so the route is far better to navigate particularly from Mt. Waumbek summit to Bunnell Notch. There are some new blowdowns north of Rogers Ledge, so watch for them.

BALD MT. NOTCH TRAIL ENTRANCE ON PERCY ROAD

At the entrance to the Nash Stream Forest on the Percy Road, a quarter mile from the Bell Hill Bridge, please DO NOT block the trail entrance with a car. Park the car to the east next to the old Stark landfill.

NEW PARKING AREA FOR ACCESS TO THE BALD MT. NOTCH TRAIL

A new parking area has been offered to the association by Stark landowner Wayne Montgomery of Pike Pond Cabins just off the Bell Hill Road in Stark. If you wish to start your trek at the northeastern entrance to the Nash Stream Forest, you may park out of sight from any road at the parking area and sign kiosk on the Montgomery property.

Turn off Route 110 onto the Bell Hill Road. Cross the bridge over the Upper Ammonoosuc River and cross straight over the railroad tracks. Climb the hill and just before the height of land look to your left for a dirt drive into the forest. Turn left. Look for a junction with buildings directly ahead. Just before the buildings, turn left again and travel a narrow lane about 500 feet or so to the parking spot where a large sign kiosk stands.

WEST SIDE ROAD/TRAIL AND SUGARLOAF ARM

At the junction of the West Side Trail (ATV) and the Sugarloaf Arm Trail, the State has erected a new gate at the entrance to the Sugarloaf Arm Trail to keep ATVers off the foot trail. Be sure to walk to and around the gate and go uphill. Do not stay on the level on the West Side Trail and walk westward.

Trekkers sometimes miss this junction, but it is quite obvious. Northbounders will find the junction on the right and the gate uphill from the West Side Trail. There is a trail sign next to the gate and yellow blazing.  Southbounders pass the gate and turn left, downhill. About half a mile later enter a clearing and look for a gate on the left and yellow blazing beyond the gate. Go to the gate and around it and descend into the Nash Stream valley.

OLD HERMIT SHELTER

The newest shelter on the Cohos Trail system is located on the eastern flank of Sugarloaf Arm on the Sugarloaf Arm Trail. It is a stunning curved timberframed lean-to, one of the finest such structures in America. There is a composting latrine nearby and adequate water, as well.

GADWAH COUNTRY

At the very end of the Nash Stream Road is a last camp and a junction. There is a gate on the left and a bridge on the right at the junction. The Gadwah Notch Trail leaves on the old grassy lane to the left. Move left and begin an hour long pull uphill into the Gadwah Notch region.

As you near and then cross Bulldozer Flat a bit to the south of Gadwah Notch, watch carefully for yellow blazes on trees AND rocks. Ferns and other vegetation can grow tall, so take your time in the area. Cross the flat toward Mt. Muise (in the east when hiking northbound). The trail will go straight for 200 or more feet and then begin to swing in a short arc to the north, cross over a low rise and flatten out. Moose trails can cause confusion, so take a tip from the yellow paint, not necessarily the moose paths. This section has received new work and several grade stakes with yellow painted tops to make the trail easier to follow.

THE KELSEY NOTCH TRAIL

Once beyond the Baldhead Shelter  lean-to to the north, the trail is one of the least walked sections of the CT. The trail has become much more distinct in the ground, however, and is quite easy to follow. You should still watch carefully for the yellow blazes on the trees at all times. Remember moose trails may make you believe you are going the right way, when, in fact, they may go anywhere but along the CT. So watch for yellow paint. Bring a compass just in case. If you run into trouble, turn due north and bushwhack out to the Kelsey Notch Road (ATV lane) always not more than a mile or so away. If you do have to bushwhack out (very unlikely), reach the Kelsey Notch Road and turn right (east) and you will get back on track just fine.

DIXVILLE BYPASS

The trail on the south flank of Dixville Peak is now a very wide wind turbine tower access road. You must walk the access road uphill for more than a mile to reach a new summit bypass trail. The Cohos Trail route may not reach the summit any longer because there are big wind turbines on the ridge. They are visible and audible, as well. Watch for the bypass trail on the left, if northbounding. It is easy to spot. Southbounders climbing Dixville Peak from the north will also find the bypass trail easy to spot not too far below the summit of the mountain.

COL BETWEEN DIXVILLE PEAK AND MT.GLORIETTE

The old service road on north flank of Dixville Peak makes a very tight hairpin turn where the mountain and Mt. Gloriette meet. The CT does not follow the hairpin downhill into the valley. Instead, the CT takes the old ski area access way uphill less than half a mile to the ski lift towers at the Balsams Wilderness Ski Area on Mt. Gloriette. The signs have recently been upgraded and replaced.

TRAIL FROM SKI AREA TO TABLE ROCK

The wide grassy trail from the Balsams Wilderness ski area begins some 500 to 600 feet below the lift towers to the north. Stay to the high side of the ski trail until you see an opening on the right that cuts away from the ski area and stays high on the ridge. This trail is nearly a mile long and brings you to two close-together junctions with the Table Rock Trail and the Three Brothers Trail.

SANGUINARY MOUNTAIN

The new Sanguinary Summit Trail is open from the top of the Sanguinary Ridge Trail all the way to the vicinity of Mud Pond. It is a long three-mile ridge run. It was closed for a while because a road was built into one section. That section now has yellow-topped posts and yellow ribbons were set up in itand near it. These posts and ribbons will guide you back to the trail where it enters the woods both north and south of the road.

Work is underway to try to develop a new bypass trail that will take hikers for the first time over the true summit of Mt. Sanguinary and stay high on the ridge and off any service road. The bypass, if built in 2015 or 2016, will stretch from just below the summit all the way to the vicinity of our Panorama Shelter lean-to.

NATHAN POND

The original route out to Nathan Pond has been scratched. The Cohos Trail no longer comes close to the remote body of water. Instead, take the Short Cut (listed in the guidebook and maps) and take a direct route from Mud Pond Ridge area to Coleman State Park.

OLD FARM LANES

The old farm lanes and paths the trail uses at this time west and north of Coleman State Park, are blazed but the blazes are infrequent. The Heath Road, the Bear Road Road, the MacAlester Road, Creampoke, and the Covill Road are all ATV lanes now. Step off those lanes when ATV traffic comes by.

In the future, we will try to develop a direct route in the woods and on ridgelines from Coleman State Park all the way to the Lake Francis Trail. But until then, trekking is on lanes now designated ATV ways.

DEADWATER ROAD AND DEADWATER LOOP

North of the marvelous view in the field of the former Weirs Tree Farm (where the snowmobile snack shack stands), the trail moves north into the Deadwater region and soon rides the surface of the old Deadwater Road. But the Deadwater Road splits at one point and spawns the Deadwater Loop on the right. Trekkers may hike the Deadwater Road nearly due north to the Cedar Stream Road and then turn right onto the Cedar Stream Road and walk three miles along the shoreline of Lake Francis, or one may make the right turn onto the Deadwater Loop (snowmobile trail 131) and follow it through and along Whipple Ridge and out to the Cedar Stream Road just to the east of the spur down to Bog Branch and the Lake Francis Trail at the east end of Lake Francis where two bridges cross two branch brooks.

Both ways are marked and signed, but blazing is not frequent. Both routes are about the same distance and run through typical noirthern working forest.

TRAIL IN PITTSBURG TOWNSHIP

The Cohos Trail in Pittsburg has changed dramatically over the past few years. You must have a current guidebook and a new map set (available in April or May) in order to make the trek north or southbound in the region. In short, almost the entire route has been reworked. There is no longer any mileage along Route 3. There are new summits, extensive views, a big waterfall and flume, quite backwater country, raging river waters, and more along the new trails.

MOOSE FLOWAGE AREA

The CT follows the Route 5 snowmobile trail, called Sophie’s Lane, all the way from Deer Mt. Campground to the Canadian border. Pick it up just south of Deer Mt. Campground. It is an old, pleasant gravel-base road for three quarters of the distance north. Then the gravel disappears at Mile 3 and the trail is simply a broad weed filled lane in the woods. It passes very close to Third Connecticut Lake and over a new short bridge spanning the Connecticut River. Soon it pops out right behind the US Customs station. Please note that, if northbound, stay to the right at all major intersections. Never head westbound off the main trail. Some right turns may take you down very short runs to little sandpits near the river. Just walk back to the main trail a minute and continue north. If southbound, stay left at all major junctions and you will reach Route 3 just below Deer Mt. Campground.

NORTH OF THIRD CONNECTICUT LAKE

As you move northbound past Third Connecticut Lake, the trail follows the Route 5 snowmobile trail right to the back of the US Customs station. Take the good, weedy snowmobile trail right to the border.

AT THE BORDER

When you come out of the trail southwest of the Border Station, you’ll see a new rope fence. The Border Agents request that hikers and snowmobilers pass in front of the customs building and not behind. There is no need to check in at the Border Station unless you are returning from Canada. You must check in at the Canadian Station if you are continuing your hike into Canada. At the present time, insure that you have a passport or pass card in your possession if you are crossing the border. This will greatly reduce any trouble getting back into the US.