New Hampshire
Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Owls Cliff, Birch Hill (attempt), NH
Trails: Rob Brook Road, Brunel Trail, Owls Cliff Spur, bushwhacks
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Sunday, June 2, 2013
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: good parking off bear notch road. road is signed as namocomuck ski trail. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: the couple of small brook crossings on brunel trail were not a problem.  
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: i cut out a couple of blowdowns and brushed around the owls cliff spur sign. the tree to which it is attached is at an angle. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes:  
Bugs: bugs were a mix all day. black flies were awful high on owls cliff with mosquitoes in the woods down low and deer flies wouldn't leave me alone on the bushwack on birch hill. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: rob brook road was dry and in good shape. brunel trail was much the same though clearly is lightly travelled. there was still a pretty thick carpet of dry leaves on the lower portion of the trail. the upper steeps have good footing and were nice and dry. the spur was the same. a very short bushwack from just before the trail drops down to the cliffs led to the highpoint. since i had time i decided to bushwack up to birch hill from rob brook road just after it crosses rob brook. due to haze i couldn't see a lot of details from owls cliff, but was pretty sure i saw some sort of ledge or cliff i had hoped to find. the woods were generally open and as i started to climb i looked for signs of viewpoints. i noticed a rocky patch to the north and headed into an area much akin to a smaller version of the base of kings ravine or the ramparts in carter notch. lots of stacked up large rocks full of holes and caves on the steep slope of the mountain. i picked my way through (with great views to owls cliff, bear and carrigain notch) and climbed out of the upper part into very steep, but open woods. i hoped that all that rock had magically appeared there, but soon found the impressive and impassable cliffs from which they fell. i slabbed south below them until i reached a pinch point where i would have had cliffs below me as well and decided the prudent thing to do was follow a steep, but cliff free line down that i had passed a short way back. it became sort of clear that i would have to slab all the way around the south end of the peak to avoid the cliffs so called it a day and headed back to rob brook road.
got a late start so the heat was a bit oppressive heading up owls cliff, but the trail was much nicer than i was expecting. great views to the south and east though the black flies did not let me enjoy them for long. birch hill was a bit of a whim and i clearly underestimated the defenses it has up on its east side. high and shear cliffs often overhanging completely shut me down though the rampart area was very neat and had great views making the off trail excursion well worth it. i will definitely go back up there from the sawyer river side and drop down to the top of those cliffs someday to see what they offer for views. got back to the car just in time for a pretty violent storm to roll through leaving a fair amount of debris and some freshly downed trees along the kanc. great day to be out.  
Name: bryan 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2013-06-02 
Link: http:// 
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