Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Garfield, Owl's Head, Galehead Mountain, NH
Trails: Garfield Trail, Garfield Ridge Trail, Franconia Brook Trail, Lincoln Brook Trail, bushwhack, Twin Brook Trail, Frost Trail, Gale River Trail, Gale River Road
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Started at Garfield Trailhead, ended at Gale River Trailhead, and at the end of the day did the 1.6 mile roadwalk. Forgot about the bit of elevation gain on Gale River Road. There is free camping on GRR--saw 3 campsites being used this day. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Ice - Blue, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant, Slush 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Light Traction 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Got my feet wet crossing Franconia Brook and on Lincoln Brook Trail.  
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Lots of branch debris on upper Franconia Brook Trail, Lincoln Brook Trail, and Twin Brook Trail. Lincoln Brook Trail was its usual slopfest. Very top of Twin Brook Trail could use a haircut. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Followed Marlie's tracks down Franconia Brook Trail. :) 
Bugs: A few black flies on Gale River Road at the end of the day. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: There is a dog leash hanging on the sign at the GT/GRT jct. Lost a ratty blue glove on the Twin Brook Trail. 
Comments: Barebooted up to Garfield Ridge Trail. Spikes for the steep, still icy, pitch to the summit (only time I wore traction all day--yay). Descent of waterfall section on GRT was ice free but very wet (duh). Some ice remains in shaded sections but able to easily rock hop around. Most of the new snow from Sun-Mon has melted, and there was no more "rain" from dripping branches today.

Franconia Brook Trail was a mix of rocky water-flowing-in-trail wetness and smooth-cruising sections. 13 Falls area was gorgeous as ever, especially heading up Lincoln Brook Trail which passes more cascades, waterfalls and DEEP swimming holes! Crossing of Franconia Brook required stepping on submerged rocks, but the water did not seem terribly high and was not scary. LBT leaves 13 Falls area in good shape but deteriorates with elevation gain, getting very wet and muddy, with lots of branches, etc., in the trail.

My plan was to use the trail to my advantage, climbing to the height of land at 3200 ft., then bushwhacking up the north ridge of Owlie. Around 3000 ft., however, the trail started to look pretty icky and the woods pretty nice and open, so I headed up. The going was mostly rather open woods. Mostly. Around 3950 ft. there was a bit of nastiness to get through. On the return I skirted this section by staying lower on the east side. Otherwise I basically retraced the same route for the descent. GPS clocked 1.62 miles one way, 1000 ft. of climb.

Back at 13 Falls, I headed up one of my favorite trails in the Whites, the Twin Brook Trail. Trail was in good shape except for many, many branches and debris in the trail left over from the winter. My boots were rubbing my ankle annoyingly, so I did this section--and most of Gale River Trail--in my Crocs. Shoulda wore trailrunners but wasn't sure how much snow there'd be.

There is still a bit of ice on Frost Trail, as well down Garfield Ridge Trail to Gale River Trail, but I was in git-r-done mode and didn't stop to put on spikes and did fine.

This was a fun and interesting way to do Owls Head from the north. I clocked 24 miles and 6750 ft. of climb. Didn't see a soul on the Pemi side of Garfield Ridge!  
Name: Snowflea 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2016-05-19 
Link: https:// 
Bookmark and Share Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.

Copyright 2009-2023, All Rights Reserved