Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Passaconaway, NH
Trails: Oliverian Brook Trail, Passaconaway Cutoff, Square Ledge Trail, Walden Trail, East Loop, Dicey's Mill Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Monday, June 24, 2019
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Plenty of parking at trailhead on this sunny dry Monday. Only one pickup camper upon arrival who promptly left. Only car in lot upon return. If you want to avoid crowds, maybe Mondays are good choice for this alternate to the Whiteface-Passaconway loop or if you only want to visit Passaconaway. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: All rock hoppable except for Oliverian Brook (W branch) crossing on Passaconaway Cutoff. Several options on this crossing all involve submerged rocks today, so some wet feet unavoidable. Upstream two logs might be an option for some with good balance, but too high to use poles, so not an option for me. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Many blowdowns on all trails. Very few on OBT and those that were are laying on ground and are easy stepovers. Evidence of recent clearing of some. Most on other trails appear to have been there for a while. Some fairly recent ones on East Loop, with one difficult duck under (for me). I have difficulty getting down on ground and getting back up, plus scraped backpack crawling under. Also one high stepover that might be difficult for shorter persons. All others easy stepovers for most. (I stopped counting on Cutoff after 12.) I realize this is a wilderness area, and I have no idea how difficult it would be to get proper equipment up there, but I would recommend removing as many of these as possible. I do appreciate all the work that the trail maintainers do, so thank you. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Several wet rocky slabs, boulders and other rocky sections on Cutoff and above. Also many muddy patches, several with deep watery mud. Lower sections have several water access points, but not higher up. Didn't see any on trail today. I would recommend the OBT if you want an easy trail for your pup, especially if new to hiking, and maybe the Cutoff for a little more challenge. (The swampy section may be a little challenging for water unfriendly dogs.) Don't know how busy this trail is on weekends, but you apparently have the whole trail to yourself on Mondays. 
Bugs: Every variety known to man from trailhead to summit. Repellent kept them off arms and legs, but after swallowing three in first mile, got out headnet. (After my second breakfast, only 999,997 left.) One buzzer was quite upset he couldn't get through the net and hovered at my ear making quite a racket for some time.  
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: Nothing today 
Comments: My first trip in this area, so I have no idea what "normal" is. Trail guides warn about the brook crossing, so no surprise there. On the routes I chose (different on way up and back) I only got toe areas of shoes wet. I had trail runners on today and if I had my hiking boots, there would have been no issues. The rocks I used on the way up that were partially submerged were totally submerged on return, so I went upstream beyond the logs and found a path with only one or two steps with water over tops of shoes. It appears that you could cross barefoot at several spots and only have a few steps that were ankle deep if you are so inclined. This was plan B for me if I couldn't find a reasonably dry crossing.

There are many, many muddy patches with a variety of wetness. Many of the watery ones have submerged rocks that are difficult to find. Others have branches to step on, but some of these submerge under weight. One very swampy section on lower OBT with pine branches, but some of these submerge when stepped on. Also, it appears some have recently placed rocks, but these are not anchored and are very unstable, so test before hopping. Also many of the logs/branches are wet and slippery. Some patches have good footing available along edge of mud and still on trail. Some have "invisible" permanent rocks and in some instance going through the middle is best option if you use poles to find the rocks.

Some of the upper trails have challenging rock slabs or boulders. Square Ledge Trail right after the Cutoff junction requires careful choice of path and possible use of trees and roots to navigate over wet slabs or loose gravel. Most other rocky sections have good footholds and reasonable step-ups for those who may lack flexibility or athletic ability until you get to boulder section of Dicey Mill near the summit. (I deceided to bypass Walden as the trail at the junction with East Loop looked too challenging for my abilities or interests.) on the DM section there were 3-4 spots that required me to scramble and use various hand holds to get up and over. Most of this section had good flat spots for footholds and relatively easy step ups, with some loose gravel requiring care. Some of these may be too difficult for those who lack strength, flexibility or skill in this area, but would be doable if you have a partner to assist. (I share this from the perspective of an elderly hiker with some strength and flexibility issues and little experience. Young mountain goats will probably have no problem and even find this fun.)

Otherwise the trails are a mix of good footing with various grades from near flat to very steep, alternating with some rocky and rooty sections, and of course the muddy sections.

I only saw one other hiker today, coming up Dicey Mill while I was descending. He was doing the Whiteface-Passaconaway loop since it was a dry day. No one else on any of the other trails. If you want some solitude, and a mix of trail terrain, this might be a good choice. (At least on Mondays.)  
Name: SpartyhikerfromME 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2019-06-24 
Link: http:// 
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