|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Carter Dome, NH|
||Bog Brook Trail, Wild River Trail, Rainbow Trail, Carter-Moriah Trail, Nineteen Mile Brook Trail, Wildcat River Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Sunday, August 23, 2020|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||To get to the trailhead, just keep going on Carter Notch Road from Jackson - it will gradually get narrower, then turn to dirt, and then get rougher. When the road ahead is blocked by a gate, turn right into the parking area. It can fit maybe 8 vehicles if parked considerately. As a side note, on the drive there I passed more than one Dunkin Donuts where the drive-thru line was so long it spilled out onto the roads (Route 25 and Route 16). This is extremely irresponsible and highly dangerous - if the line is that long, you can skip going there (or just go to the next Dunkin Donuts up the road, which had no line at all). |
||Dry Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Mud - Significant |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||This route has no fewer than THIRTEEN water crossings - three in the first 0.7 miles of Bog Brook Trail, five crossings of Bog Brook, the crossings of Wildcat River and Bog Brook on Wildcat River Trail, and then those three crossings at the bottom of Bog Brook again. Water levels were quite low for all of them, and the crossings were fairly straightforward rock hops - we never had to step on a rock that had more than 1-2 inches of water on it. Some of the rocks were wet and slippery on the way back, so we needed to be more careful on the crossings, but we both finished the hike with dry feet. In the spring or in the days after a rainstorm, I strongly recommend avoiding this route - those crossings could be very difficult. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||The numerous bog bridges on Bog Brook Trail are in very bad condition - they are collapsed and heavily degraded. They should be replaced. A few blowdowns each on Bog Brook and Rainbow Trails. Wildcat River Trail had a large blowdown above the junction with Wild River Trail whose crown completely blocks the trail - bushwhacking around it is not difficult, but the blowdown should still be removed. Lots of erosion and loose rock on the section of Carter-Moriah Trail between Carter Dome and Carter Notch. Bog Brook Trail was occasionally "blazed" with plastic blue diamonds of the sort that normally mark XC-ski trails. Rainbow Trail was basically unblazed, but it wasn't too hard to follow except for some brushy sections. Carter-Moriah Trail was infrequently blazed in white (it is the AT, after all), and Wildcat River Trail was well blazed in yellow. All signs are in place. |
||If your dog is comfortable with river crossings, they should be fine. |
||Practically none. And that was even without bug spray. |
|Lost and Found:
||This is a long, strenuous, beautiful, and enjoyable hike. Bog Brook Trail is either flat or gradual for its entire length - the 8 water crossings on the trail are what makes it interesting. The WMG is correct that the trail is very muddy in places - even with the dry conditions, there were still numerous large, deep mudpits that needed to be carefully avoided. The short section of Wild River Trail that we were on was mostly dry and straightforward. Rainbow Trail is a steady, and at times steep, climb up to Carter Dome. The birch glades in the lower part of the trail were beautiful, and some of them provided views across the valley (I wasn't entirely sure what I was looking at though). Some sections of trail through the birch glades were quite narrow and could have done with some brushing. Then the trail entered conifers and steepened, though the steep sections did not involve any rock scrambling. The view from the viewpoint a mile below Carter Dome was beautiful, particularly to the south and west. The best view was to Mt. Washington's Chandler Ridge and Huntington Ravine (my destination in two weeks) over the Wildcats. The remainder of the climb up to Carter Dome was generally not so steep.|
Carter Dome doesn't have any views, but it was nice and cool there. After having lunch there, we headed down to Carter Notch. I remembered this section as being steep and rocky, and that's exactly what the trail is like. It's the AT, so it gets heavy use, and it descends about 1,550 vertical feet in only 1.2 miles, so it has to be steep. However, no rock scrambling is required on this section, and I only had to buttslide once. The main hut building is closed, but the spigot outside is on and the restrooms are open (though only one person at a time can go in). Wildcat River Trail is a fairly nice trail - it's rough in parts but has substantial smooth sections, and it was the best-blazed of any of the trails we hiked today. We managed to make it from the hut to the trailhead in only about 2 hours.
We saw a couple of backpackers coming out on Bog Brook Trail, and didn't see anyone else until the summit of Carter Dome. We saw a bunch of people there and while going down to the hut, but I don't recall seeing anyone on Wildcat River Trail. Despite the ominous weather forecast for this afternoon (40-50% chance of thunderstorms), we only encountered brief sprinkling twice - once while coming up Rainbow Trail, and then a light rain for maybe 5 minutes just as we reached the bottom of Carter Notch. As we hiked out on Wildcat River Trail, the sun came out, and there was no rain at all on the drive home. A long but very nice day.
11.6 miles, 3,100 vertical feet of elevation gain, 8 hours and 20 minutes.
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.