Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Owl's Head, NH
Trails: Lincoln Woods Trail, Black Pond Trail, herd path, Lincoln Brook Trail, Owl's Head Path, herd path
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Saturday, July 31, 2021
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: No empty spaces in the Lincoln Woods parking lot just before 7:00AM. This is a fee area with toilet facilities. There was an information station similar to that at Appalachia. I ended up parking on the side of route 112 (Kancamagus Highway). 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Both the Liberty Brook and Lincoln Brook crossings on the Lincoln Brook Trail were rock hoppable. There were multiple rock hop routes available at each stream crossing. Some rocks may be slightly submerged. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: No significant obstacles on any of the trails. Any blow downs were at or close to ground level making for easy step overs. The unofficial trails in the wilderness areas are not formally maintained or blazed. The Brutus bushwhack route is eroding in the steeper stretches of trail. The Owl's Head Path has portions with loose rocks. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Many well behaved dogs today. Dogs used both the Owl's Head Path and Brutus bushwhack. Dog must be comfortable on loose rock surfaces if using the Owl's Head Path. 
Bugs: None 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: Lincoln Woods trail had muddy spots that weren't difficult to get by. One bridge is barricaded on the Lincoln Woods trail. The small brook is crossed using large rocks on a side route marked with orange tape.
The Black Pond Trail is in good condition.
The Black Pond bushwhack is actually a well defined herd path. The most significant mud spots are at the south terminus and near the north terminus. Most of this path is pleasant to walk and eliminates the need to cross Franconia Brook and the lower Lincoln Brook.
The Lincoln Brook Trail has many quagmires in the road bed. Most often there are subsidiary paths on higher ground adjacent to the muck. The base of the Brutus bushwhack is marked by a small cairn to the right of the trail soon after the crossing of Lincoln Brook (the second major stream crossing). The Owl's Head Path is identifiable by two small cairns on the right side of the trail after a stretch of small white stones in the pathway.
The Owl's Head Path is a combination of loose stones and ledges on the slide portion of the trail. There is some water running over the steep rock. Fortunately, there are enough irregularities in the rock surfaces to facilitate secure footing on the wet surfaces. A few strategically placed small cairns to help guide the hikers. Above the slide the Owl's Head Path is easily followed through the woods to the old summit (not marked). The ridge trail to the the new summit is easy to follow (no confusing network of trails). The summit has a cairn. No difficult tree falls blocking the trail. Good views of the east side of the Franconia Range from the slide. Some views toward the Bonds especially at a blow down patch just beyond the summit.
Brutus bushwhack has long stretches of good trail. Unfortunately, the steep section of trail has slippery mud and sloped roots. Care must be taken in this section to avoid falling/slipping. The trail is becoming badly eroded in the steep areas. As one other hiker commented, the Brutus bushwhack could be improved by inserting a switchback (or two) to lower the grade resulting in better footing and less erosion. The Brutus bushwhack has the advantage of no loose rocks that cause the descent on the slide to be tricky.
There were lots of hikers out to Owl's Head today. Met a mother and her twin 11 year old daughters that I saw last week on Mt Isolation. Similarly, saw another hiker I met last week on Mt Isolation.  
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2021-07-31 
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