|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Mt. Blue, Mt. Moosilauke, NH|
||Beaver Brook Trail, herd path, Benton Trail, Tunnel Brook Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Saturday, September 4, 2021|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Room for maybe 8 vehicles at the Tunnel Brook trailhead - just one or two when we arrived and several more when we got back. Tunnel Brook Road is in good condition. Beaver Brook trailhead was mostly full in the morning, and when we got back in the afternoon many vehicles were parked in non-designated parking spots. No issues - Beaver Brook trailhead is well signed, and Tunnel Brook trailhead is simply at the end of the road, just after a bridge over Tunnel Brook. |
||Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Significant |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||Two crossings at the bottom of Beaver Brook Trail were easy. Crossing of Tunnel Brook at the base of Benton Trail was also easier than expected - the crossing was straightforward on almost all exposed rocks - but I can see how it could be difficult at high water. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||A few blowdowns - none were tough to get around. The upper part of Beaver Brook Trail, above the shelter and below the junction with Benton Trail, has a lot of large mudpits and some standing water too. All signs are in place. |
||It would take a hardy, experienced dog to make it up Beaver Brook Trail - they'd need to be experienced with steep, rough terrain and know how to stay on wooden steps that ascend steep, wet ledges. Other Moosilauke Trails (like Benton Trail) are more suitable for dogs. |
||Practically none. |
|Lost and Found:
||A pair of glasses hanging from a tree on the herd path at (or very close to) the summit of Mt. Blue. We left them there. ||
||What an enjoyable hike! Beaver Brook Trail starts off gradually, but soon gets much steeper and rockier. The series of cascades was beautiful. The climb, while steep, rough, and strenuous, wasn't quite as bad as I expected - nothing was really scary. The wooden steps were a massive help in getting up the steep, wet ledges, and made them pretty straightforward (though there were a few places where we noticed that a wooden step used to be there but is now gone). That being said, I definitely wouldn't want to do that trail in the rain, and descending it, while possible, would probably be somewhat unpleasant. |
Once the trail turned away from the brook, it continued to climb, steeply at times, to the shelter. This part was very rocky, but nothing bad. Above the shelter, it started to level out, and it was gradual by the time we reached the junction with Asquam-Ridge Trail. It was quite rough and rocky going around the ravine and heading up to Mt. Blue. When we reached the herd path that leads to the summit of Mt. Blue, we decided to use it since we were so close anyway. The herd path has much smoother footing than the actual trail, but it has a lot of twists and turns - it makes me wonder how it developed as the herd path instead of a straight, direct route. When we finally reached the area that seemed to be the highest point, we could not find any canister, which was unfortunate, but at least we still summited.
The stretch of trail from there to the junction with Benton Trail is very wet and muddy. Many of the mudpits have rocks that can be stepped on, but some don't, and in many cases the rocks are covered with mud, making them difficult to see. This section didn't change elevation too much, but the roughness and wetness made it take a while. When we finally headed up to the summit, all the descending hikers told us that we'd need windbreakers or jackets, and they were right - the wind was blowing quite fiercely, but luckily there are plenty of windbreaks at the summit of Moosilauke, and we found one and were able to eat lunch there. The summit was crowded - I'd guess many of them came up Gorge Brook or the Carriage Road.
Our descent of Benton Trail was fine, but the description in the WMG made me think the trail would be smoother than it actually is. While the footing isn't terrible, it's still quite rocky and eroded in many places. The trail is pretty much a constant moderate grind - it's never too steep, but it never gets flatter for very long either. The view into Little Tunnel Ravine is excellent - highly recommended. Near the bottom of the descent, the trail crosses a logging road, and we were surprised to see a car parked on the side of that road, not far from the trail. I'd be curious to know how that car got there - if that logging road can be driven by normal vehicles, then why isn't the trailhead there? Tunnel Brook Trail does have a junction with a logging road a few tenths below the trailhead, but that logging road was gated. Below that crossing, the trail gradually descends to Tunnel Brook, crosses it on rocks, and continues for a short, flat stretch to Tunnel Brook Trail. This part of Tunnel Brook Trail mostly follows the old road but has a few bypasses where Irene washed out the old road - you can see the damage, and it's quite a testament to the power of the storm.
Benton Trail was definitely the lesser-used route today - we only saw maybe a half-dozen other hikers on it, while we saw perhaps a few dozen on Beaver Brook. The day started off somewhat cloudy, but Moosilauke cleared up by the time we reached the summit, and the views were outstanding. Amazing day for a hike.
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.