Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks West Royce, NH
Trails: Road walk, Royce Trail, Basin Rim Trail, Basin Trail, Hermit Falls Loop
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Saturday, October 23, 2021
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: The road into Basin Campground (which is closed) starts off paved and turns into a rocky dirt road that was nonetheless fine for my Corolla. I was the only vehicle on my arrival, one more when I got back. The start of Royce Trail can also be accessed from the Brickett Place parking area, which is currently still accessible - the road through Evans Notch was open today. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Leaves - Significant/Slippery 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: The crossings on the lower Royce Trail were all fairly straightforward rock hops. On the lower Basin Trail, one crossing had a nice bridge, but strangely, a larger crossing just after did not. Water was fairly low, so I rock-hopped across fairly easily. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Only a few blowdowns across the entire route - well done to the trail maintainers. Some wet and muddy areas, but nothing was too bad. All signs were in place. The trails were relatively well blazed, but perhaps a few more in the lower sections, where fallen leaves obscure the footbed, would be nice - there were a few sections on my descent of Basin Trail where I had to look around to find the trail corridor 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: I guess. 
Bugs: None. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: A black Medicines Sans Frontieres (sp?) face mask was lying on Basin Rim Trail very close to the summit of West Royce - right where the herd path goes off to the old fire tower site. I left it there. 
Comments: I've had this hike on my radar for a while, and I figured this would be one of my last opportunities to get it done before the winter. Arriving at Basin Pond at around 8:45, I was the only vehicle there. The road walk to the Royce trailhead was quick and easy. Royce Trail starts off easy as well, but don't let that fool you about what's to come. The lower part of the trail had lots of fallen leaves, but was still not difficult to follow. Just before reaching Mad River Falls, the trail starts to pitch up seriously - footing was OK, but be careful about those fallen leaves. Above the falls, the grade moderates for a bit, but then becomes very steep and doesn't let up until reaching the junction with Royce Connector Trail. I found the part of this section below the junction with Laughing Lion Trail to be the toughest, since all the fallen leaves really made footing very difficult in places. In contrast, the section above Laughing Lion Trail, which climbs 450 vertical feet in only 0.2 miles, was indubitably very steep and rough but had fewer fallen leaves, and the rocks actually made the footing easier.

Royce Trail going up to West Royce is overall a moderate climb, but it has several minor descents and a bunch of ledgy sections. The descent on Basin Rim Trail was much the same - a whole bunch of PUDs, but none of them went on too long, and several ledges that required care to descend. This section is the sort of trail that seems to take a long time but actually doesn't. There were a couple of good outlooks on the lower part of the trail, but most of it was in the woods. The descent on Basin Trail started out very steep with poor, leafy footing that required caution; then there was a section along a steep sidehill, and then it descended moderately to the top of Hermit Falls Loop and was easy after that. Several spots on Basin Trail required care to follow due to fallen leaves obscuring the footway. The part along Basin Pond has several minor ups and downs, and great views to the mountains across the pond.

This was a fun hike, with a bit of everything - waterfalls, a summit, a couple of nice views, a pond, and some very steep and rough sections. This hike is certainly no joke, but it's a great reward if you're looking for solitude - I saw only two other hikers the whole day (by contrast, the Baldface trailhead just down the road was completely full with cars parked along the road). This hike took me about 7:05 to complete.  
Name: GN 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2021-10-23 
Link: http:// 
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