Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Whiteface, Mt. Passaconaway, NH
Trails: Downes Brook Trail, Kate Sleeper Trail, Rollins Trail, Dicey’s Mill Trail, Walden Trail, Square Ledge Trail, Passaconaway Cutoff, Oliverian Brook Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Tuesday, July 4, 2023
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Parked at Downes Brook Trailhead lot. This large, dirt surfaced lot is signed at the road. The lot has a kiosk, no privy. No fee. I don’t know if it’s plowed in winter, but I would assume so as it has a cross country ski trail. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: 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: See comments below. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes:  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: My dog was able to ford all the water crossings with a bit of help on some. Plenty of water on trail today. 
Bugs: Mosquitos were venomous. Numerous. DEET applied liberally.  
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: Route:
Downes Brook > Kate Sleeper > Rollins Trl > Dicey’s Mill > Walden trl > Square Ledge > Passaconaway Cutoff > Oliverian > road walk on NH 112 back to parking.

In hindsight, I should have done the road walk first when there was very little traffic. But, alas, that’s not what I did.

Downes Brook: this is the sole purpose for this trail report. The brook level is quite elevated necessitating fording at every crossing. Ford. Every. Single. Crossing. There is absolutely no way to keep feet dry right now. Downes Brook is not blazed but simple to follow. Two carins help with water crossing markings. The trail crosses the brook, or its tributaries, no less than 10 times. This is a challenge in lower elevations. I got swept away on the first crossing when I was too deep in a choke point (I was testing the current when I slipped on an algae covered rock). I survived and promptly worked my way upstream to find a much better crossing. The second crossing was much easier, though I was knee deep. The third crossing mandated bushwhacking to find an acceptable route. The route I found was still thigh deep and I had to assist the dog across. Once above 1800 feet, the crossings mellow to shin deep fords without bushwhacking. But they are all fords. I have never been so happy to get off a trail in my life…

Kate Sleeper: blazed in faded blue blazes. Footbed simple to follow. Lots of running water on trail. Short, shallow segments of mud.

Rollins Trail: well blazed in blue. Simple to follow. Not as much mud as I expected. Rock ledges slick with small rivulets running down them. Three potential restricted view points along the ridge on clear days.

Dicey’s Mill: not blazed (that I noticed). Well trodden and maintained trail. Simple to follow. Steep with lots of wet boulder scrambles. Some water on trail, some mud.

Walden: plan for additional time. Lots of mud and standing water just after Passaconaway’s summit. Then comes the steep, water covered rock ledges. I mean STEEP. And slick.

Square Ledge: the upper portions have slick rock ledges but this does ease up after elevation decreases. Simple to follow footbed. Lots of running water on trail.

Passaconaway Cutoff: not blazed that I noticed. Footbed simple to follow. Mud and running water on parts of trail, though not terrible amounts until near the junction with Oliverian. Then there is a 300 foot segment of pure mud vats. Good luck, dudes! I just walked through it, sinking to ankle at deepest point. The mud will try to suck your shoe off! The water crossing required fording, but only shin depth at most. Water is not fast moving and I felt very comfortable walking through this depth.

Oliverian: beautiful trail. Not blazed. Simple to follow. Short segments of moderate depth mud. Some running water on trail. One tributary must be crossed, feet may stay dry with a lot of effort. I did not make an effort.

End state: Downes Brook is very challenging with the water crossings and dogs may need a lot of help in lower elevations.
Name: Remington34 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2023-07-04 
Link: https:// 
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