Member Trip report

Smarts Brook Loop

12/29/2014

Trip Report/Photos from Gandalf

Featured Photo

Jon and I enjoy hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on this 3.6 mile loop that takes about 2 hours to complete. The trailhead is off Rte. 49 on the drive into Waterville Valley, about a mile to the right after Goose Hollow Campground. With the unseasonably warm temperatures and recent rain, the trails were icy so wearing MicroSpikes was needed. From the trailhead, I followed a clockwise loop, starting on the Pine Flats Trail, continuing on to Yellow Jacket Trail, and ending on the Smarts Brook Trail.

On the Pine Flats Trail the trail enters a 30-foot deep granite gorge with beautiful cascades and then levels off to a plateau of tall white and red pines. Taking a left on the Yellow Jacket Trail, I enjoyed the conifers, including hemlock, red spruce and balsam fir that dominate this part of the forest.

After crossing the bridge over Smarts Brook I first took a left and walked about .25 mile to a pond damned up by beavers. The beaver lodge was fully intact and there were signs of recent activity on the shore.

I then retraced my steps and took the Smarts Brook Trail all the way back to the truck where the loop passed through a northern hardwood forest, dense with yellow birches and striped maples. I'm looking forward to cross-country ski this loop after our next snowstorm!

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