Wednesday, August 27, 2014


I'd recently had my eye on a small cliff or crag on a shoulder of Mt. Jim (seen in the upper left of the photo below) that is visible from the parking lot for the Beaver Brook Trail at the top of Kinsman Notch. I couldn't tell if there would be any open and accessible views, but if there were, they would be unique. I fixed an approximate location using the USGS map and Google Earth and set off on the Beaver Brook Trail on a warm and sunny morning.

Climbing alongside the parade of cascades on the Beaver Brook Trail is always a delight, and today was no exception. The first cascade comes at just 0.4 mile and is a nice waterfall objective for a short hike, even for non-hikers.

A touch of fall color at the second cascade.

The third cascade is always worth a stop.

Beaver Brook snaking down through the ledges.

Perhaps the most picturesque spot on Beaver Brook Trail.

A closer look at the tallest cascade in the series.

A jumble of rocks - this is a steep ascent!

By some counts there are at least a dozen individual cascades.

A long arc of wooden pin steps - more than 30 in this set - provides safe passage up a steep slippery ledge.

View of the Franconia Range and Mt. Wolf above the pin steps.

One of the upper cascades.

Appalachian Trail blaze atop a Dartmouth Outing Club marking.

A nice waterslide.

Impressive rock steps built by the DOC.

I left the trail a ways above the cascades and made very slow progress through dense scrubby conifers laced with rocks, holes and blowdowns. Progress was measured in feet per minute due to the need for careful foot placement.

I was very pleased to chance upon a sled road from the Gordon Pond Logging Railroad operation of a century ago. Though rather thickly grown, it offered much more secure footing as it contoured across the slope.

After following the at-times indistinct sled road for a while, I spotted a dropff ahead. I had found the cliff!

The clifftop was heavily treed-in with a sheer face in front, but I was able to carefully worm my way down to a little shelf for an open vista of Kinsman Notch and the mountains beyond.

The SE side of Kinsman Notch, with the Hancocks and Carrigain in the hazy distance. Lost River Mountain and Monkey Cliff are seen in the middle distance.

Scar Ridge, Osceola, the Tripyramids and Tecumseh.

Beaver Pond, Kinsman Ridge/Mt. Wolf and the Franconia Range.

A close-up of Beaver Pond, with its remarkable jetty-like ledge jutting out from the west shore.

South Kinsman, with North Kinsman peeking over on the left.

The impressively steep buttress that looms above Beaver Pond. Jakey McGraw, woods boss for lumber baron George L. Johnson's Gordon Pond Logging Railroad, met the challenge of getting the tall spruces down off the top of this spur with the aid of a winch and cable set-up.

Peering down to the Beaver Brook Trail parking area, 1500 ft. below.

I more or less followed the old sled road back to the trail, and on the way down followed a side path down from Beaver Brook Trail to an upper cascade I don't recall visiting before.

At another spot, I made a short scramble down to and across the brook to some great ledges with a view up to a cascade...

...and out to the NE beyond another cascade.

One of the best views I've seen from a waterfall. This was a very rewarding trip, but it sure seemed like a lot more than three miles!


  1. So Steve, when is the "Off-Trail Adventures in Kinsman Notch" book coming out? You've got one customer for it. :) That ledge/ ledges, may be your best find yet.

    Great stuff. Thanks for sharing,

    1. Thanks, Joe - this relatively unheralded notch holds lots of surprises!


  2. Outstanding exploration, Steve! You always seem to find so many new and interesting places to visit - places that I might not even notice or ever think of visiting.

    1. Thanks, BC - it's always rewarding to find new spots and unique view angles!


  3. Replies
    1. Thank you, Steve - glad you enjoyed the report!