Tuesday, June 8, 2010


A morning jaunt over one of my favorite short loop hikes in the Whites. The destination was The Scaur, a low, ledgy outlook in Waterville Valley. The loop starts from the Livermore parking area and follows the wide Livermore Road for 0.3 mile.

You cross the open field marking the location of the old Depot logging camp.

For the loop version of The Scaur hike, you turn left on Greeley Ponds Trail, which follows a gentle old woods road.

At 1 mile from the start I turned right onto the Scaur Trail, one of several great shorter trails maintained by the Waterville Valley Athletic & Improvement Association (WVAIA).

I quickly came to the crossing of the Mad River, which even at low levels is hard to make without stepping in the water. It had rained very little the previous two weeks so I managed to keep my boots mostly dry. No need to take the Crocs off the pack.

At the crossing there's a scenic view upstream to a stony part of the riverbed.

The first part of the Scaur Trail beyond the crossing is flat, leading through nice mixed woods.

Lots of ladyslippers in here.

The Scaur Trail climbs up to its namesake viewpoint in three short, steep bursts. Near the bottom of the first pitch you can find "Judge's Spring" to the right. The path to it is obscure, but short.

Wooden steps help on the first steep climb.

After the second pitch the Kettles Path comes in from the R, and the Scaur Trail continues up through fine hardwood forest.

The upper part of the trail climbs steeply through spruce forest, passing this interesting ledge near the top.

A short scramble through a ledgy slot lifts you to the outlook.

Sandwich Dome dominates the southern view. The sharp Jennings Peak is to the R of the main summit.

Mt. Tecumseh is near to the SW, seen in its green summer mode.

I like the intriguing vista towards the remote Lost Pass region, at the head of the Cascade Brook valley, between a spur of West Sleeper on the L and Snows Mtn. on the R. A flat spur of East Sleeper peers over in back.

Middle and South Tripyramid and West Sleeper are seen on the far L, looking SE.

The Kettles Path is a wonderful woods walk. This huge white pine rises beside the trail near one of the bowl-shaped depressions known as "The Kettles."

There were probably two dozen winter blowdowns on the Kettles Path, some of them fairly sizeable. The next day (National Trails Day), a WVAIA volunteer crew led by Dan Newton went out and cleared the blowdowns on Kettles, as well as a few more on the Scaur Trail. Good work!

The last 0.9 mile of the loop is a Livermore Road stroll.

I rarely pass up the short side trip to see "The Boulder" in Slide Brook. The Waterville trail network is a great place to explore. This loop is 3.6 miles with about 650 ft. of elevation gain.


  1. Steve,

    I did the Scaur Loop on Tuesday, and looked up your description before writing mine! Thanks for the identification of Sandwich as the big mountain to the south; I was not sure what it was.


  2. Hi Mohamed,

    Glad to be of service! I haven't done Scaur Trail up from the Mad River in winter - that's pretty steep, though not long.It was good to see a snow bridge over the river, though it's likely gone now!