Saturday, September 25, 2010


A morning foliage hike in from the Kanc Highway, on a railroad grade trail with a surprising variety of scenery. There's room for several cars to park at the trailhead on the N side of the road.

As the trail descends for 0.3 mi. to cross the Swift River, it passes by two sets of cascades spilling over broad ledges. The first set is right beside the trail.

The second is accessed by a short side path.

The river crossing is made on various-sized rocks, making for some creative route-picking.

From here on the trail follows the bed of the Sawyer River Railroad, which operated out of Livermore village from the 1870s to the 1930s. The walking is smooth and easy.

At 0.6 mi. the Nanamocomuck Ski Trail and a snowmobile trail head off to the E.

There was a lot more color in the woods than I saw just two days earlier.

The peaceful flow of Meadow Brook accompanies the trail for quite a distance.

At 1.3 miles the trail crosses Meadow Brook on a snowmobile bridge, beginning a stretch where you pass through extensive wetlands.

A bog just W of the trail, as seen from the bridge.

The eastern spur of Mt. Huntington can be seen in the distance.

A colorful canopy over the old RR grade.

Cotton grass, maple colors and part of Mt. Carrigain's Signal Ridge.

A picturesque marsh about two miles in on the trail.

Beyond the wetlands, the trail continues northward as an open corridor through the forest.

At 2.6 miles the Hancock Notch Trail departs to the L. This small clearing is referred to as "Hayshed Field."

I continued 0.3 mi. N on a narrower section of the Sawyer River Trail, negotiating several blowdowns and a couple of confusing turns near brook crossings, and dropped down the bank to sit beside the Sawyer River for a few minutes.

On the way back I followed a grassy logging road E from the Hancock Notch Trail junction for about 0.2 mi., then took an obscure path out to a bog with a good view of Mt. Carrigain and Signal Ridge.
Back along the Sawyer River Trail, a short bushwhack brought me to the shore of a pretty beaver pond on the W side of the trail. Wonder if this has any relation to the sizable pond shown in this area on the 1902 National Publishing Co. map of the White Mountains, the most comprehensive map of its day for hikers.

A good-sized beaver dam holds this one in.

Back on the trail, looking E across the marsh to Green's Cliff.

On the way back I poked around the woods near an old logging camp site and found a few metal artifacts. This was an easy and very enjoyable 7-mile hike that took just a bit more than three hours.


  1. Hi Steve,

    My wife and I were on this trail recently. It's amazing how quickly the color changes. I posted a report on VFTT. Lots of moose signs.

    I'm the adopter on Piper but waiting until later in the fall to get my work in. Hopefully we don't have a early freeze. Contemplating adopting Rainbow in Wild River.

    Chris / Cooperhill

  2. Chris,

    Thanks for your note. Yes, that is prime moose country out there.

    Thanks for your work on Piper Trail. Rainbow is a fine trail, those birch glades are stunning.


  3. Hi Steve,

    I brushed and logged out a good section of this (about .8 of the 1.2 section starting from Sawyer River Road)) on Columbus Day weekend. There is still a section near the intersection with Hancock Notch trail that is a bit confusing and blowdowns to maneuver around. I let our friendly ranger district know about it. Cheers, Chris

  4. That's great, Chris - thank you for your good work!