Wednesday, November 16, 2011


For various reasons, I've been pretty much off the trails for the last couple of weeks. Needing to get out in the woods, I headed up to Kinsman Notch, the "other" notch in the Lincoln area, for a brief outing.

First stop was the trailhead parking area for Beaver Brook Trail at the height-of-land in the notch, where you get a good view up to the Beaver Brook ravine, with Mt. Blue peering over in the back.

At the edge of the parking lot is a display about the amazing survival and rescue story of the WWII bomber crash on the side of Mt. Waternomee in January 1942.

I took a short hike up Beaver Brook Trail to the first cascade, which is reached in just 0.4 mile. Hard to beat for a quick waterfall jaunt, only 200 ft. of elevation gain.

Then I drove a short distance north to the Beaver Pond Scenic Area, probably the prettiest spot in Kinsman Notch. Many years ago, before a small concrete dam was built, this was known as Beaver Meadow. The pond is fed by Beaver Brook.

This wild crag rises to the west of the pond.

I crossed the stream - the start of the Wild Ammonoosuc River - at a ledgy sluice below the dam.

A maze of beaten paths is found behind the west shore. Here Beaver Pond lives up to its name.

A shoreside ledge provided a closer look at the great whale-like outcrop that juts into the pond.

This is one of the great pondside ledges in the Whites. It has the classic shape of a roche moutonnee, sloping on the north side and plucked off by a glacier on the south.

The view north to the parking area.

The rock has a beautiful wide water view to the south, backed by Mt. Waternomee (L) and Mt. Jim (R).

The view from the dam.

I headed southeast back down the notch to the first roadside pulloff, where you can see the ragged cliffs that rise above Lost River.

There is a cascade by this pulloff that I've driven by dozens of times. Today, I took a closer look.

The distant view from this pulloff includes (L to R): Mt. Osceola, Breadtray Ridge, Middle & South Tripyramid and the Sleepers through Thornton Gap, and Mt. Tecumseh.

Across the road to the NE is a trailless ridge (2909 ft.) named "Lost River Mountain" on an old view panorama from North Woodstock. The rock face on the lower R is known to climbers as the "Monkey Cliffs."

A closer look at the Monkey Cliffs. I once took my unsuspecting nephew Mike, then a teenager, on a steep snowshoe bushwhack up the hardwood slope on the L and out to the top of the cliff. He loved it!

And now, a blast from the past...a few photos from a bushwhack to Lost River Mountain in July 2008.

First view down the valley to the SE.

Some great fern whacking.

Looking back from a Monkey Cliff ledge to the massive ridges of Moosilauke.

A vista along the upper Monkey Cliffs - there are several sets of cliffs and ledges along this ridge.

Hancocks in the distance.

A perch with a look down at a lower knob, one of several labeled the "Hedgehog Peaks" on the old view panorama.

More open woods travel. Generally good going on this ridge, though there was the occasional thick stretch.

Hazy view to the SE.

From a ledge on a higher shoulder, my favorite view of Kinsman Notch. In the background, L to R: Waternomee, Jim, Moosilauke, and Blue.

The summit of Lost River Mountain.

On the way down, a ledge and cascade on a nameless brook, one of many hidden treasures in Kinsman Notch.


  1. My first thought, Steve, was that you had visited the *original* Kinsman Notch.

    Do you know why the name switched to a different location? Was it because of the power lines running through the original?

  2. Hi Raymond,

    It's possible that Nathan Kinsman, the first settler in the area, came through the notch between Kinsman and Wolf with his family, hence that was the "original" Kinsman Notch. The other notch apparently was called Moosilauke Notch at first. Don't know why it was changed - perhaps when Lost River made the current Kinsman Notch more famous.


  3. Steve, I wandered up this very brook and cascade on my way to what I now know are the Monkey Cliffs! What an extensive set of ledges, and great views! There was this one high ledge that was shaped like an upside-down ship hull... I slid a little way out but could not justify the risk of traversing the rest to sit on the nice perch at the end! Beautiful open woods - at several points, I could swear I was following an old graded road along the edge.

    1. Hi Chris,

      Glad you made it up there. As you noted, a great combination of open woods and view ledges. I once shimmied out on that narrow ledge, too. Quite the spot!