Sandwich Range Wilderness

Located in the southeast corner of the White Mountains, the bold peaks and long ridge lines of the Sandwich Range form a rugged series of valleys, glacial cirques, and high mountain passes.



The Work

This project will focus on part of the White Mountain National Forest’s "critical need projects" in the Sandwich Range Wilderness for backlog maintenance and will focus on the most highly used, impacted and eroded trails. This project will include a week-long Wilderness Skills Specific Training.

The following Trails will be the focus of the project:

Paugus Beeline - This 1.1 mile section of trail connects the Old Paugus Trail to the Bolles Trail, and runs mostly in the Sandwich Range Wilderness. Originally intended to create a "bee-line" between the summits of Paugus and Chocorua, this trail is now more commonly used as part of several possible loop hikes from the Liberty Trailhead.

The planned work includes several short relocations moving the treadway out of wet areas, and improving or installing multiple drainage structures where natural seeps have erupted into the existing treadway.

Dicey’s Mill - This 4.6 mile trail runs from the Ferncroft Parking area to the summit of Mt Passaconaway, mostly within the Sandwich Range Wilderness. This trail is one of the most heavily used trails in the Sandwich Wilderness as it is a pleasant and moderate route to a 4000' summit.

The planned work is a continuation of work done 4-5 years ago with the USFS and WODC. Improvement and installation of drainage structures along the trail, as well as new rock staircases and steps to existing rock staircases.

Work is expected to take 10-12 weeks to complete.

Bolles - The Boles Trail Relocation is needed to address resource concerns.  The current hiking / snowmobile trail crosses a number of wet areas, including adjacent to the river and though seeps. The snowmobile club has built a number of bridges to address these crossing, but the bridges are failing and now need to be replaced. Two bridges have recently been closed to motorized use due to their poor condition. The relocation is needed to move the trail out of the wet areas to  more sustainable location and improve safety. weeks. All work would be conducted using hand tools and chainsaws to remove trees, avoiding trees greater than 3 inches in diameter where possible and taking no more than 25 trees great than 3 inches diameter at breast height. An alternative crossing option to replacing the bridges will be used if possible.

Work is expected to take 1-3 weeks to complete.

South Moat -  The Moat Mountain Trail is a very high use trail with southern portion accessing South Moat Mountain being the most used section of the trail.  This project will repair and replace 15-year-old structures before erosion becomes unrepairable and a section that needs new alignment become the erosion has become too severe.  Competing these projects will stabilize the tread by choosing a more sustainable alignment and shunt water off the tread.  This project will maintain water quality, minimize soil impacts, and improve trail sustainability and hiker safety.

Work is expected to take 2 - 4 weeks

Background & History

Located in the southeastern corner of the White Mountains, the bold peaks and long ridge lines of the Sandwich Range form a rugged series of valleys, glacial cirques, and high mountain passes. The terrain is broken by steep, boulder-strewn streams tumbling over cascades and through calm pools. Dense spruce-fir vegetation dominates at upper elevations, with northern hardwoods on the lower slopes and valley bottoms.

Flat Mountain and Black Mountain Ponds attract moose and other pond-loving wildlife, while peregrine falcons nest on the steep cliff face of Square Ledge. Several hiking trails access the range, and approximately 57 miles of these typically steep and direct routes are within the Wilderness itself. Many of these trails date to the turn of the century (the last century!) and provide visitors a direct connection to the long recreation history of the area.

All of this wilderness is located in New Hampshire and is managed by the Forest Service. This area is composed of 3 major ridges radiating outward from the center. It contains several dominant peaks, including the Tripyramids, Mt. Whiteface and Mt. Passaconaway as well as several mountain ponds. The area has long been popular with campers and tourists looking for a variety of hikes.