Sandwich Range Wilderness

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

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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.

Old Paugus: This 2.8 mile trail runs from the Bolles Trail to the south knob of Mt. Paugus, almost entirely within the Sandwich Range Wilderness. The trail follows and crosses Whiten Brook several times before leaving the brook at the 1-mile mark, turning towards Mt Paugus. This trail is also frequently used as part of several possible loop hikes from the Liberty Trailhead.

The planned work will be mostly between the junction with the Big Rock Cave Trail and the large cliff that the trail traverses beneath at approximately 1.7 miles. This work will include installing rock steps, drainage structures, and possibly some short switchback turns in a steep, rocky gully below the cliff.

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.

Funding Need: $200,000.00

Background & History

The United States Congress designated the Sandwich Range Wilderness (map of the Sandwich Range Wilderness) in 1984, and it now has a total of See Sandwich Range Wilderness breakdown of 35,303 acres.

Located in the southeastern corner of the White Mountains, the bold peaks and long ridgelines 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 crampers and tourists looking for a variety of hikes.

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