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Thread: Fire Wardens Trail & Other Unmarked Trails

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Default Fire Wardens Trail & Other Unmarked Trails

    I am extremely intrigued by those who bushwhack to accomplish their hiking lists. It seems intuitive to me, if you keep going up you should eventually find the summit, but coming back down, I imagine, that is the tricky part. How do you know where exactly you are going, when/where you should turn?

    I did Mendon Peak with someone who had bushwhacking experience who was completing his NE 100 highest list. We were very careful about it using a map and compass, with assistance of a GPS. Needless to say I was nervous about being out of bounds having read "Not Without Peril" and just meeting up with Ted O'Brien at Wilderness first aid class after he was lost in the woods. I am not about to go bushwhacking by myself and/or without prior knowledge- I do not want to be another WMNF static.

    So when I see actual trails that are unmarked like the "Fire Wardens Trail" off Hale ( I want to know what it's like. I did hike a little ways down and saw the beautiful birches and ferns, but I didn't know at the time where it went so I went back. Is this trail easy to follow? How many people use it? Why isn?t it on the map?

    I have seen a bunch of old abandoned logging roads off some trails (A-Z trail, Garfield trail, etc) where do these go? Does anyone know where trail goes past the log bench on the summit of Mt Tom? How many other nameless summit trails are there in the WMNF?
    Last edited by wbwoodley; 08-28-2011 at 04:15 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Thanked 372 Times in 193 Posts


    The Fire Warden's Trail on Mount Hale is considered abandoned, but is far from unused as many use it, especially in winter. It is pretty easy to find at both ends and pretty obvious to follow. It's not on the map as it is no longer maintained.

    Logging roads do not generally appear on any maps, but can be seen clearly on Google Earth. Many bushwhackers use this to map courses.

    The trail above the log bench on the summit of Mount Tom goes to the actual summit. If you stopped at the bench you didn't get to the summit. 8 ) It has a nice westerly view of the Pemigewasset Wilderness.

    You may find this site interesting:


  3. The Following User Says Thank You to KD Talbot For This Useful Post:

    DMOutdoors (08-28-2011)

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    New Hampshire
    Thanked 35 Times in 25 Posts


    There are always degrees of hiking or bushwhacking. The FWT is an abandoned trail, but receives much use (as KDT mentions, particularly in winter) - I myself have been to Hale 3 times and have only done so via the FWT. In fact, I am pretty sure the FWT used to be a tractor road so the fire warden could get up and down, so it's more like an abandoned road.

    Maintained Trails (Old Bridle Path)
    Spur 'Trails' (like Isolation Spur)
    Maintained forest / logging roads / ski trails (Polecat to Wildcat D, CVR to Redington, etc.)
    Abandoned Trails (FWT)
    Unofficial Trails (Mount Nancy)
    Abandoned woods or logging roads
    Herd Paths (Owl's Head)
    Moose Trails / game trails
    True bushwhacks with no real signs of travel (Scar Ridge)

    Then you get into winter conditions where with enough snow you cannot easily follow the AT corridor - like say the Carter-Moriah trail.

    Last edited by bikehikeskifish; 08-30-2011 at 12:38 PM.

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