Peboamauk Falls Hike

There are two routes in to Peboamauk Falls. The first is along the Ice Gulch Trail which begins on Randolph Hill Rd. The second is on the old Bog Dam Trail, which begins at the end of Jimtown Rd. The trail is no longer fully maintained but still very much passable as long as you are ok with mud.

Ice Gulch Trail 

Note: This trail description is only for the section of Ice Gulch Trail from Randolph Hill Rd. to Peboamauk Falls. For more information on the Ice Gulch Trail contact the Randolph Mountain Club or the Appalachian Mountain Club.

Estimated Time: 3-4 hrs roundrtip

Distance: 4.25 miles

Level: Moderate

This trail begins on Randolph Hill Rd. at an old farm marked Sky Meadows. You can park on the grass just opposite the farm (although parking in the winter may be challenging). To reach the trailhead, walk on the left side of the farm to the edge of the woods where you will see the trail.

The trail begins by descending slightly, then climbs and falls slightly over the next two miles as it crosses a logging road and three major streams. After two miles, the trail reaches a junction at “The Marked Birch”.

At the junction you will see two signs. One points to the left to the base of Ice Gulch. The other points back to Randolph Hill Rd. Despite the lack of signage, there is another option straight ahead that leads down to Peboamauk Falls. The trail is easy to follow, blazed in orange, and descends steeply for a short bit to the base of Peboamauk Falls.

For the quickest option, return the way you came by climbing back up out of Winters Home (the base of the falls) and continue straight back on the Ice Gulch Trail. If you want a longer option, you can follow the Peboamauk Loop to the top of the falls and then to the base of Ice Gulch.

The marked Birch

Bog Dam Trail

Estimated Time: 2-3 hrs roundtrip

Distance: 3 miles roundtrip

Level: Moderate

Directions to the Trailhead

The Bog Dam Trail is no longer fully maintained, nor is it listed on current maps, but it seems that the bottom portion of the trail is maintained. At the end of Jimtown Rd. turn right and park in the lot on the left hand side just before the gate. In the back corner of the parking lot, you will see the beginning of the trail. After just a couple minutes, the trail meets up with the main path (alternatively you can access this by following the dirt road past the gate and getting on the trail over a berm on the left). Turn left at this junction and follow the trail uphill. It continues uphill, mostly in a straight path for about 1.25 miles. About a 1/4 of the way up, you will pass the Gorham dam far below you on the right. Intermittently you will get lovely views of the brook to your right.

Just before you reach the junction with the Ice Gulch Trail, there is an old, partially broken bridge crossing a small brook. Do not use this bridge, it is no longer safe. Instead, rock hop across the stream.

At the junction you will see two signs. One points almost straight ahead to the base of Ice Gulch. The other points left to Randolph Hill Rd. Despite the lack of signage, there is another option to the right that leads to Peboamauk Falls. The trail is easy to follow, blazed in orange, and descends steeply for a short bit to the base of Peboamauk Falls.

For the quickest option, return the way you came by climbing back up out of Winters Home (the base of the falls) and turn left back onto the Bog Dam Trail. If you want a longer option, you can follow the Peboamauk Loop to the top of the falls and then to the base of Ice Gulch.

icegulch5

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Pine Mountain

Pine Mountain

Estimated Time: 2 – 3 hrs

Distance: 3.5 miles for entire loop

Level: Moderate

Directions to the Trailhead

The summit of Pine Mountain and the ledges on the south side are home to some of the best views of the Northern Presidentials. There are two ways to reach the peak. The longer route uses the Pine Mountain Trail and leaves from near the center of Gorham. This route is shorter and requires less elevation gain and leaves from Pinkham B Road, just across from the Pine Link Trailhead. There is parking available for free at the trailhead.

The hike begins just opposite the parking area and for the first 0.9 miles follows the Pine Mountain Road – a private dirt road that gives access to the Horton Center. After 0.9 miles the Ledge Trail branches to the right. It passes under a big cliff and then climbs fairly steeply for a short ways to the top of the cliff. It is from this point that there are excellent views across Pinkham Notch and to the mountains in the south.

From the ledge the trail continues more gradually to the summit of Pine Mountain where you will find the Horton Center. On the summit you can reconnect with the Pine Mountain Road and follow this back down to the parking area.

Taking in the fall foliage from the ledges on Pine Mtn.

Taking in the fall foliage from the ledges on Pine Mtn.

Mascot Pond

Estimated Time: 1-2 hours round-trip

Distance: 1 mile on trail round-trip (plus 2 miles on gravel roads round-trip to reach trailhead)

Level: Easy

Directions to the Trailhead

Mascot Pond makes for a great destination on a hot summer day, or when you want an easier hike to what feels like a remote location. To reach this trail, park at the Trestle Bridge in Gorham and follow the directions to the Mahoosuc Trail found here. It is a bit complicated to find, so make sure to follow the directions carefully. Once you reach the trailhead, take the Mahoosuc Trail as if you were heading to Mt. Hayes. Soon after you start up the trail you will cross under power lines. After just about 1/2 of a mile, you will reach the side trail to Mascot Pond on the right. Take this side trail. It is flat from this junction all the way to the pond, only one or two minutes down the trail.

mascot

From the sandy shores of Mascot Pond you will be able to see all the way to Mt. Washington on a clear day. If you turn around and look “behind” the pond, you will see a fairly large rock slide. Mascot Pond is also the site of the abandoned Mascot Mine. The mine was built in the 1880’s to extract lead, zinc and silver ores from the sides of Mt. Hayes. These materials were then sent via train to New Jersey. The buildings that once stood here are long since gone, but if you are feeling adventurous you can carefully climb up the rocky slope to some of the mine entrances. Today these entrances are gated off to protect over 1500 bats from five species that hibernate in the cave and Mascot Mine is the largest hibernaculum (location used for hibernation) in the state of NH!

Mascot Mine

Mascot Mine c. 1880s- Photo from Guy Shorey Collection

Mt. Hayes

Estimated Time: 4.5-5.5 hours round-trip

Distance: 4.4 miles on trail round-trip (plus 2 miles on dirt roads to access the trailhead)

Level: Moderate

Directions to the Trailhead

Mt. Hayes in Gorham makes for a wonderful 1/2 day hike to some tremendous views of the town of Gorham and the Northern Presidential Range. One of the trickiest parts of this hike is finding the trailhead! The best way to access the trail is by parking at the Trestle Bridge on Rt. 16 in Gorham, just past VIP Tires when you are heading north (see map below). From there, cross over the bridge and turn left of the far side. Follow the dirt path past the pond, until you reach a “T”. Take a right here to connect with the ATV trail and then a left to cross over the canal. Just on the far side of the bridge, look for a small trail on your right. Follow this until it connects with another dirt road, take a right and continue walking (about 10 minutes) until you reach the trailhead on your left. This route is indicated in red on the map below:

Follow the red route to reach the Mt. Hayes trailhead

Follow the red route to reach the Mt. Hayes trailhead

Once you reach the trailhead (shown by an orange star on the map above), you will begin hiking through the woods (yellow path on map). The route to the top of Mt. Hayes follows the Mahoosuc Trail and is marked with blue blazes. The route can be a bit wet in the spring and early summer. The trail starts off gradually and quickly crosses some power lines. After half of a mile, there is a spur trail on the right to Mascot Pond, which also makes for a very nice destination. Shortly after there is a short steeper section before the path levels out and crosses over a dirt road. On the far side the trail climbs moderately through some muddy sections before one last steep section to the top.

Before you reach the actual summit, there is a small path to the right which leads out onto some fabulous ledges with great views. This is a great place to have a picnic lunch, eat a snack or simply relax and take in the views.

mt hayes

From here, you can continue on the Mahoosuc Trail if you want. The actual summit is .3 miles further but doesn’t offer a view and is just marked by a cairn. For most people, the ledges are a good destination. Return to your car on the same route you took up.

Trestle Bridge in Gorham

Trestle Bridge in Gorham

The 2 trails at the Trestle Bridge in Gorham make for great afternoon strolls. One is a wide gravel/dirt trail that makes a nice 30-45 minute loop. The second, The Power Island Loop, is primarily a mountain bike trail but also is nice for walking. Both trails are accessed by parking at the trestle bridge on Rt. 16 and then walking across the metal grating to the east side of the Androscoggin. Before crossing the bridge, be sure to check out the informational sign on the history of the river as well as hydro power in Gorham.

Trail 1 30-40 min; easy Stroller

The wide gravel and dirt trail makes a great loop for an easy stroll. It is even stroller accessible if you have a stroller with all-terrain wheels. After crossing the trestle bridge you can turn either way to begin the loop. If you turn to the left you will start out with the river on your left. You will soon pass the start to the Power Island Loop. Continue on the main path past the pond on your left. When you reach the T, turn to your left heading back towards the river. You will soon arrive at the dam. From there, turn right to follow the canal. You will cross over another dirt trail with a bridge on your left. At the end of the canal you will reach a second dam building. Turn right here following the river back north to the trestle.

Trail 2 – Power Island Loop 1 hr; easy

This is a narrow trail that was cut to be a mountain bike trail. Please be cautious of and give right of way to bikers while walking on this loop. That being said, it is a very scenic loop that travels through many different areas of forest and is slightly longer than Trail 1. To begin, cross over the trestle and go left. Just pass the grassy “beach” next to the river there is a small sign on a tree for the Power Island Loop. The trail is easy to follow. Twice it crosses over dirt roads. Eventually, after many twists and turns, it will meet back up with Trail 1 just about 50 yards south of the trestle.

trestle bridge location

Parking location for both hikes