The Other Side of Tecumseh, 5.2.12

Yes, another trip to Tecumseh, but this time since the forest roads opened a bit early, I decided to try the Mt. Tecumseh Trail from Tripoli Road to the summit.   The Mt. Tecumseh Trail actually traverses the whole mountain, but most people only hike to the summit and back and usually by the portion of trail located on the side of the mountain with the Waterville Valley ski area.  The round trip from Tripoli Road is a bit longer than taking the standard route up from the ski area, at 6.2 miles vs. 5 miles, but I think it is a bit less difficult.

The trail head itself is located at a small parking lot on Tripoli Road, about 5.7 miles from exit 31 of I-93.   The lot isn’t well marked, so keep an eye on the odometer.  There is a sign, but it faces the road, not the driver, so it is easy to drive past.  Once in the parking lot, the trail enters the woods just to the right of the sign.

This is what the entrance to the Mt. Tecumseh Trail parking area looks like from Tripoli Road. The sign is hard to see or read until you drive past it. Thankfully, I didn’t.

Nice parking area. Trail starts directly to the right of the sign.

The trail quickly crosses Eastman Brook, twice.  From the three guidebooks that I have, it seems like there should be only one crossing, but there are two smaller ones.  One does look like a blow out of some kind, probably from Irene, as there is a lot of rocks and sandy mineral deposits around the second one.  Both were easily crossed on rocks and logs.

First brook crossing, if the water was lower, it would be able to be rock hopped. On this day, I used the rocks and the logs.

Looking back to the second brook crossing. Beyond the logs is where most of the debris and mineral deposits are located.

The trail then heads up a logging road, along the ridge at a moderate to easy grades, through an open forest, which looks like it might have been logged at one time (like a lot of the forests in the Whites!).  It was in this section and up higher that I saw signs of moose, but never actually saw one.

The lower section of trail has a more open forest, with more deciduous trees.

Moose print!

At about 1.3 miles, the trail takes a left turn, marked by a cairn and then starts up through a mostly coniferous forest.  The growth here is thicker, with plenty of moss on the rocks.

Cairn marking sharp left of the trail when ascending, around 1.3 miles from the trailhead.

Typical scenery in the upper portion of the trail, more dense and more coniferous than the lower forest.

The trail is a bit flatter through this area, and then starts the climb with rockier footing up to the top of the first of three little knobs.  At the first knob, there is a side trail to a nice lookout.  Unfortunately, I was in the clouds, so I had no view of what was supposedly Moosilauke and the Kinsmans.

Turn off for the side trail to a view. As you can see, I was in the cloud already, so no views for me today.

The trail then goes over the other two knobs, barely bumps in the trail and then starts a descent into the col between the West Ridge and summit cone of Tecumseh.  Once in the col, the trail levels out for a bit and then starts the last bit of ascending up to the summit of Tecumseh.  I arrived at the summit more quickly than I thought, and was able to get a quick peek of the Tripyramids before they disappeared into the clouds.

The summit of Tecumseh, such as it is.

The Tripyramids, barely keeping their heads above the clouds.

For the return trip, picking the right trail from the summit is important to getting back to the car on the correct side of the mountain.  When facing the nice new trail sign at the summit, the Mt. Tecumseh Trail to Tripoli Road is the trail in the middle, just to the right of the sign.  I left my poles on the correct trail, so that I made sure I went down the right trail.  Even though I’ve been to Tecumseh numerous times, I’d rather not have to hike back up to the summit after figuring out  my mistake!   The return trip went quickly, even though there was a bit of a climb back up to the West Ridge.  Quickly enough, I was back at the car.  I saw no one all day, not surprising mid-week and on a less popular trail.

To go back to Tripoli Road, take the trail just to the right of the sign.

I really enjoyed hiking the other side of Tecumseh.  It was a good change of pace to hike to somewhere familiar, yet by a different way.

Almost ready! On the lower portion of trail, there are many flowers almost ready to bloom, both trilliums and trout lilies.


4 thoughts on “The Other Side of Tecumseh, 5.2.12

  1. Hi Summerset,

    Thank you for posting this. I’ve never hiked that trail to Tecumseh! It’s been on my list far too long. Speaking of “long”. Although the mileage is a bit longer from the Tripoli Road side, from a time-wise perspective, did it take much (if any) longer than from the Waterville Valley side?

    Loved the photo of the Tripyramids barely keeping their head above the clouds!


  2. John – You’re welcome! I know you like the road less traveled. I think the time is comparable, even though it is longer and there is a bit more elevation gain. It took me 3:15 to do the round trip, car to car, which is in the same ballpark as my ski area time. A lot depends on ground conditions, picture-taking, exploring, etc..

  3. You are so lucky to be able to hike these peaks so often… Looking forward to the hiking season. I love the reports.!

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