|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Cranmore Mountain, Black Cap Mountain, NH|
||Road walk, bushwhack, woods road, service road, ski trails, Cranmore Trail, Black Cap Trail, Black Cap Connector, Black Cap Spur, Artist Falls Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Saturday, July 24, 2021|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||I got a late start, so the parking area for Peaked and Middle Mountains on Thompson Road in Conway was full. There are lots of No Parking signs along the road on either side of the parking area. However, if you continue up the road a little bit, right after a 90-degree left turn there are places where you can park on the shoulder, and there are no No Parking signs there. At least a half-dozen vehicles were already parked there when I arrived. No parking is available further up Thompson Road. When I got back, mine was the only car there, and there were only a few vehicles parked at the Peaked/Middle lot. |
||Dry Trail, Mud - Significant |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||One minor, easy crossing on Black Cap Connector. The crossing of Artist Brook on Artist Falls Path is basically just a big leap from one rock outcrop to another. Someone has placed a log spanning the gap, but it's fairly narrow and I wasn't sure how sturdy it was. Any reasonably fit adult should be able to make the leap. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||No sign for Artist Falls Path at the end of Thompson Road - it's the trail that diverges right from the turnaround area, not the one that continues straight. All other signs were in place, though I have doubts about some of the mileages on them. No blowdowns. Parts of Black Cap Connector were quite eroded, and there were many muddy spots - most of them were avoidable for people, but bicycles would need to go right through some of them. |
||The Nature Conservancy owns the Green Hills Preserve, and they say in their guide that dogs must be leashed. I didn't see any dogs today. |
||They were out, but not horrible. I found a tick on me after the hike, probably from the tall grass on the ski trails. |
|Lost and Found:
||This was a fun loop around the Green Hills to finish redlining it. From where I parked, I walked up to the end of Thompson Road. There is absolutely no parking at the end of the road (the many signs make this clear), but there's nothing wrong with walking up. From there, I continued straight ahead onto a path, and then almost immediately turned left (north) into the woods to start the bushwhack - the idea was to bushwhack to the Cranmore Ski Area service road, which looked on my map to be just about 0.2 miles away. The woods were open and dry. I had only gone maybe 100-200 yards when I encountered two parallel woods roads. I decided to follow the second one uphill to see where it would go - the road was clear and the footing was good. The woods road eventually swung left, and soon popped me out onto the Ski Area service road, right at the bottom of the Schneider ski lift. I didn't want to ascend the mountain that way, so I continued up the service road. I had two choices - for a longer but more gradual climb (and one that misses the views from the summit), I could've followed the service road all the way to the junction with Cranmore Trail. But I decided to hike up the ski trails instead. I followed Upper Tommy's Trail, Gibson Chutes (nicely shaded), Gibson, and Schneider ski trails to the summit. Schneider was a tough one since it's quite steep and also totally open and exposed to the sun. Upper Tommy's Trail and Schneider were quite overgrown while Gibson Chutes didn't have much grass.|
The summit had excellent views. There were a few people there who had ridden the ski lift up the mountain. Finding the top of the service road was easy, and I followed it gently downhill to a sharp right turn - just past that turn is a kiosk and the start of Cranmore Trail. Cranmore Trail is quite gentle, has generally good footing, and was mostly dry. I didn't see any hikers on that trail, just a half-dozen or so mountain bikers zooming past me at great speed. I could typically hear them before I could see them.
Black Cap Trail was quite a bit wetter and muddier. Black Cap Spur up to the summit was eroded in places, with side paths for mountain bikes. It also had a lot of wooden retaining steps. Views at the summit were excellent, and there were several other groups of people there (most of whom came from the Hurricane Mountain Road trailhead).
Black Cap Connector was a generally easy to moderate descent, with good footing alternating with rough, eroded sections. There were also a few PUDs. The portion of the middle part of the trail that briefly leaves the snowmobile trail was not signed or blazed at either end, which I thought was weird. The rest of the descent was pretty much the same. Artist Falls Path was wide and clear, and the leap necessary to cross the brook at the bottom wasn't too difficult.
All in all, this was a fun hike that is relatively quick for its distance. The weather was fairly hot, but it wasn't too bad, and being in the shade for most of the descent definitely helped.
Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.