Mon, Nov 19, 2018
by Bill Newman
Hike Length: Dayhike
Trails: Mt. Tecumseh via the Mt. Tecumseh Trail for ascent and Sosman Trail for descent
Date: November 17, 2004
With some vacation time to be used or lost and an urge to continue working on my new list of the 48-Four Thousand Footers, I decided to hit a summit in the middle of the week. I looked over the list of peaks and trip reports that the good folks at Hike-NH.com have done and opted to do an easy one since I was going solo. My options weren’t limited, but I did decide on #48 (the smallest on the hit list)…Tecumseh!
The trail is very easy to find and is to the right of the Waterville Valley Ski area but is in the parking area for the ski slopes so you must go through the main entrance to Waterville. If you head towards the drop-off zone, the trail is just off to the right before you hit the main buildings. Because it was still off-season for skiing, I was able to park right up front. If you hike this during the winter, you may need to park in one of their 9 lots.
The hike was a very easy slope and despite some previous reports about the trail markings, some yellow paint has been used to help identify the trail a little better. There were a couple of minor brook crossings that presented no problems, but the last one before the ascent may be a wet one during the spring thaw.
The trail starts at a very level area and winds through the woods for about ½-3/4 of a mile. Once the “major’ brook crossing is done (this is the one where you go down before hitting the climb up), the trail takes a turn to the right and heads up at a very gradual but straight slope until the summit signs. With the exception of The Wilderness Trail, this has got to be one of the straightest trails in the Whites. It is a little rocky and there are a few tree stumps to navigate around but it’s minimal on this trail. There is a small cut-off to get a view from the ski slopes but other than that, there is very little in the way of views on this trail. There are no turns and minimal water (keep in mind I did this in November) but it’s a very easy hike and only a couple of stops were needed for a water break. I did see some dry run-off streams so maybe during wetter weather water would be more plentiful further up the trail.
There is another small cut off to the Sosman trail near the summit but it’s nothing confusing. The only other diversion is just below the summit. The summit trail splits at about the 2-mile mark and you can get to the summit in one of two ways….up or down. I took the logical way and went up, but even the final few hundred feet don’t pose any problems for anyone who has hiked in The Whites before. I’m not sure how the “down” trail gets you to the summit but I assume that it just hooks up with the backside of the Mt. Tecumseh Trail (this trail continues to the other Mt. Tecumseh trailhead on the other side of the mountain).
The summit was a little disappointing due to the limited views. You can see some other peaks like Osceola and Sandwich Mt but you need to look through some trees to see them as the summit is fairly wooded.
After a few minutes at the summit I decided to descend via the Sosman Trail and I HIGHLY recommend this route. There are some great open views from this trail and a log couch has been made at one outcrop so it’s a better place to stop for lunch than the summit. The only problem with descending this way is that the trail ends at the microwave tower (it’s only a ¼ mile trail) and you must go down one of the ski slopes to get back to the parking lot.
The total round trip is about 4.5 miles and I was very surprised that a slow hiker like myself was able to do it in just over 3 hours without any hustling.
Special Equipment: A chainsaw to get a view at the summit!Pictures from the Tecumseh Hike >>
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