View Full Version : Ossipee range?

05-25-2004, 10:00 PM
Mount Shaw and some of the surrounding land in the Ossipee range (north of Winnipesaukee) which used to be owned by the Castle in the Clouds is now sprouting hiking trails. I've been hiking in and around there for a while and have met folks who tell of a north/south trail though the range. Are these trails detailed anywhere? The best I've found at this point is the USGS quads. These are quite out of date.

Any idea who the landowners are in the Ossipee range and what they think of hikers?

(I'm thinking of coming off the Cohos trail and hiking though the southen whites, a couple state parks, and down to Winnipesaukee via the Ossipee range.)

05-26-2004, 06:29 AM
A couple of years ago I tried to get information on this area, and it was scant. A small guide to the local trails was available in the sporting goods shop in Wolfeboro.

If I recall correctly, the range is actually an ancient, and quite large, caldera. When you take the wide view of the range, you can easily see the large ring that is the leftover from the volcano.

No guarantee, but you might try calling:

Wolfeboro Bay Outfitters
Main St.
Wolfeboro, NH 03894


05-26-2004, 09:17 AM
Five years ago I did something similar, walking from the Sandwich Range back to Moultonborough. Lots of state park woods to walk through in the Tamworth area, and (at the time) you could traverse the Ossipee Range to get back to the west.

I don't know about current landowners, but for accounts of the Ossipees here, see:
PB's account of Mt Shaw (http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php3?s=&threadid=597&highlight=ossipee) (scroll down)
more info on the range and carriage roads (http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php3?s=&threadid=609&highlight=ossipee)

Peter Miller
05-28-2004, 10:23 PM
There is a lot to be said about the Ossipees. I'll try to be brief and to identify resources for you to follow up.

The Ossipees are one of the finest volcanic ring dikes in the world. They hold much interest for naturalists. The unique bedrock makes for a unique ecosystem. There are some fine old growth stands and many rare/endangered species. Casts made of prints left in this winter's snow confirm the presence of mountain lion.

The carriage roads are an engineering feat akin to the Mt. Washington auto road. There are many carriage roads, some of which have been fairly well maintained while others have been neglected. There are also foot trails.

The Lakes Region Conservation Trust (LRCT), with headquarters in Meredith NH (where I live) owns much of the Ossipees. They have contracted with AMC to research the trails and produce a map. A recreational plan for the mountains is in progress. The plan will route human traffic away from rare/endangered species and exemplary ecosystems. Decisions have yet to be made regarding what kind of recreation to allow. ATVs will be banned. Snowmobilers and equestrians have used the carriage roads in the past. It is not known if they will be allowed in the future.

Dr. Rick Van de Poll is conducting a natural resource inventory of the Ossipees for LRCT. He has created a very fine contour map of the carriage roads and trails in the mountains, of which I have a copy. I do not know if LRCT would release copies to the public at large, but there is no harm in enquiring. Contact them through their website.

The Ossipees offer some of the finest hiking in New Hampshire. I look forward to the development of trails and hope to participate in their creation.

08-14-2004, 11:01 PM
The Ossipee Mountains are dull, brushy, and largely devoid of interest for hikers. Oh, and they're full of snakes and bears, too. And compasses and GPS units are strangely affected by magnetic deposits in the area. And most SAR units refuse to answer calls there because of the yetis that roam the place. And it's a crummy spot for skiing and snowshoeing. And there's no water. Tell all your friends.

And say hi if you see me anytime; I'll be the one struggling to keep up with my two dogs.


08-15-2004, 07:38 AM

Previous White Mountain guides list descriptions of some of the Ossipee mountains:

1972: Mt. Shaw Trail, Bald Peak Trail, Thunderbird Trail, and Gorilla trail

1960: also lists Mt. Whittier

In the 1931 WM Guide: "Mt. Shaw, highest of the Ossipees, and unhappily renamed some years ago, lies within the Plant estate." It also lists Tate Mt., a spur of Mt. Shaw.

The 1972 Chochura - Waterville sheet seems to show the location of some of the carriage roads. I can make copies of the 1972 & 1960 trail descriptions and send it to you if it will help.

10-12-2004, 12:58 PM
The LRCT has built a new parking lot on Rte. 171 about .2 miles E of the main entrance to Castle in the Clouds. There is a trail map posted at the kiosk there, and they are for sale at the Castle in the Clouds gift shop. Note that they show mostly trails on the Castle property and not the ones from Camp Merrowvista for example.

Also note that .4 miles up the Mt Shaw Trail you should turn L on the red blazes for the direct route, the green-and-red blazes to the R are the Tate Mtn Trail which is not shown on the LRCT map. By turning L at the blue trail it makes a longer ascent to Black Snout.

10-12-2004, 06:10 PM
SPNHF held a hike up Mt. Bayle (on the northern end of the Ossipees) a few years ago which I went on; at the time, quite a bit of it was owned by a timber company (can't remember the name, but it must have been one of the good ones if they hosted a SPNHF field trip).

I remember it being vaguely interesting, some open ledges here & there with views. What roads there are in the center of the Ossipee Range are mostly dirt, often private, and can be rather steep.

I have a friend that went hunting there last year; either the land isn't posted or my friend is less ethical than I thought ;)

10-12-2004, 10:59 PM
Thanks for the update.

I have yet to see any postings (I think the yetis are probably tearing down the signs to lure the unwary), so your friend is probably still OK.

10-13-2004, 07:44 AM
the green-and-red blazes to the R are the Tate Mtn Trail which is not shown on the LRCT map.

My understanding is that much of the Tate Mtn. trail "passes over land whose owners no longer wish to provide public access to their property". Is this still the case?

10-14-2004, 11:47 AM
My understanding is that much of the Tate Mtn. trail "passes over land whose owners no longer wish to provide public access to their property". Is this still the case?
Don't know, but doubtful, if they really didn't want hikers they would paint out the blazes and put up "Keep Out" signs :-) Note that 100% of the hikers we met there thought they were on the Mt Shaw Trail and wouldn't have been there if there were signs. You can ask the phantom trailbuilder next time you see him.

Note that I am talking about the green/red trail that starts from the Mt Shaw Trail and not the blue trail from the Merrowvista side.

And it seems reasonable to me that the LRCT map should concentrate on their property and not others, regardless of how unfortunate that is for hikers.