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shamples
05-22-2013, 01:44 PM
Planning on doing Cabot soon.

The map I have shows 2 parking spots.

The first just after a gate labeled Berlin Fish Hatchery which looks like the Mill Brook Tr.

The second is further up that road where it looks like I would rather park. Where the Unknown Pond Tr starts.

First of all, what road is that exactly?
Second, is that gate open?
Third, is that second parking spot still open and OK to park at and hike from?

Looks like from that spot, I would hike a nice loop of Unknown Pond Trail to Kilkenny Ridge Trail and go over The Horn, The Bulge and Mt Cabot before finishing out on Bunnell Notch Trail back to my car.

I just want to confirm parking as I remember hearing some of this may be private land?

And lastly which direction is that loop usually hiked? Any pros/cons for going either way?

Thanks for any info.

This will be my 46th 4,000 footer if I do this next!

MichaelJ
05-22-2013, 01:56 PM
1. York Pond Road, off NH Rte 110. Signed for the Fish Hatchery.
2. Yes, but I forget what the hours are during which it's open. It's at least 7am-4pm, though. And you can call ahead and say you'll be late, for example, and they'll coordinate with you (within reason, of course).
3. Yes. It's directly across from some fenced in fish pens.

The private land issue is the (closed) Mt. Cabot Trail from the other side of the range.

I don't think loop direction matters; the Horn will have your best views of the day.

Kevin Rooney
05-22-2013, 01:58 PM
I did Cabot this winter - it's several (maybe 7 miles) in from the main highway. All good road - you drive well past the gate, and am quite sure you can park right by the trailhead in summer. If you're really concerned - call the Fish Hatchery. They're good people, and most cooperative.

As for which direction - personally, I'd do Cabot first, just in case ... to say the trail tends to be damp would be an understatement at this time of year, so extra socks, plastic bags for your boots, would not be excessive. Don't forget the DEET, although it's supposed to be cool this weekend, so that will help.

Good luck -

bikehikeskifish
05-22-2013, 03:02 PM
There are two trailheads at the end of that road. Unknown Pond turns uphill to the right before the final fish pen, and York Pond is just past it on the left. You can park at either one for the loop and do the ~200 yard road walk between them.

Despite many people insisting that the gate is never locked, I found it locked at 7:20am on 13-Nov-2011 (a Sunday), although my presence alerted the dogs and they alerted the hatchery folks who came out by 7:40 to unlock it. I think the hours posted were 7:30 or maybe 8:00 - I know I got there early, counting on the closed-but-not-locked theory.

Tim

peakbagger
05-22-2013, 04:38 PM
THe gate is normally not locked unless the hatchery has had some issues, like moose poaching, vandalism or fish thieves. there is always a slight chance of a locked gate but I think they usually make a sweep of the hiker parking lots in the evening. THere is also a summer camp that runs there and it would be somewhat dangerous to lock the gate in case emergency vehicles need to get in there.

BTW, my standard warning, be very careful folowing RT 110 in Berlin, it is very easy to get lost as it goes throuhg a maze of streets. Take the first left at the top of the hill after the Aubuchon Hardware store, if you see Dunkin Donuts you are half way there. Go throuhg the lights and under a railroad bridge and take a right at a T intersection. Take the first left turn and then right onto the wide road wihc is RT 110.

shamples
05-23-2013, 12:13 PM
Great info. That sounds good!

Will probably do the loop clock-wise and climb Cabot first I suppose. Then finish the hike with The Horns views and the Unknown Pond.

One other question.... Sounds like most of these trails are wet and has some water crossings? Any water crossings real difficult? Or are they pretty much rock hoppable?

Thanks

peakbagger
05-23-2013, 12:49 PM
The loop is wet on the approaches from either side. There are no major streams to cross that are not bridged but the trailbed can be soggy for long distances. The worse spots are the first 1/2 mile of the Unknown Pond trail, The section of KRT south of Unknown Pond trail and the upper section of Bunnel Notch trail. In general many wait until late summer early fall to let things dry up.

sdways01
05-23-2013, 03:38 PM
I hiked the same loop in the same direction in early fall. Even with a layer of snow on the summit, the trail was wet in the same places peakbagger just said. Bring extra socks to keep your feet dry and have a dry pair of sneakers in the car is my opinion.

DayTrip
05-24-2013, 06:08 AM
Has anyone taken Mill Brook Rd (FR11) in Stark, NH to the Unknown Pond Trail to climb Mt Cabot? Sounds like a nice route but I do not see that road listed on the WMNF site. The Mill Brook Road listed on WMNF site shows as being in Pemi area and listed as FR93 so no doubt a totally different Mill Brook Rd. Wondering if it is still a maintained road and it's status (open or closed). It sounds like it is in latest AMC Guide but it's about a 4 hr ride for me so I want to be sure. Anyone out there familiar with road? Anyone know of other sites than WMNF for road status? Would appreciate the info. Hoping to be in that area Sunday.

And in a related topic does anyone know if the fish hatchery on York Pond Road expands the gate hours of 8AM-4PM on the holiday weekends in anticipation of increased hiker traffic? Would be good to know as well.

Thanks for the help!

peakbagger
05-24-2013, 06:41 AM
The Mill brook approach is a nice way to visit Cabot. It goes to Unknown Pond. You get to skip the lower wet section of Unknown Pond trail but you still have the wet stretch of KRT heading south before you start climbing. Realisitically most folks dont use this approach as its out and back versus a loop from the fish hatchery.

The mill brook road is a WMNF road FR11. The Androscoggin Valley Ranger District is the best chance of knowing if its open.

RE the fish hatchery gate, see the prior comments. I am not aware that they officially change the hours that the gate is officially open, but 99% of the time its open 24/7.

madmattd
05-24-2013, 07:41 AM
I took the out-and-back from Mill Brook road on my first visit to Cabot being concerned about the gate issue at the hatchery (which I've since found out isn't much of an issue). I thought it was a nice route, even if it wasn't a loop, which are my preference.

A group of us did an overnight over the Kilkenny Range last summer. Day 2 we didn't get out to the hatchery and our spotted cars until after 6PM. Gate was wide open. I suspect (no proof though) that the people that manage the gate check the hiker lots at night before closing the gate if they intend to, and lock accordingly. I've never heard of anyone being locked IN.

bikehikeskifish
05-24-2013, 07:54 AM
I've never heard of anyone being locked IN.

There were cars parked at the Unknown Pond TH on 13-Nov-2011 when I arrived to find the gate locked. A group was camping at Unknown Pond - including some well-known fools ;) Now it could be that this was entirely an odd coincidence and it could be that the group was OK being locked in.

I am certain it was locked - closed, and locked with a padlock. The guys who opened it came with keys and I watched them unlock it.

I believe Bryan and Jeremy were at the Mill Brook road TH recently.

Tim

TJsName
05-24-2013, 10:59 AM
Great info. That sounds good!

Will probably do the loop clock-wise and climb Cabot first I suppose. Then finish the hike with The Horns views and the Unknown Pond.

One other question.... Sounds like most of these trails are wet and has some water crossings? Any water crossings real difficult? Or are they pretty much rock hoppable?

Thanks

I've done this trail 3 times. August, December, and March.

March was awesome - it's a very nice winter hike since they plow the road right to the trail head, and you can get some shelter at the Cabin.
December was nice since the leaves were gone and there wasn't much water (and where there was was mostly frozen). Even then, the lower part of the Unknown Pond trail still had a lot of wetness (between the pond and the old railroad bed).
August was WET. The Bunnel notch trail was a swamp, although it looks like some trail work has been done in the past couple of years. With all the rain, this wouldn't be my first choice for a nice hike right now.

Don't forget the Cabot Spring spur if you are redlining!

Mike P.
05-24-2013, 12:30 PM
I prefer the Mill Brook approach when the road is open. (2x on Mill Brook, once on teh old trail when it was open, & twice from the Hatchery, failed to summit once from the Hatchery)

RoySwkr
05-24-2013, 01:50 PM
I have been to Cabot a dozen times and have used all 3 routes plus some bushwhack alternates

If you are the worrying type, the Stark route is the best in the summer but the road isn't plowed in the winter and there are gates that can be closed in mud season

If you are a fast hiker, doing the trip during posted gate hours at the fish hatchery is no big deal - the sign is left from when it was a Federal facility and the state workers start at 7 or 7:30 so the gate should be open earlier, it used to be that one guy liked to have a coffee and read the paper at work before his shift so the gate would be open at 6 am on days he was working

The Lancaster approach is the shortest and easiest but the bottom can be muddy, many people avoid it because they are afraid of being accosted but if you are a member of SASS and a supporter of the NH Stand Your Ground law it could be just your thing :-)

peakbagger
05-24-2013, 02:02 PM
Probably best not to drag in the Lancaster option, its just going to confuse most newer hikers.

DayTrip
05-24-2013, 04:52 PM
Good info. Thanks. From what I read in prior posts the gate sounded like a hit and miss proposition in the morning and I didn't want to get stuck waiting to get in. I do most of my hikes as day hikes from NE CT so I'm looking at 8 hrs of driving roundtrip before my boots even hit the trail. A delay getting in will make a long day even longer.

Generally I prefer the loop routes as well but a lot of the trail condition sites make the Bunnell Notch Trail sound like the footing is sort of rough, the trail has a lot of blowdowns, etc and it doesn't sound like a very interesting trail. So if Unknown Pond is a little shorter and/or more scenic I'd rather go out and back that way.

Weather looks iffy this weekend so I figured I'd try to do one with "less than amazing" views (based on AMC Guide sounds like The Horn is the only real spot to get good views of other mountains). Done 34 of the 48 since 4/30/12 so my ability to pick and choose is starting to dwindle. Looking to finish list by Labor Day so it looks like Cabot will be on the agenda this weekend.

TJsName
05-24-2013, 05:54 PM
The Horn is definitely the highlight of the trip. The next best place for easy unobstructed views is Bunnel Rock (on the maintained portion of the Mt. Cabot trail). The views from Unknown Pond are pretty amazing as well. Goodluck!

Breeze
05-24-2013, 06:56 PM
Weather looks iffy this weekend so I figured I'd try to do one with "less than amazing" views (based on AMC Guide sounds like The Horn is the only real spot to get good views of other mountains). Done 34 of the 48 since 4/30/12 so my ability to pick and choose is starting to dwindle. Looking to finish list by Labor Day so it looks like Cabot will be on the agenda this weekend.

" Iffy" is about the nicest thing you could say about the weather forecast this weekend. Some of the forecasts ( NECN for instance, Tim Kelly and Matt Noyes) have actually put this out:

http://www.necn.com/05/24/13/bTim-Kelley-bColdest-Memorial-Day-Weeken/landing_weathernewengland.html?blockID=841971&feedID=6239

Just saying.

Breeze

DayTrip
05-25-2013, 06:28 AM
" Iffy" is about the nicest thing you could say about the weather forecast this weekend. Some of the forecasts ( NECN for instance, Tim Kelly and Matt Noyes) have actually put this out:

http://www.necn.com/05/24/13/bTim-Kelley-bColdest-Memorial-Day-Weeken/landing_weathernewengland.html?blockID=841971&feedID=6239

Just saying.

Breeze

Crazy! Every time I look at the forecast it gets worse. Guess I'd better line up a back up hike in case they haven't plowed the roads when I get up there! :eek:

DayTrip
05-25-2013, 06:43 AM
Wonder what model NECN is using. Not even Mt Washington High Summits Forecast is forecasting accumulating snow for Sat/Sun. Looks like heavy rain North though. Have to see if I can find a good rainy day peak still on my list in Southern NH.

Breeze
05-25-2013, 05:31 PM
As far as plowing Rt 16, Pinkham Notch DOT depot summoned in staff today to rig the plow trucks for plowing and sanding their section of the Notch, roughly from Dana Place Inn to the Gorham town line. Hopefully, the Magic B Ball is wrong, but at least the DOT is prepared for any eventuality.

Breeze

DayTrip
05-26-2013, 07:23 PM
Quite a bit of snow in Franconia Notch AM. Almost looked like they had plowed. And the top of Waumbek had almost 8" this morning. What ever forecast model NECN used was right on the money! What a crazy day. Still about 2" on the ground at 1:30PM when I was driving home.

shamples
07-28-2013, 04:49 PM
Bumping this thread back up from when I first inquired about it back in May...

I am finally planning on Cabot sometime in the next 2 weeks for my #48

Still wondering about that gate... has the gate been pretty much open all summer? Is it something that even needs to be worried about this time of year? (August)

Still have to break out my map and look at those other alternative routes suggested here. That out and back may be better if drier, but for now, still thinking Bunnel Notch-Kilkenny Ridge Tr-Unknown Pond Tr for that triangular loop.

Maineman
07-28-2013, 05:39 PM
I was there Monday night at 11pm and the gate was open.

TJsName
07-30-2013, 06:18 PM
Done it 3 times in the past few years, I have arrived and left anywhere from 9am to 1am and never saw it closed.

Grey J
07-31-2013, 04:59 PM
When we did it two years ago, we left after hours and the gate was closed but not locked.

shamples
07-31-2013, 06:07 PM
Now I may change up my plans and do the hike from the northern approach of Stark. It sounds drier overall even though its an O&B and maybe a little more overall elevation since have to reclimb the Bulge to get out.

Anyone done that route from Stark and know if that road is open? and the map shows a gate towards the end of that Mill Brook Rd 0.8 miles away from the parking... is that gate open?

MichaelJ
07-31-2013, 06:36 PM
As of at least November 2011 the gate was actually gone (I didn't even see it) and you could drive to the trailhead.

Lefty E
07-31-2013, 06:48 PM
Yes as MichaelJ says...if you do it from Mill Brook Rd. and you have time, you really should continue to the site of the now gone fire tower and Cabot Cabin, at least to see the views, because the views from the Horn are somewhat blocked by Cabot (might as well enjoy it if you are up there)...and sometimes some folks have actually missed the spur to the Horn...ledge to get to the Horn's summit can be tricky too if slippery and you are solo...I once ran into a group of hikers near Mill Brook trailhead descending, asked me how much further to the York Pond parking lot....needless to say, when I told them they went the wrong way on the Unknown Pond Trail, panic set in...but my pickup was able to hold them all and got them back to York Pond....so when you come back down take a left (which I m sure you know!!)and don't forget the spur to the Cabot spring...!

shamples
08-01-2013, 04:32 PM
I know, tough one about Cabot Cabin... my original route was Bunnel Notch-Kilkenny-Unknown Pond trails loop from Berlin Fish hatchery, but SOOoooo many people have said how wet, muddy and grown in Bunnel Notch, that side of Unknown Pond and even York Pond trails are. And have heard mostly positive things about the Unknown Pond trail approach from Stark.

That O&B if turning point is Cabot is 5 miles each way and then the 0.3 each way to The Horn so round trip 10.6. For me that is enough for a day hike...

BUT...

I was wondering about extending it to Cabot Cabin and making that the turnaround point and wondering if that is really that much worth it to visit? Looking at the map, from Cabot, it's 0.4 down off Cabot? So an additional 0.8 plus re-climbing Cabot? Is it really something that shouldn't be missed? And why?

I know 0.8 isn't much, but overall it adds up towards the end of the day on the long walk back out. 10.6 sounds better than 11.4 LOL

Also is the Horn spur marked? Lefty E just said people miss it and walk right by? I remember Isolation was kind of like that, easily missable if not paying attention.

TJsName
08-01-2013, 04:56 PM
I know, tough one about Cabot Cabin... my original route was Bunnel Notch-Kilkenny-Unknown Pond trails loop from Berlin Fish hatchery, but SOOoooo many people have said how wet, muddy and grown in Bunnel Notch, that side of Unknown Pond and even York Pond trails are. And have heard mostly positive things about the Unknown Pond trail approach from Stark.

That O&B if turning point is Cabot is 5 miles each way and then the 0.3 each way to The Horn so round trip 10.6. For me that is enough for a day hike...

BUT...

I was wondering about extending it to Cabot Cabin and making that the turnaround point and wondering if that is really that much worth it to visit? Looking at the map, from Cabot, it's 0.4 down off Cabot? So an additional 0.8 plus re-climbing Cabot? Is it really something that shouldn't be missed? And why?

I know 0.8 isn't much, but overall it adds up towards the end of the day on the long walk back out. 10.6 sounds better than 11.4 LOL

Also is the Horn spur marked? Lefty E just said people miss it and walk right by? I remember Isolation was kind of like that, easily missable if not paying attention.

It's all about what time of year you climb it. I wouldn't go there now given how wet it has been. While some more work as been done on Bunnel Notch, it's still a swamp during the summer months. We did it in December and that was my best experience yet. We did the full loop including the Horn (which has a sign and is easy to follow). If you can wait for the ground to freeze but before the snow starts, that is the time to do it.

Kevin Rooney
08-01-2013, 06:11 PM
Shamples - this thread, which you started on May 22, now has 32 posts.

May I suggest - as tactly as I can - that YOU JUST GO TO THE FISH HATCHERY AND DO IT!!!!:D

And yes, the gate will be open, and it will be a little muddy (pack an extra pair of socks/sock liners and even a set of plastic bags to wear over the socks) but Cabot is a mellow hike.

It's not Everest. It's not Denali. It's Cabot. ;)

shamples
08-01-2013, 08:05 PM
I just like to have as much info as I can get before venturing out on hikes I haven't been before.

Yes, I started the thread in May, but I was more getting started just thinking about the hike back then and didn't have it in my immediate plans but was hoping to get to it by the end of summer. I was doing some southern peaks first like the Pack Monadnocks and then gearing up for a Wildcats traverse before I got to Cabot. So now here it is end of summer and Cabot is my final 48 and I am finally ready to really hike it, which is why I inquired again recently.

I love all the information and is much appreciated. I very well know it is not Everest or Denali smarta$$ LOL

Kevin Rooney
08-02-2013, 06:13 AM
...I love all the information and is much appreciated. I very well know it is not Everest or Denali smarta$$ LOL

Congrats in advance on finishing the list, and hope you have a fine hike. I was out in the Hancocks yesterday after being away for a couple of weeks and overall water levels are much more like mid-summer (lower) than they were a month ago.

Good luck -

IQuest
08-02-2013, 09:01 AM
FWIW, I feel that the approach from Stark along Unknown Pond Tr is more muddy than Bunnell Notch Tr or the descent along Unknown Pond Tr from the pond to the hatchery. I pefer the loop many times over to the in and out along the same route. Go clockwise and spend your extra time at The Horn or Unknown Pond. The cabin and summit of Cabot are anticlimatic in comparison.

peakbagger
08-02-2013, 09:46 AM
Mud and wet is a relative thing and only a minor annoyance that will not impact the trip. Don't let this prevent you from picking the best route which without a doubt is the loop up Bunnel Notch and then down Unknown Pond trail. The wet spot on Unknown Pond trail is the last 3/4 of a mile prior to the trailhead so you wont be walking in wet shoes for long. Bunnel notch trail used to be real wet but it has been improved substantially, I expect if you want to get wet you can but there are plenty of options to not get wet. The drive up the trailhead on the other end of the Unknown Pond trail is at least 20 to 25 minutes.

I would be far more concerned about following RT 110 through Berlin (the usual 1st time success rate of making it through without taking a wrong turn is about 30%) then parking on York Pond Road.