View Full Version : Looking for local knowledge: Pemi/Owl's Head

07-24-2013, 06:43 PM
I'd been thinking about a day trip to Owl's Head next week, and this trail closure has me reconsidering. Now I'm thinking about a 2-day trip, maybe staying at 13 Falls and since its been a while since I've been in the area I'm looking for a little local knowledge. Can't beat it, can't buy it!

Now I'm thinking about walking in via East Side Trail, wading across the river, and heading up Franconia Brook or maybe making a full day of it and going around via the Bonds and Galehead. Is that crossing pretty doable (right now the flow at Lincoln is about 500 CFS) somewhere before or near Bondcliff Trail? I don't mind getting wet but am going to be solo, and don't really relish the idea of getting my fifteen minutes of fame for this ;-)

Is the 13 Falls site likely to be full on a weeknight? I passed by there a week or so after Irene, and was surprised to see the place just about full at 9 AM, so I'm a little concerned...

How's the Lincoln Brook Trail southbound? I've heard it's really slow, wet, and hard to follow. If that's true then maybe this isn't such a great idea. On the other hand I do like a bit of fun every now and again. Any other wicked bitchin' routes I should consider, besides the whack up the slide? The ridge NW of the summit, from the height-of-land on LB at about 3200' looks interesting, but then again what looks like fun on a USGS map doesn't necessarily translate to fun on the ground.

Anything else I'm overlooking? Or any other cool ideas?

Thanks in advance for any ideas/input!

Becca M
07-24-2013, 08:01 PM
In the past, when I've been past the 13 Falls area in summer (weekday), there have been camps that take kids there - it can be very loud and non-peaceful if you are OK with that... just something to think about - I ended up finding other camping spots away from that area.

In general, in the loop around Owl's Head, the northern half of the trail can be crappy/wet/many bypasses. Not too hard to follow when there's no snow on the ground, but, the blazes *are* fading and sometimes it just looks like a mess. Did that loop around OH last year and wasn't all that much fun.

As far as bushwhacking, there are old grown in skidder roads on the north side near the heigh-of-land, but, I haven't seen them myself. I have bushwhacked down north of the slide down to the trail just west of the mountain - pretty open. If you google bushwack routes, you can find info on the "Brutus Bushwhack" - a common winter route but it's south of the slide area.

07-24-2013, 09:15 PM
I suspect that 13 Falls will see less use during the trail closure than under normal conditions.

Don't forget that you can also get to 13 Falls from the North by going over the ridge at Galehead Hut.

It would be longer than the direct route via Lincoln Brook Tr, but one can also get to the base of the slide from 13 Falls by heading around the S end of Owl's head using Franconia Brook Tr.

One can also bushwack up the NNW ridge of Owls head (I BC skied it many years ago) or up the East side.


07-24-2013, 10:05 PM
Lincoln Brook trail has had a fair bit of careful manitenance (by me) over the last three summers but route finding skill are required. It is still a little bit of an adventure but it no longer deserves the rep it once had.

The height of land is the toughest part but it is easier to follow going north to south. The herd paths north of the OH slide can be confusing.

500CFS is a very good limit for crossing at the old suspension bridge. I think slightly upstream of the abutments [?? 50 yards ??] is realy good.

A bushwhack from the south end of Thoreau Falls to the end of the "old" wilderness trail is an option too.

07-25-2013, 09:50 AM
I'd been thinking about a day trip to Owl's Head next week, and this trail closure has me reconsidering.

The others gave good advice regarding other options, but if you are looking at a day trip next week, the trail (Lincoln Woods) should still be open. Unless they actually start this on time (ha!) at the very early end of their estimate ("early to mid August").