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View Full Version : Hiking the Baldfaces this weekend



Mongoose
06-12-2015, 07:38 AM
It's been over 10 years since I've done the Baldfaces so I'm a little fuzzy on details. We're supposed to hike it tomorrow morning and the weather is saying a chance of rain. My concern is how difficult the ledges will be for a fairly new hiker and two dogs? If it's too difficult I'm thinking we could hike the northern part of the loop and then backtrack down, or bypass the ledges using the Slippery Brook trail but that would add extra miles.

Also what's the difference between the Bicknell Ridge trail and Baldface Circle trail? They pretty much parallel each other.

JustJoe
06-12-2015, 07:50 AM
It's been over 10 years since I've done the Baldfaces so I'm a little fuzzy on details. We're supposed to hike it tomorrow morning and the weather is saying a chance of rain. My concern is how difficult the ledges will be for a fairly new hiker and two dogs? If it's too difficult I'm thinking we could hike the northern part of the loop and then backtrack down, or bypass the ledges using the Slippery Brook trail but that would add extra miles.

I'd definitely avoid the ledge scrambles if they're wet. Slippery Brook to Baldface knob Tr. is what I'd do. Then continue on Baldface Circle from there. Plus. Baldface Knob is worth the visit.


Also what's the difference between the Bicknell Ridge trail and Baldface Circle trail? They pretty much parallel each other.

The difference between night and day. Use Bicknell Ridge. Much, much better IMO.

Grey J
06-12-2015, 12:09 PM
I'd definitely avoid the ledge scrambles if they're wet. Slippery Brook to Baldface knob Tr. is what I'd do. Then continue on Baldface Circle from there. Plus. Baldface Knob is worth the visit.



The difference between night and day. Use Bicknell Ridge. Much, much better IMO.

Keep this info coming. This hike has been on my wish list for awhile and I'm planning to do the loop including Baldface Knob and Eagle Crag on the edges. Gonna save it for a day with blue skies.

TJsName
06-12-2015, 12:30 PM
Keep this info coming. This hike has been on my wish list for awhile and I'm planning to do the loop including Baldface Knob and Eagle Crag on the edges. Gonna save it for a day with blue skies.

This is quite a beautiful fall hike, but still a big day since I think you start near sea level :rolleyes:. Lots of hardwoods on the trail. The ledges up South are definitely dicey when damp/wet, but we made it up them. The first ledge is probably the toughest. Descending them would be harder. I'd probably use the same level of caution applied to the North Tri slide.

Mongoose
06-12-2015, 12:34 PM
It sounds like we should go up the north side first, up Bicknell Ridge. Then go to North Baldface. If we're feeling really good we'll continue to Baldface Knob and down Slippery Brook. If not, then we'll backtrack down the northern Baldface Circle trail.

Grey J
06-12-2015, 12:43 PM
This is quite a beautiful fall hike, but still a big day since I think you start near sea level :rolleyes:. Lots of hardwoods on the trail. The ledges up South are definitely dicey when damp/wet, but we made it up them. The first ledge is probably the toughest. Descending them would be harder. I'd probably use the same level of caution applied to the North Tri slide.

Thanks TJ. I will probably do it late summer/early fall, most likely too soon for foliage though. I was thinking of ascending via Slippery Brook Trail then going over Baldface Knob, South and North Baldface in succession and turning around at Eagle Crag. I was going to descend via Baldface Circle Trail but Joe has me thinking that Bicknell Ridge Trail might be the better option. I have this estimated at roughly 11 miles and 3650 feet of elevation gain. Yup the trailhead is pretty low at 520 feet. And the Emerald Pool sounds like a nice spot to cool off at the finish. Looking forward to it.

JustJoe
06-12-2015, 04:20 PM
It sounds like we should go up the north side first, up Bicknell Ridge. Then go to North Baldface. If we're feeling really good we'll continue to Baldface Knob and down Slippery Brook. If not, then we'll backtrack down the northern Baldface Circle trail.

Just an FYI. Continuing past N.Baldface counter-clockwise, You still have some sketchy, if wet, ledge to contend with descending form North on the Circle trail.
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-hzFgfvl0n0c/VXtLJJ5vWzI/AAAAAAABErc/1CvmRmAOxcE/s800/The%252520Baldfaces%2525209-7-09%252520054.jpg

Grey J
06-13-2015, 06:43 PM
Great photo. That looks exciting. Joe, is that spot just below the Baldface Circle Trail/Meader Trail junction coming down off the ridge on the Circle Trail? Your quote "continuing past N Baldface counter-clockwise" has me confused. Doesn't that put you between N & S Baldface? Or is that where it is? Thanks.

JustJoe
06-13-2015, 07:03 PM
Great photo. That looks exciting. Joe, is that spot just below the Baldface Circle Trail/Meader Trail junction coming down off the ridge on the Circle Trail? Your quote "continuing past N Baldface counter-clockwise" has me confused. Doesn't that put you between N & S Baldface? Or is that where it is? Thanks.

This is roughly the spot where that, that photo is of. You'd have to descend that if going counter-clockwise. It could be a little tricky if wet.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Nh0eMVonTAw/VXzC9td3DpI/AAAAAAABErs/LjAHSbIK39U/s800/NBF.JPG

Grey J
06-14-2015, 07:33 AM
Thanks for the clarification. I did not realize that the approach to N Baldface from S Baldface would include such a steep section. Its good to be prepared. My route would have me ascending in that spot doing the loop clockwise. I originally planned to go clockwise on Baldface Circle Trail but after reading multiple posts here, I'll probably ascend Slippery Brook and descend via Bicknell Ridge. This looks like one of the best hikes in NH outside of the 48.

Dana
08-18-2015, 09:40 PM
I'm thinking of doing this hike with my daughter this fall around Columbus day (the only time she has off as she's a teacher). Looks like I'd like to go clockwise via Slippery Brook and back Bicknell Ridge, with maybe a side trip to Eagle Crag. Questions: Where exactly is Emerald Pool? It's not on the maps I have at hand. And camping spots? I'm debating between backpacking all the way, and camping between South and North Baldface (I've seen a reference about a campsite in the pines in the col), or camping down below where the Baldface Circle trail joins itself (near Emerald Pool?) and doing the peaks as a dayhike. Our usual approach is to drive up the night before and hike a short distance in the dark and crash for an early start the next morning, and/or camp not far from the trailhead on the last night for an easy hike out before driving home.

DayTrip
08-19-2015, 08:01 PM
JustJoe is all over this one. I'd just add that the ledges on South Bald Face if you take the actual Baldface Circle Trail are very awkwardly angled and have numerous 3-4' step ups onto these awkward angled ledges. All I could think about going up was how bad it would suck if they were wet. Definitely a good call to avoid on a wet day, especially with new hikers and dogs. And the cone of North Bald Face has numerous scrambles on both sides and lots of open ledge walking (that is not as steep - along the lines of South Moat/Middle Moat as a comparison) and slick under wet/muddy boots. You won't plummet to your death but you'll fall on your ass!

And regarding the dogs, keep in mind that a substantial portion of this loop is on rocks and ledge and can be very hard on the paws. When I did last year I passed several dogs that looked like they were in rough shape, including one whose nails were bleeding pretty badly. I don''t remember much water along the way either which can be tough with dogs.

Mike P.
08-23-2015, 03:31 PM
Nice to see you back here Mongoose, loved your pictures back in the old days.