Glen Ellis Scenic Area Closure

vftt.org

Help Support vftt.org:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

B the Hiker

Well-known member
VFTT Supporter
Joined
Jan 31, 2008
Messages
1,178
Reaction score
135
Location
Middletown, CT
Forest Service News Release


The Glen Ellis Scenic Area located on Rt. 16 in Pinkham Notch, NH, will be closed for reconstruction and rehabilitation work beginning on October 10. The project is funded by the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), and fees collected through the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (REA). It is anticipated the site will be closed for approximately a year.

This popular, historic site offers a short hike to a dramatic 66-foot waterfall, picnicking opportunities, and is the starting point for the Glen Boulder and Wildcat hiking trails. Constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the site is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Many Forest visitors have personal connections to this site, with some going back generations, making it one of the oldest and most popular sites on the White Mountain National Forest.
Reconstruction and rehabilitation of the site will include relocating and improving the road and parking lots, the trail to the tunnel will be made accessible, the tunnel walls will be reconstructed, and a new toilet building installed.

We appreciate your patience during this much-needed renovation project.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.
 
So for a year, Glen Boulder will not be as practical an option for Isolation, unless you add half mile each way for diretissma trail. Maybe Boott spur from Pinkham to Isolation will become the default way to avoid Rocky Branch. I know a bunch of posters already suggest it by default.
Boott Spur is same milage as directissma but still more gain.
 
So for a year, Glen Boulder will not be as practical an option for Isolation, unless you add half mile each way for diretissma trail. Maybe Boott spur from Pinkham to Isolation will become the default way to avoid Rocky Branch. I know a bunch of posters already suggest it by default.
Boott Spur is same milage as directissma but still more gain.
I never understood Glen Boulder as a reasonable option for Isolation. Not sure why you'd want to climb a 1,000 ft+ more than you have to on a really rough trail, give up that gain and then reclimb an extra 1,000+ ft again to descend that rough trail to go back. Just to avoid river crossings? I love ascending or descending Glen Boulder for Slide Peak and the open views heading to Boott Spur. But to climb Isolation? Whatever floats your boat I guess. No thanks.
 
I have mixed feelings, Glen Boulder with a car spot at Rocky Branch is more work and inevitably loaded with blowdown but hard to beat the view in the AM.

BTW with the reported herd path and track forming for the former bushwhack west of Rocky Branch at the end of the Engine Hill bushwhack, the Rocky Branch route is even more tempting ;)
 
Last edited:
I have mixed feelings Glen Boulder with a car spot a Rocky Branch is more work and inevitably loaded with blowdown but hard to beat the view in the AM.

BTW with the reported herd path and track forming for the former bushwhack west of Rocky Branch at the end of the Engine Hill bushwhack, the Rocky Branch route it even more tempting ;)
It's funny this thread popped up. I have a friend who "needs" Isolation for her 48 4k's so I was refreshing my memory on the routes. Isolation is not one of my favorites.

I noticed on Gaia a "trail" that leaves Rocky Branch well below the Engine Hill Bushwhack (about 2950-2960 ft or so) and comes out at the 2nd river crossing. Is that a thing now? That 1st crossing where you pick up the Isolation trail is the one I remember as being a deal breaker in high water so I could see this being a useful herd path if it does in fact exist.

I was also curious if the Engine Hill bushwhack gets use in Summer/shoulder seasons and what kind of tread it has or doesn't have. I have yet to enjoy that huge birch glade everyone talks about thanks to my Winter "attempt" (debacle) there years ago and I've always wanted to head back in there and take another crack at it. My friend is not a Winter hiker though.
 
It's funny this thread popped up. I have a friend who "needs" Isolation for her 48 4k's so I was refreshing my memory on the routes. Isolation is not one of my favorites.

I noticed on Gaia a "trail" that leaves Rocky Branch well below the Engine Hill Bushwhack (about 2950-2960 ft or so) and comes out at the 2nd river crossing. Is that a thing now? That 1st crossing where you pick up the Isolation trail is the one I remember as being a deal breaker in high water so I could see this being a useful herd path if it does in fact exist.

I was also curious if the Engine Hill bushwhack gets use in Summer/shoulder seasons and what kind of tread it has or doesn't have. I have yet to enjoy that huge birch glade everyone talks about thanks to my Winter "attempt" (debacle) there years ago and I've always wanted to head back in there and take another crack at it. My friend is not a Winter hiker though.

I was just reading a trip report from someone who used the "bushwhacks" for Iso last month.
 
I never understood Glen Boulder as a reasonable option for Isolation. Not sure why you'd want to climb a 1,000 ft+ more than you have to on a really rough trail, give up that gain and then reclimb an extra 1,000+ ft again to descend that rough trail to go back. Just to avoid river crossings? I love ascending or descending Glen Boulder for Slide Peak and the open views heading to Boott Spur. But to climb Isolation? Whatever floats your boat I guess. No thanks.

I loved it for the views. So long as you can handle the climbing, it's a fun alternative to Rocky Branch. I think I went up Glen Boulder and then down Boott Spur.
 
I actually enjoy the view from Isolation, though the view from Davis is nearly the same but better. I can see the attraction of the Glen Boulder route for the journey, not the destination. For myself, and also because I like the journey, I prefer to hike the Davis Path from 302.
 
At the risk of hijacking the thread, another great route to Isolation is via the Ammonusic Ravine Trail from the base of the cog… or maybe an overnighter going up Rocky Branch from the south. I did that a couple weeks ago, staying at the Rocky Branch shelter, and it was terrific; didn’t see a soul until the top of Isolation!
 
At the risk of hijacking the thread, another great route to Isolation is via the Ammonusic Ravine Trail from the base of the cog…
Which is how I did it. Up ART, (add in a detour to Monroe), a bit of the Crawford Path, then the Camel Trail over to the Davis Path and back. A nice dayhike.

Besides, the drive from the Boston area was shorter than approaching via Rte 16...

Doug
 
The route up from Dry River used to be nice one but the major washouts on both the Dry River Trail and the Mt Isolation Trail (west) has added a lot more challenge to that route.
 
I loved it for the views. So long as you can handle the climbing, it's a fun alternative to Rocky Branch. I think I went up Glen Boulder and then down Boott Spur.
Oh I love that route. It's a fantastic trail and I usually do some sort of loop involving it 2-3 times a year. I just don't consider it an option for Isolation.
 
The route up from Dry River used to be nice one but the major washouts on both the Dry River Trail and the Mt Isolation Trail (west) has added a lot more challenge to that route.
My favorite Isolation trip was all the way up Rocky Branch from the South Trailhead, Isolation and back via Davis Path and Stairs Col Trail. Did it on a hot Summer day and it was awesome. I believe it was like 20 miles.
 
I have many 4k ascents, yet I have a short list of one-time ascents. Isolation is on that list. I find it to be more of a shoulder then a peak and while its "view" is certainly nice, none of the routes that go to it have any redeeming qualities to make me want to walk that far. Simply put, there are much more worthwhile walks in that area that outshine Isolation. My one ascent was made via the Dry River valley and the Isolation west trail, this was pre-Irene when the valley and trails were much more user friendly. I spent three days in the valley and ate fish every day that the Dry River provided. To me, the best route to the peak now would be via the Davis path, which I never spent time on until I found the 52wav list, now I absolutely love that area. With my background and history of hiking in the Whites, I have been often asked why I never pursued the "grid", short answer, I do not climb mountains I don't care for. Even on the 52wav list, there is one peak I do not like and always climb a de-listed peak in its place.
 
I have many 4k ascents, yet I have a short list of one-time ascents. Isolation is on that list. I find it to be more of a shoulder then a peak and while its "view" is certainly nice, none of the routes that go to it have any redeeming qualities to make me want to walk that far. Simply put, there are much more worthwhile walks in that area that outshine Isolation. My one ascent was made via the Dry River valley and the Isolation west trail, this was pre-Irene when the valley and trails were much more user friendly. I spent three days in the valley and ate fish every day that the Dry River provided. To me, the best route to the peak now would be via the Davis path, which I never spent time on until I found the 52wav list, now I absolutely love that area. With my background and history of hiking in the Whites, I have been often asked why I never pursued the "grid", short answer, I do not climb mountains I don't care for. Even on the 52wav list, there is one peak I do not like and always climb a de-listed peak in its place.
I've done Isolation 3 times and it is nowhere near the top of my favorites list either. I prefer Mt Davis in that area. Better (but comparable) views to Isolation and way less people.

I have done quite a few trips on the Davis Path. There are some dreary sections between Stairs Mtn and Mt Davis but I do like the remoteness of that area. I don't think I would ever grid the NH 4k's either. Many forgettable peaks on that list in my opinion. I hike for views and scenery whether that is spectacular above tree line hiking, steep and rugged ascents or just moss covered magical forests. I've found of late that there are quite a few 2,500 to 3,500 ft mountains I much prefer to many peaks on lists.
 
I have many 4k ascents, yet I have a short list of one-time ascents. Isolation is on that list.
Agreed, although I didn't have a list. Isolation was a one-time ascent until sometime in 2012 when I did a traverse from Washington to Rt-302 on the Davis Path. Prior to that, I had only done it once in 1968 as part of a 3 day trip. We stayed at Resolution Shelter the first night, then at the Isolation Shelter the following night. If you compare maps when the shelter was still there to the present, you will see how they not only removed the shelter, but also relocated the trails.
 
Last edited:
I was also curious if the Engine Hill bushwhack gets use in Summer/shoulder seasons and what kind of tread it has or doesn't have. I have yet to enjoy that huge birch glade everyone talks about thanks to my Winter "attempt" (debacle) there years ago and I've always wanted to head back in there and take another crack at it. My friend is not a Winter hiker though.

I've got know idea what's going on with this "new" bushwhack. It doesn't look like it's going to take you through the magnificent glades. The traditional bushwhack is to go in at the height of land and head NW on the 3200' contour. I've done it in winter, summer and fall. In summer when the ground cover (mostly ferns) is lush, it's difficult. You can't see your feet and walk you're walking into. Just not worth it that time of year. Once your into fall and that stuff starts dying off, it's much better and obviously in winter that's a non issue. I go in those glades, just to go in those glades. :cool:Untitled_Panorama1.jpg
 
Last edited:
I've done Isolation 3 times and it is nowhere near the top of my favorites list either. I prefer Mt Davis in that area. Better (but comparable) views to Isolation and way less people.

I have done quite a few trips on the Davis Path. There are some dreary sections between Stairs Mtn and Mt Davis but I do like the remoteness of that area. I don't think I would ever grid the NH 4k's either. Many forgettable peaks on that list in my opinion. I hike for views and scenery whether that is spectacular above tree line hiking, steep and rugged ascents or just moss covered magical forests. I've found of late that there are quite a few 2,500 to 3,500 ft mountains I much prefer to many peaks on lists.
I've often found your trips to be quite impressive, you do have an eye for prime real estate. I'll tell you, I just love the 52wav peaks. There is a rich variety of big and small peaks and they take you to all regions of the mountains. One day I'm in Orford, the next day I'm in Gorham, I like that.
 
These are my recent Isolation trips via various bushwacks. I don't recommend them unless frozen or a least very dry.
The engine hill is well known but different every season. It's tempting to go too low but higher is drier.
The new/old Iso express is less used. Its very easy to hit some swampy secrions in there and hear the river but be unable to get there without backtracking.
Glen Boulder is fun and dry almost all summer. But I tend to balk at exiting that way, even when I plan to.
Screenshot_20231012_160754_Gaia GPS.jpg
 
Top