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Bethlehem, New Hampshire, United States
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09 April 2015

A Snowshoe Trek to Little Mt. Deception via an Abandoned Trail

One upon a time, there was a network of maintained hiking trails in the Dartmouth Range that led to destinations such as Little Mount Deception (about 2,450 ft), and its "bigger brother" Mount Deception (about 3,670 ft).  By the 1950's these trails were abandoned.  They were casualties of the devastating 1938 Hurricane and the loss of manpower during World War II.  It's unfortunate that hiking trails no longer grace this scenic corner of the White Mountain National Forest.

However, there is still one faint holdover from those glory days before the abandonment of trails in the Dartmouth Range.  Off the east side of Old Cherry Mountain Road (sort of midway between Campsites #3 and #4), one can barely discern the faded corridor of an old trail leading to Little Mt. Deception.

During the snow-free months, you can see evidence that this old trail still receives some use.  Probably, there are occasional hikers like me who use it.  Also, it seems fairly certain that it's sometimes used by hunters.  Although rare, I have seen spent shell casings along the corridor.  Also, from time to time, flagging tape has been spotted in some of the trailside trees.  I'd like to think this is the work of hunters, rather than hikers.

On a day in early April I decided to do a trek to Little Mt. Deception via this old abandoned trail.  Snowshoes were used since there was still a considerable snowpack.  I've traveled this route many times, and so it was relatively easy to follow the corridor despite the many opportunities to go astray through the open hardwoods on either side of the pathway.
My snowshoe tracks en route to Little Mt. Deception
On the final approach to Little Mt. Deception, the abandoned trail suddenly changes from a rough unmaintained corridor to a well-defined pathway.  This short segment has become part of a private trail that is maintained by folks at an RV campground at the base of the mountain.
Final approach to Little Mt. Deception
The views from the ledge on Little Mt. Deception were stunning, as always.  Particularly nice are the views looking toward the Presidential Range.
Presidential Range as viewed from ledge on Little Mt. Deception
In addition to the vistas of the Presidential Range, there is also an impressive view looking up at Mt. Deception from the ledge on Little Mt. Deception.
Looking up at Mt. Deception from the ledge on Little Mt. Deception
It should also be mentioned that en route to this old abandoned trail to Little Cherry Mountain, you travel for a short distance along the Old Cherry Mountain Road.  During the winter months, this corridor is closed to vehicular traffic and becomes a snowmobile trail. And so, you need to park at the point where the road is gated, and then walk for a few tenths of a mile to reach the old trail.

Regardless of whether you're driving the road during warm weather months, or walking it during winter months, you will pass by a structure known as the Fabyan Guard Cabin.  The cabin, dating back to 1923, is the oldest structure built by the Forest Service within the White Mountain National Forest.  (Click HERE to read more about this cabin.
Fabyan Guard Cabin (Dates back to 1923, and is the oldest structure built by the Forest Service within the White Mountain National Forest.)
And lastly, as mentioned at the top of this report, despite the early April date, there was still an impressive ground cover of snow, so much so that the local Nordic centers were still able to groom their trail systems.  I took advantage of this situation by cross-country skiing for a few hours prior to embarking on the trek to Little Mt. Deception.  I love "twofer" days like this when I can ski and hike on the same day!
One of groomed trails skied prior to doing hike to Little Mt. Deception
To sum it up, this was a very enjoyable April day spent snowshoeing and XC-skiing at locations close to my home in northern New Hampshire!  Although the winter season will soon end, I'll eagerly await its return next year.


1) You might also be interested in reading a similar report about a hike to Mt. Little Deception that I posted to this Blog in March 2011.  (Click HERE to read that report.)

2) Please note that at the top of each of my blogs there are two search tools that can be helpful in locating a particular topic.  One is an icon labeled "CLICK HERE FOR A LIST OF ALL MY BLOG REPORTS".  And located above that icon is a search box that enables you to search my entire collection of blog postings for specific words and word combinations.