About Me

My photo
Bethlehem, New Hampshire, United States
E-mail contact: | Facebook:

Text Above Search Box


10 August 2019

A Trek to the Cliffs on Eastern Slope of Mt. Clough


Many folks do a loop hike over Mt. Moosilauke using the Tunnel Brook Trail, Glencliff Trail and Benton Trail.  But on this particular day, my objective wasn't to do a loop hike.  Instead, my simple goal was to hike a portion of the Tunnel Brook Trail and do a short bushwhack up the eastern slope of Mt. Clough to what I call the "Cliffs of Clough".😃

(As most locals know, the pronunciation of Mt. Clough rhymes with words like "rough" or "enough".)

The Tunnel Brook Trail runs through the deep valley between Mt. Moosilauke and Mt. Clough.  As indicated in Steve Smith's book (Ponds & Lakes of the White Mountains), up until the 1920s there was an automobile route through this notch which served to connect the New Hampshire communities of Benton and Easton with the Glencliff/Warren area.  Considering all the ponds and bogs that are now present here, you'd expect that the road was closed due to flooding from beaver activity.  But apparently, landslides were the main reason that this roadway was closed and never reopened!  I would assume that these landslides originated from Mt. Clough, given the unstable nature of the landscape on its eastern slopes where the “Cliffs of Clough” are located.


And lastly, shown below is a map, and here’s the reason why I opted to including it in my posting.  Tunnel Brook Road (located on the WEST side of the brook) was permanently closed to vehicular traffic in 2011 due to extensive damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene.  As a result, hikers now must park at the junction of Tunnel Stream Road and Tunnel Brook Road and walk over 2 miles along the once-drivable road to access the northern terminus of the Tunnel Brook Trail.

So, considering the above, imagine my surprise when I encountered a guy in a pickup truck upon my arrival at the Tunnel Brook Trailhead!  As it turns out, the guy is a logging company employee who had driven in on a logging road.  He informed me that two previously-unconnected segments of logging roads that run parallel to Tunnel Brook Road (on the EAST side of the brook) are now connected.  Currently, this road has a locked gate at both ends.  But I wonder if someday, once logging operations are complete, this road MIGHT be made available to the public?  It would surely be nice to once again be able to drive to the Tunnel Brook Trailhead.😃


One Day in America said...

Interesting post, John. I'm surprised that the road wasn't fixed after Hurricane Irene. But in a way, it's nice that the land was given a "break" for 8 years!
The cliffs of Clough look very unstable. Did you hike over them? I could see another ACL tear waiting to happen.
The wild blueberries were an added bonus to this hike! They look great.

I just returned from a trip to Crater Lake National Park and next week I'm headed back to PA. Hopefully I'll get another post published sometime in the next month!

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Rita,

By the time Hurricane Irene reached New Hampshire, it had been downgraded to a tropical storm. HOWEVER, even at that, it managed to do a lot of damage. In fact, the damage to Tunnel Brook Road was so severe that it is anticipated that it will never be reopened to vehicular traffic. At high water, the northern end of the road is now basically a part of Tunnel Brook.

Regarding your question as to whether I hiked over the “Cliffs of Clough”, no I did not. The cliffs were my only destination for that particular day.