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Trail Conditions

Trip Log


Mt. Garfield
Bethlehem, NH, Franconia, NH

Trailheads, measurements, times, distances, and maps are all approximate and relative to the hike(s) as shown below.
The old snowmobile trail leading to the Garfield Trail
The old snowmobile trail leading to the Garfield Trail

Route: Beaver Brook Ski Trail, Connector Trail, Gale River Road, logging road, old snowmobile trail, bushwhack, Garfield Trail, Garfield Ridge Trail, (Mt. Garfield), Garfield Ridge Trail, Garfield Trail, bushwhack, old snowmobile trail, logging road, Gale River Road, Connector Trail, Beaver Brook Ski Trail

With Gale River Road still closed for the "winter" and the western end still haven't two washed out bridges (over troubled water), I opted to approach Garfield from the Beaver Brook parking area.

After walking the western Beaver Brook ski trail to Gale River Road, I continued the roadwalk (no snow or mud - would have been nice to drive!) past the Gale River Trail trailhead, around some curves, and eventually to a straightaway. Halfway across the straightaway (and about 5 minutes past campsite 8), I took a left onto a gated logging road (I could have accessed an old snowmobile trail prior to this, however it appeared to have a lot of blowdowns, whereas this logging road was in fairly good shape). I climbed this to its height of land, where it forked. I went right at the fork (left dead ends in a logging landing) and followed the road to its end, which is a field with some small spruce trees. At the bottom of the field, I followed a herd path for about 25 feet to an old snowmobile trail. Taking a left onto this yellow blazed trail, I followed it for about a dozen minutes, eventually reaching the Garfield Trail between its two main crossings. Seeing that the upper of these two (Strong Brook) was running high, I continued west on the snowmobile trail over another bridge, then bushwhacked uphill along the shore of the brook for about 4 minutes (very open woods), rejoining the Garfield Trail on the other side of the brook.

From here, I had snow-free trail for perhaps another mile or so, before donning snowshoes for the balance of the hike to the summit. Nearing the Garfield Ridge Trail, snow depths were likely 4-5 feet - a vast difference to the bare woods down below.

Reaching the summit, I had excellent views in all directions with nice weather - warm temperatures, sunshine, and a moderate breeze. Thusly, I had to lounge around the summit for awhile.

The descent went smoothly, though the roadwalk dragged on a bit. Surprisingly, I made it back to the parking lot without seeing any hikers.

Hike Ratings
Getting To Trailhead: Difficult
Destination: Mt. Garfield
Length: Moderate
Steepness: Difficult
Navigation: Difficult
Views: Excellent
Crowds: Minimal

Hike Stats
Date Hiked: Sunday, April 4, 2010
Hike Commenced: 9:06 AM
Parking Elevation: 1,420'
Destination: Mt. Garfield
Ascent Commenced: 9:49 AM
Summit Reached: 12:32 PM
Time Elapsed: 02:43
Trailhead Elevation: 1,650'
Summit Elevation: 4,500'
Vertical Gain: 3,060'
Hike Ended: 4:22 PM
Hike Time Elapsed: 07:16
Hike Vertical Gain: 3,570'

The beginning of the logging road off Gale River Road
The beginning of the logging road off Gale River Road

Looking down the Garfield Ridge Trail
Looking down the Garfield Ridge Trail

Looking at North and South Twin Mountain from Mt. Garfield - Click to enlarge
Looking at North and South Twin Mountain from Mt. Garfield

Topographic map of Mt. Garfield - Click to enlarge

Directions to trailhead: Take US 3 South from US 302. In early spring 2010, Gale River Road was still seasonally closed and two of the west end bridges still washed out. One could park at Beaver Brook parking lot (left off US 3 after Twin Mountain), take the rightmost Beaver Brook XC Ski Trail to the Gale River Road connector, then walk west down Gale River Road, past the Gale River Trail trailhead. After some twists and turns, Gale River Road has a long straight stretch. Halfway down this stretch, there is a gated woods road on the left, which can be used to access the Garfield Trail.

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