Trail: Mt. Tecumseh Trail
Hours: 3:30 hiking; 4:15 total
July 15, 2018
Mt. Tecumseh is the baby among the 4,000-footers with a whopping height of 4,003’! Mt. Tecumseh is part of Waterville Valley, so if you have ever skied to snowboarded there, you were on Mt. Tecumseh! Which brings me to my next point- you can either descend Mt. Tecumseh on the trail or on the ski trails. We will get into more detail later.
NOTE: Even though Mt. Tecumseh is the smallest 4,000-footer, the trail gains about 2,200 feet of elevation in 2.5 miles, so expect some steep sections. Mt Tecumseh Trail is the shortest and easiest trail to the summit. This trailhead is located in the Waterville Valley ski area. Park in lot #1 because it is the closest to the trailhead.
Alex and I started our adventure at 9:30 AM on a VERY humid July day. It felt as if we were swimming through the air (#gross). I was sweating after the 10-foot walk from the car to the trail. The first mile was a walk in the park with a gradual incline and great footing. It was mostly dirt with some rocks, but nothing that would make your climb difficult. It was the perfect warm-up for what was to come. There was a small ledge after about a mile that gave us views of the ski slopes.
After we admired the grassy ski slopes, we returned to the trail and got ready for some fun!! The next mile of the trail was a consistent, steep incline. This was the most difficult part. The trail consisted of a rock staircase, which provided great footing for the steep incline. However, the staircase seemed relentless and never-ending! My advice- don’t look up. Keep looking down at your feet and continue the mile-long journey up the staircase. We had buns of steel after this hike to Mt. Tecumseh!
After we conquered the never-ending staircase, we came to an intersection. We could go down either path of the Mt. Tecumseh Trail since both lead to the summit, and both were the same distance. We choose to go left and were rewarded with a few rock scrambles! Nothing too difficult, but our butts were yelling at us to stop. Once we pushed a little more, we reached the summit of Mt. Tecumseh! The summit was mostly wooded except for one side which provides beautiful views of the northeastern section of the White Mountains! We arrived at Mt. Tecumseh’s summit around 11:00 AM and spent 45 minutes enjoying our lunch and chatting with some fellow hikers.
We met someone who was six hikes away from finishing the 4,000-footers! Obviously, I asked him a million questions about some of our future hikes. We also met an awesome couple with a beautiful dog (who I pet the entire time we were at the summit). The guy told us he and his 8-year-old dog conquered the 4,000-footers in SIX MONTHS. Like… okay… way to put everyone else to shame! The woman then proceeded to one-up her boyfriend and told us how she was on the Appalachian Trail for over 500 miles including the 100-mile wilderness! For those of you who aren’t familiar with the 100-mile wilderness, it is a section of the Appalachian Trail in Maine where you are pretty much stuck on the trail. It does not have easy access to a town, so you are on that trail until the 100 miles is over lol. I loved meeting people on trails and hearing their stories!
After I was done applauding the couple for their adventures, Alex and I began our descent. So here is the thing, you can either descend Mt. Tecumseh back the way you came OR take Sosman Trail to the ski slopes and descend that way. We opted for the slopes because we were told it offered an amazing view. However, I wish someone told us that the ski slope would be SO STEEP that we couldn’t walk slow. I’m serious. We could not walk at a normal pace even if we tried. We ended up running side to side down the Mt. Tecumseh as if we were on skis. We were running over rocks, plants, and more tall plants. At every semi-flat part, we stopped, caught our breath, and drooled over the view. Don’t get me wrong, the view was absolutely breathtaking, but at times I was too nervous about my footing to enjoy it. One wrong move would send us tumbling down this ski slope. We made good time with our descent and beat our ascent time by 30 minutes! We were in our car by 1:45 PM.
I suggest taking Sosman Trail to the slopes to enjoy the view, but if you don’t want to run down a ski slope, I would suggest going back down Mt. Tecumseh Trail. If you do decide to venture down the slopes, be prepared. One would think it would be easier, but dang, it is steep! Either way, this was a great hike!
Have you hiked Mt. Tecumseh? Which trail did you take down the mountain?