Carroll County Highpoint Trip Report

Sandwich Mtn (3,980+ ft)

Date: July 16, 2005
Author: Roy Schweiker

topo chart

The Bennett Street Trail approaches Sandwich Mountain from the southeast and is one of the least-used routes up. There are a variety of potential loops with a one-way distance of from 3.9 to 8.8 miles, although all routes share the first half-mile and most the last half-mile. This is a good choice for those coming from the east, those wishing to avoid the WMNF parking fee, and those wishing to more thoroughly search for boundary lines.

The obscure road approach may help to keep visitation down. From the junction of US Route 3 and NH Route 25 in Meredith, it is about 16 miles to the west junction of NH Route 25 with NH Route 113. Turn left on NH Route 113, go 4 miles and turn right on NH Route 113-A. Go 3 miles to Whiteface Intervale Road and turn left, then turn left again after 0.1 mile on unsigned Bennett Street. This narrow paved road soon turns to gravel and at 1.8 miles turn left at the loop junction just before a bridge. The parking lot is 0.5 mile up this road which is a former logging road with grass growing in the center -- in snow or mud season it is likely to be impassable. The parking lot is on private land so no camping, fires, etc. are allowed. The Forest boundary is about half a mile up.

For all routes, continue walking up the logging road which is signed as the Flat Mountain Pond Trail. At 0.2 mile a side road right (the loop) crosses pedestrian Joses Bridge -- the long ago owner was English not Hispanic and this rhymes with doses. Half a mile from the parking lot, the Bennett Street Trail turns right and that is what I did. The Flat Mountain Pond Trail continues ahead for 0.6 mile then turns right on the grade of the old Beebe River logging railroad and heads for Flat Mountain Pond, crossing both the Gleason and Bennett Street Trails.

The Bennett Street Trail ascends gradually near the brook. After 0.6 mile, I turned left on the Gleason Trail which is the shortest route to the summit but not really any steeper. The Gleason Trail has faded yellow blazes as compared to blue on the Bennett Street Trail. After half a mile it crosses the Flat Mountain Pond Trail, then ascends on a combination of old woods roads and steeper connections. It rejoins the Bennett Street Trail at an intersection where some signs are missing but the map shows you turn left. This last half- mile section sort of angles around the peak with some narrow side-hill and a couple of rock slabs to scramble. I tried to watch for boundary line blazes but didn't see any. A t another unsigned junction, the summit is only 50 feet to the right. The official WODC distance this way up is 3.9 miles. The reputed elevation of Sandwich Mountain is 3993 and at one time people were building a large cairn to make it over 4000 feet but this has now been removed. There are several herd paths around the summit and I wandered around looking for boundary markers but never found any.

So where is the Carroll County high point? The town line separating Sandwich and Waterville Valley (also the county line) was established by the state legislature as a straight line about 10 miles long between two boundary markers, and using approximate coordinates for these markers, Edward Earl and Adam Helman have computed that the line should actually lie slightly north of the summit of Sandwich Mountain. Of course property lines in the middle of nowhere in the 1800s were not established that precisely and the actual boundary is anyone's guess. The USGS map shows the line slightly south of the summit near where the Bennett Street Trail comes up; in fact if the map is correct I would credit users of this trail with a CoHP but users of other trails would have to descend to reach it. Nobody has yet found any boundary markers near the summit for either the county line or earlier Forest Service lines -- the WMNF now owns the whole summit. Keep an eye out and you could be the first!

There are three other places where the Carroll County boundary crosses a slope that could be the CoHP depending on how accurately the boundary and the slope are plotted on the USGS map:

location 1     location 2     location 3

So far there are no reports of anyone attempting to visit any of them.

For those wanting a much longer hike, you can make the steep descent to Black Mountain Pond and return via the Guinea Pond Trail which is about 8.8 miles back to the parking lot. Instead I went back down the Bennett Street Trail but, instead of following it all the way down the brook, I turned right on the old railroad grade. This is half a mile longer but much more open. I was hoping for more breeze and fewer bugs but it seemed about the same. My hike was about 9 miles with 2800 feet of elevation gain but, as mentioned earlier, you can choose shorter or longer variations.