Bluebead lily in fruit (photo by Webmaster)
Bluebead lily in fruit (photo by Webmaster)


Slippery Brook Trail (photo by Webmaster)
Slippery Brook Trail (photo by Webmaster)


Mushroom and moss (photo by Webmaster)
Mushroom and moss (photo by Webmaster)

Eastman Mtn. and Emerald Pool

Destinations:  Eastman Mtn. (2939'), Emerald Pool (700')
Trails:  Slippery Brook Trail, Baldface Circle Trail, Emerald Pool Spur
Region:  NH - Central East  
White Mountain National Forest, Baldface Range
Location:  Chatham, NH
Rating:  Easy/Moderate  
Features:  Summit, views, brooks, cascades, pool
Distance:  9.3 miles  
Elevation Gain:  1570 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Actual: 5:10   Typical: 5:15  
Outing Duration:  Actual: 6:55   Typical: 7:30  
Season:  Summer
Hike Date:  09/13/2009 (Sunday)  
Last Updated:  09/19/2009  
Weather:  60-65 degrees, breezy at the summit
Author:  Webmaster
Companion:  Chip

View north from the summit of Eastman Mountain (photo by Webmaster)
View north from the summit of Eastman Mountain (photo by Webmaster)

Route Summary   

This is point-to-point hike to Eastman Mountain and Emerald Pool, mostly by way of Slippery Brook Trail. The summit of Eastman Mountain offers lots of great views of mountains both near and far.

Ascent of Eastman Mountain:
  • Start on Slippery Brook Trail at the end of Slippery Brook Road. The route follows logging roads for the first 2.2 miles.
  • Walk for 2.0 miles on an almost-level logging road which will bring you to a junction.
  • The logging road continues straight ahead while another one leaves to the left. You need to turn left here. There is a small arrow to the left of the main road on the far side of where the other road takes off.
  • Walk for 0.2 mile on this logging road that is a bit overgrown.
  • Toad (photo by Webmaster)
    Toad (photo by Webmaster)
  • At an obvious arrow sign, turn right onto a woods path, leaving the logging road behind.
  • Hike for 1.8 miles, up an easy/moderate footpath. The trail is faint in places, yet hard to lose.
  • You will then arrive at an obvious 4-way trail junction that is well signed. To the right is Eastman Mountain Trail, bearing right is the continuation of Slippery Brook Trail, and bearing left is the start of Bald Knob Trail. For now, turn right onto Eastman Mountain Trail.
  • Walk for 0.8 mile, first gently downhill, then moderately uphill through some rock scrambles which will bring you to the summit of Eastman Mountain. There are occasional yellow blazes on this trail and a few cairns as you get closer to the top.

Descent and Emerald Pool:
  • After enjoying the views, retrace your steps back down to the 4-way intersection. At the summit, look for the cairns to guide you back down to the path which is somewhat obscured by conifers.
  • Back at the 4-way junction coming off of Eastman Mountain Trail, make a sharp right to continue on Slippery Brook Trail.
  • Hike downhill for 2.6 miles until reaching the end of Slippery Brook Trail where it meets Baldface Circle Trail. This part of Slippery Brook Trail has yellow blazes – marked more prominently as you descend. You will cross several brooks. At about the fifth crossing, you should bear left where an old trail goes straight. There is a double blaze to alert you to the change and the left-hand trail is clearly marked with yellow paint. Later, the trail goes by a stone wall and then turns right across the wall just before reaching a very muddy section.
  • At the junction with Baldface Circle Trail, bear right/straight; the left-hand leg leads up to South Baldface.
  • Walk for 0.2 mile which will bring you to Circle Junction. This is where Baldface Circle Trail splits. Going left would lead to North Baldface and the right-hand leg leads to the parking area on Route 113. Straight ahead is the spur for Emerald Pool.
  • For now, go straight onto Emerald Pool Spur.
  • Walk for 0.1 mile which will bring you to a beautiful pool with sparkling, green water, nestled at the foot of a short narrow gorge.
  • When you have finished enjoying the area, retrace your steps for 0.1 mile back to Circle Junction.
  • Turn left onto Baldface Circle Trail and walk for 0.7 mile to reach Route 113.
  • Once at the end of the trail, cross the street, turn right, and walk for about 60 yards to reach the parking area on the left.

Emerald Pool (photo by Webmaster)
Emerald Pool (photo by Webmaster)

Place         Split
Miles
     Total
Miles
     Split
Time
     Total
Time
    
Slippery Brook Trailhead on Slippery Brook Rd. (1610') 0.0 0.0 0:00 0:00
Jct. of 2 logging roads on Slippery Brook Trail (1950') 2.0 2.0 0:48 0:48
Jct. logging road and footpath on Slippery Brook Trail (1950') 0.2 2.2 0:06 0:54
Jct. Slippery Brook Trail / Eastman Mountain Trail (2650') 1.8 4.0 1:10 2:04
Eastman Mtn. summit (2939') 0.8 4.8 0:35 2:39
Jct. Slippery Brook Trail / Eastman Mountain Trail (2650') 0.8 5.6 0:25 3:04
Jct. Slippery Brook Trail / Baldface Circle Trail (800') 2.6 8.2 1:34 4:38
Circle Junction (720') 0.2 8.4 0:05 4:43
Emerald Pool (700') 0.1 8.5 0:03 4:46
Circle Junction (720') 0.1 8.6 0:03 4:49
Baldface Circle Trailhead on Rt. 113 (520') 0.7 9.3 0:21 5:10

Stay overnight in a tipi - Tipi Lodging


Slippery Brook Trail
(photo by Webmaster)
Slippery Brook Trail (photo by Webmaster)



Pyxie Cups
(photo by Webmaster)
Pyxie Cups (photo by Webmaster)
 

Trail map of hike route to Eastman Mtn. and Emerald Pool via Slippery Brook Trail (map by Webmaster)

 




Dried heal-all plant (photo by Webmaster)
Dried heal-all plant (photo by Webmaster)



Hobblebush berries (photo by Webmaster)
Hobblebush berries (photo by Webmaster)

Yellow fungi
(photo by Webmaster)
Yellow fungi (photo by Webmaster)


Partridgeberry leaves (photo by Webmaster)
Partridgeberry leaves (photo by Webmaster)

Slippery Brook Trail (photo by Webmaster)
Slippery Brook Trail (photo by Webmaster)

  Trail Guide   

Due to a recent ailment, I was looking for an easy hike to provide mountain views and a satisfying day outdoors. This nine-mile hike to Eastman Mountain and Emerald Pool fit the bill perfectly. It encompassed easy to easy/moderate grades through interesting woods, to a summit with great views, and finally to the enchanting, and aptly named, Emerald Pool.

This was a point-to-point hike and we started out at the Slippery Brook Trailhead which is found at the end of Slippery Brook Road. There is even a Slippery Brook that parallels the first three miles of the hike, but unfortunately it was too far off to be either seen or heard from the trail.

Since this is a long trip report, I've divided it into sections:

Ascent    |    Eastman Mountain Summit    |    Descent and Emerald Pool


Frog on Slippery Brook Trail (photo by Webmaster)
Frog on Slippery Brook Trail (photo by Webmaster)

Ascent   

The first couple of miles were on a logging road, with the incline so negligent that it appeared to be level. The noticeable elevation changes on this road were in the form of a series of berms and ditches, making an otherwise navigable road impassable to vehicles. Most of the ditches were totally dry but some had a small trickle of water flowing through. We found a frog here that dutifully posed for a photograph.

Goldenrod and pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea) were in bloom. Moss and creeping snowberry (Gaultheria hispidula) were growing low to the ground and all sorts of neat-looking mushrooms were frequent throughout the day's hike. Heal-all (Prunella vulgaris) was in fruit and its leaves were brown. The "fruit" of this plant looks much like a dried-out version of its flower – instead of a spike of violet petals, it appears to have brown scales making it look similar to a pine cone. In between the scales are prominent hairy bracts.

Some early fall color along Slippery Brook Trail (photo by Webmaster)
Some early fall color along Slippery Brook Trail (photo by Webmaster)

After a couple miles, the logging road branched with a small arrow directing us to the left. After a short walk on this more overgrown road, another sign directed us right onto a woods path. Here is where we left the smooth footing and nearly-level grades behind in trade for a rooty footway and a path that climbed at an easy/moderate rate.

Although faint and overgrown at times, the trail was pretty easy to follow in spite of there not being any blazes. We saw many toads and a lot of moose scat along the way. We also saw some fairy stools which are low mushrooms with a nearly flat top colored with concentric circles of brown, orange, yellow, and cinnamon. There were some black globs next to the "live" mushrooms that I think must have been old fairy stools. We walked by several pink lady's slipper plants (Cypripedium acaule) that were in fruit – instead of a pink orchid, a brown, ribbed hull appeared at the tip of the stems. Hobblebush (Viburnum lantanoides) was plentiful and sporting red berries. A few maple trees were starting to show their fall colors and some spherical yellow fungi brightened an old tree trunk.

Moss and creeping snowberry (photo by Webmaster)
Moss and creeping snowberry (photo by Webmaster)

We ascended easily through varying woods – at times mostly hardwoods and at other points beneath conifers with an open understory. Bluebead lily (Clintonia borealis) was boasting its uniquely beautiful, but inedible, berries and the leaves of the many wild sarsaparilla plants (Aralia nudicaulis) were yellow with just veins of green.

Four miles from the trailhead, we reached a well-signed four-way trail junction. It was like being back in civilization to have worded signs instead of simple arrows, and the later paths that we would travel on even had trail blazes. But first, we took a break at this pretty opening, sitting to relax before beginning the climb up the spur to Eastman Mountain.

Well, the beginning of the 0.8-mile Eastman Mountain Trail actually went gently downhill for quite a ways before starting the climb. This spur was occasionally blazed in yellow and we gained elevation quickly through a series of rock scrambles. Beautiful rich-green moss and pale-green lichen were plentiful. We soon reached a small ledge with obstructed views to South Baldface and Sable Mountain. The grade eased for a bit, and then there was one final moderate pitch to be tackled before emerging on the rocky summit with scattered conifers presenting a delightful landscape.

The summit of Eastman Mountain (photo by Webmaster)
The summit of Eastman Mountain (photo by Webmaster)

Eastman Mountain Summit   

As the AMC White Mountain Guide reported, Eastman's summit had "rewarding views in most directions." There were plenty of trees on the peak, but by walking around over ledgy footways and rocky outcrops, you could indeed obtain 360-degree views – piece by piece that is. Although many of the views were best seen from a standing position, there were also several places where you could sit down and still enjoy good vistas.

South Baldface, with large areas of open ledge was the most prominent peak standing out to the northwest. In between South Baldface and Eastman Mountain was Baldface Knob. Although it's nearly the same elevation as Eastman, it looked small and insignificant resting nearly 600 feet lower than South Baldface.

Looking north we could see mountains that were probably Mount Meader and West and East Royce Mountains, although we weren't sure which were which. Very nearby to the west were Sable and Chandler Mountains.

View of South Baldface from Eastman's summit (photo by Webmaster)
View of South Baldface from Eastman's summit (photo by Webmaster)

In an easterly direction, we could identify a few features in Maine: the prominent hump of Mount Tom with Lovewell Pond in front of it, and the sprawling Pleasant Mountain fronted by Pleasant Pond. We were familiar with these mountains from recent hikes we had each done to Peary Mountain in Brownfield, Maine.

Immediately south was the nearby, totally wooded Round Mountain. Farther south was an endless array of mountains, including one that looked to be Mount Chocurua and way off to the west, I thought I spotted Cannon Mountain. The views were quite impressive considering the day was somewhat hazy. The sun was peaking in and out and there was a large cloudbank that looked ominous in spite of a few patches of blue elsewhere in the sky. The wind picked up and it started to very lightly sprinkle so we took that as our cue to move along.

Pleasant Mountain with Pleasant Pond in front of it (photo by Webmaster)
Pleasant Mountain with Pleasant Pond in front of it (photo by Webmaster)

Descent and Emerald Pool   

We quickly retraced our steps on Eastman Mountain Trail arriving back at the four-way junction. Here, we continued our trek on Slippery Brook Trail. The path started out narrow with growth squeezing in from both sides. We proceeded steadily downhill on a well-graded path that started out as moderate and eased progressively as we descended. There were even a few short flat sections interspersed. Part way down, we started spotting yellow blazes that became more frequent and fresher as we descended.

Looking downstream at the gorge just above Emerald Pool (photo by Webmaster)
Looking downstream at the gorge just above Emerald Pool (photo by Webmaster)
After about a mile into the descent, we could hear a brook rushing through the woods, although it was a while longer before it finally came into view. It was a fairly small waterway making a lot of a noise. We ran alongside it for only about a tenth of a mile and then we crossed it. Soon another brook made an appearance, and another, and another. We crossed over five streams, all of them easy crossings.

Near some of the streams were many hardy patridgeberry plants (Mitchella repens) growing much larger than I'm accustomed to seeing them. This is a creeping evergreen plant which usually has tiny leaves and stays close to the ground; but these plants were growing erect about five inches tall with leaves that were about three-quarters of an inch long. In a few spots, I also noticed unusually large wintergreen plants (Gaultheria procumbens).

We next arrived at a junction with Baldface Circle Trail where the 6.6-mile Slippery Brook Trail finally ends. And just five minutes beyond that, we arrived at Circle Junction where Baldface Circle Trail splits and the spur to Emerald Pool can be found.

We headed to Emerald Pool on an easy trail with Charles Brook soon coming into view on the left. Although it looked it inviting, we kept following the trail to find the real prize: Emerald Pool. At first we reached a rocky ledge that overlooked a pool that had green tinted water. The stream pushed through a short, narrow gorge before emptying into this delightful pool. Downstream, the brook spread out to cover a wide area with many rocks popping out above the surface.

Continuing along, we reached the shore of the pool were there were intriguing views up the gorge. With Chip advising, I made my out on some stepping stones to the middle of the stream in order to get a good view of the gorge, cascade, and pool all at once. The pool was really inviting and appeared to be about ten feet deep. I vowed to come back on a 90-degree day to do some swimming. The pool is not really large enough to do laps, but there is plenty of room to move around and enjoy the spectacular setting.

We reluctantly left the pool to return to Baldface Circle Trail. From there it was an easy, nearly level walk out to Route 113 where we had earlier spotted a car. While on the trail hemlock needles were raining down on us, and at the parking lot, it was pine needles that piled up on the windshield. It was a great day full of wonderful scenery over mostly easy terrain.

The green waters of Emerald Pool (photo by Webmaster)
The green waters of Emerald Pool (photo by Webmaster)
 
Fairy stools
(photo by Webmaster)
Fairy stools (photo by Webmaster)

Slippery Brook Trail
(photo by Webmaster)
Slippery Brook Trail (photo by Webmaster)


Mushroom
(photo by Webmaster)
Mushroom (photo by Webmaster)

Mushroom and clubmoss (photo by Webmaster)
Mushroom and clubmoss (photo by Webmaster)

Mushrooms
(photo by Webmaster)
Mushrooms (photo by Webmaster)

Dried fruit of a pink lady's slipper flower
(photo by Webmaster)
Dried fruit of a pink lady's slipper flower (photo by Webmaster)

Rock scramble on Eastman Mountain Trail
(photo by Webmaster)
Rock scramble on Eastman Mountain Trail (photo by Webmaster)

Fallen maple leaf resting on hobblebush leaves
(photo by Webmaster)
Fallen maple leaf resting on hobblebush leaves (photo by Webmaster)

Mushroom
(photo by Webmaster)
Mushroom (photo by Webmaster)

White Mountains elegant vacation rental
 


NH - Central East


  Driving Directions   

This is a point-to-point hike starting at Slippery Brook Trail and ending at Baldface Circle Trail, both in Chatham, New Hampshire. You should spot a car (or otherwise arrange for transportation) at the Baldface Circle parking area, then drive to the Slippery Brook trailhead where the hike will begin. Note that the driving time between trailheads is about 45 minutes.

To the Baldface Circle parking area:

From the North:
  • From Rt. 2 in Gilead, Maine, turn south onto Rt. 113.
  • Travel on Rt. 113 South for about 13.1 miles.
  • Then turn into a parking area on the left.

Pearly everlasting flowers (photo by Webmaster)
Pearly everlasting flowers (photo by Webmaster)
From the South:
  • From Rt. 16 in Conway, New Hampshire, pick up Rt. 113 North.
  • Follow Rt. 113 North, turning left in Fryeburg, Maine where Routes 113 and 302 split.
  • From the junction of Routes 113 and 302 in Fryeburg, travel on Rt. 113 North for approximately 17.9 miles.
  • Then turn into a parking area on the right.

From Baldface Circle parking area to the Slippery Brook Trailhead:
  • Exit the Baldface Circle parking area and turn left onto Rt. 113 South.
  • Travel for about 8.7 miles, then turn right onto South Chatham Street.
  • Follow the road for about 5.2 miles, then turn right onto Hurricane Mountain Road.
  • Follow Hurricane Mountain Road (a narrow, winding, climbing route) for approximately 6 miles until it ends upon meeting the combined Routes 16 and 302.
  • Turn right onto the combined Routes 16 North and 302 West, then just 0.2 mile later, turn right onto Rt. 16A.
  • Travel on 16A for 1.8 miles, then turn right onto Town Hall Road.
  • Follow Town Hall Road for 2.4 miles and bear left where the pavement ends.
  • Continue for another 3.2 miles then bear right where another road goes off to the left.
  • After another 1.3 miles, you will reach the end of the road (which somewhere along the way became Slippery Brook Road) at a gate. There is parking along the sides of the road.
  • Slippery Brook Trail is the logging road on the other side of the gate.

Winter:
  • The northern part of Rt. 113 is not maintained for winter use, so any approach to the Baldface Circle parking area would have to be from the south.
  • Hurricane Mountain Road is closed in the winter, so you'd have to get over to Rt. 16A by taking Rt. 113 South all the way to Rt. 302 and 16.
  • The first half of Town Hall Road / Slippery Brook Road (3.5 miles) is plowed but the last half is used by snowmobiles.

Facilities   

Bathrooms at the Baldface Circle parking area.
 
Eastman Mountain Trail
(photo by Webmaster)
Eastman Mountain Trail (photo by Webmaster)


 
Chandler Mountain (left) and Sable Mountain (right) as seen from the summit of Eastman Mountain (photo by Webmaster)
Chandler Mountain (left) and Sable Mountain (right) as seen from the summit of Eastman Mountain (photo by Webmaster)
 

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