Mt. Waternomee B18 Bomber Crash Site

Destination:  Mt. Waternomee B18 Bomber Crash Site (2535')
Trails:  Walker Brook Road, B18 Crash Trail
Region:  NH - Central West  
White Mountain National Forest, Moosilauke Region
Location:  Woodstock, NH
Rating:  Moderate  
Features:  Plane crash site, brooks, waterfall
Distance:  6.0 miles  
Elevation Gain:  1585 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Typical: 3:50  
Outing Duration:  Typical: 5:15  
Season:  Summer
Hike Date:  08/23/2008 (Saturday)  
Last Updated:  12/24/2013  
Weather:  Mostly sunny
Author:  Burt Hemp

Route Summary   

This hike starts on Walker Brook Road, and then follows the unmaintained B18 Crash Trail part way up Mount Waternomee to the place where a Douglas B18-A bomber plane crashed in 1942. Remnants of the plane as well as two plaques are located at this site.

  • Walk past the gate and continue walking along Walker Brook Road for 1.4 miles until it ends at a circular field.
  • Turn right onto a trail that should be marked with a small cairn and/or surveyor's ribbon. This turn is at about the one o'clock position when you enter the field; or northwest if you prefer to use a compass.
  • Walk for about 0.3 mile, then cross the brook (a tributary to Walker Brook) at a point where there is a metal stake with survey ribbon on the far side of the stream.
  • You are now 1.3 miles away from the wreckage site. You will first parallel the stream, and then climb some, and then the trail levels out for a bit. At the end of this level area, be on the lookout for a tall waterfall that will only be partially visible through the woods. Then climb steeply up the trail, the rest of the way to the crash site.
  • Be sure to keep walking in order to see all the plane remnants. You will first encounter the engines, then two memorial plaques mounted on boulders, and the wings will be farther up.
  • After exploring, retrace your footsteps to return to your vehicle.

Place         Split
Miles
     Total
Miles
Gate at Walker Brook Road (1210') 0.0 0.0
Jct. Walker Brook Road/B18 Crash Trail 1.4 1.4
B18 Bomber Crash Site (2795') 1.6 3.0
Jct. Walker Brook Road/B18 Crash Trail 1.6 4.6
Gate at Walker Brook Road (1210') 1.4 6.0

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Map of hike route to the B18 Bomber crash site on Mt. Waternomee (map by Webmaster)


Trail Guide   

In January of 1942, a B18 Bomber crashed on Mount Waternomee in a snowstorm after getting lost from a mission along the North Atlantic. The bomber crashed at about 2500 feet elevation and the parts are still there to see. The majority of parts are not really identifiable, but the two engines, the wings and part of the fuselage are clearly identifiable.

You will need to walk on Walker Brook Road for about a mile to an open field. This is the end of Walker Brook Road. There is a small cairn with a stick on the right-hand side (at about the 1 o'clock position when you enter the field) that indicates where the trail begins.

You will need to follow this trail along Walker Brook for about 0.3 mile or so. This is the tricky part as you need to gauge where you will need to cross the brook - you will need to keep looking across for trails that continue on the other side. The first time I did this I found a stick, which looked like it was part of the metal from the B18 and we ended up crossing there. The second time I took the hike, I missed this point and went farther than I should have, and ended up crossing farther up the brook. There are surveyor's markers along the trail, but the trail is not well defined here, so it is important to keep a lookout for crossing points.

My son Doug looking at the wing (photo by Burt Hemp)
My son Doug looking at the wing (photo by Burt Hemp)

Once you have crossed the brook, the trail will parallel the brook on the other side (south side) for a short distance and then becomes quite steep for about 0.3 mile. At this point the trail is now well defined and clearly marked with surveyor's tape at regular intervals.

The trail levels off a bit and then starts up relatively steep again and continues this way until you get to the crash site. The GPS coordinates provided by Mark Malnati in a previous post were very helpful.

Along the way, there was a wonderful waterfall at about the halfway point on your right going up. It can be seen through the woods but it is quite a ways downhill. I've included a photo of this looking through the woods. Since this summer has been so wet, the waterfall was flowing quite heavily.

When you get to the crash site you are essentially in the middle of the debris field. There are a lot of metal pieces that are not identifiable, but the engines and wings are quite clear. The wings are about 50 yards farther up from where the engines are, so don't make the same mistake that I did on the first hike and stop at the engines and the parts below, but go about 50 yards farther up and you will see the wings and what seems to be part of the fuselage.

There is a plaque with the names of those that were on board and someone has put an American flag near it.

B18 Bomber engine (photo by Burt Hemp)
B18 Bomber engine (photo by Burt Hemp)

The amount of time to get to the crash site is depending how aggressive you are. The first time I did this it took us about two hours. The second time it took about an hour and a half. Both times we spent about 30-40 minutes at the crash site before heading back down.

The trail is not well traveled but it is clear that it is a trail. During both hikes, we only met one other couple that was hiking up when we were coming down.
 


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NH - Central West


  Driving Directions   

Access to the trail is in Woodstock, New Hampshire.

From I-93
  • Take exit 32 for Rt. 112 (also known as Kangcamagus Highway).
  • Go west on Rt. 112 for approximately 3 miles.
  • Turn left onto Rt. 118 South and follow it for 0.8 mile to arrive at Walker Brook Road on the right where there is a small parking area.
  • Walker Brook Road is gated about 100 feet or so from Rt. 118.
  • This hike starts on the road beyond the gate.

Other Notes   

Read about the B18 crash and rescue story.

More Mt. Waternomee B18 Bomber Crash Site Trail Reports   


Big waterfall (photo by Burt Hemp)
Big waterfall (photo by Burt Hemp)
 


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