Dasher behind the metal stake marking the stream crossing (photo by Karl Searl)
Dasher behind the metal stake marking the stream crossing (photo by Karl Searl)

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:  Fall
Hike Date:  10/10/2009 (Saturday)  
Last Updated:  12/24/2013  
Weather:  55 degrees, cloudy
Author:  Karl Searl
Companions:  Jill, Matt, Steph, Scott, Danielle, and Dasher (a dog)

Danielle checking out the first engine (photo by Karl Searl)
Danielle checking out the first engine (photo by Karl Searl)

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.

Brook crossing on the B18 Crash Trail (photo by Karl Searl)
Brook crossing on the B18 Crash Trail (photo by Karl Searl)

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

Stay overnight in a tipi - Tipi Lodging


 







 

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


Trail Guide   

I am a War World II buff and also love hiking, so it is only natural that Fritz Wetherbee grabbed my attention one morning while I was driving to work. He was a guest on Greg and the Morning Buzz, and "told us the story" of a B18 Bomber that went down in the White Mountains. I did some research on this and found minimal information on it when compared to other trails and hikes that I have researched in New Hampshire.

However, HikeNewEngland.com had a great trail report and it convinced me to start planning my own trip to this destination. It took me a while to actually execute the plan due to the fact that most White Mountain literature and maps don't publish this trail info and that was a bit intimidating for me. So, I did what most people would do when they are intimidated, I invited my friends along for the hike to give me bit of confidence, so that if I did get lost, I would have company… sorry guys!

Hiking group with the flag at the crash site. Left-to-right are Karl, Jill, Steph, Scott, and Danielle with Dasher and Matt in front. (photo by Karl Searl)
Hiking group with the flag at the crash site (photo by Karl Searl)

We headed up to the Woodstock area, Mount Waternomee to be exact, which is part of Mount Moosilauke's Blue Ridge. I really thought, due to the lack of literature and publicity of the trail, it would be vacant and we wouldn't meet any other hiking groups. To our surprise, we went to pull into the parking area and it was full. We actually had to park on the side of the road.

Before getting to the trailhead, we had to walk down Walker Brook Road, which is closed to motorized vehicles, but is open to foot traffic (there is a gate and sign right off from Route 118 indicating this). After passing the gate, you immediately cross a bridge over Walker Brook. The hike down Walker Brook Road was about one mile and had very minor elevation gain. At the end of the dirt road, there is a small round opening, similar to an overgrown cul-de-sac. On the right side of this opening was a small cairn, which also had a propped up stick with orange surveyor tape. This was the marker indicating that we had reached the B18 Crash Trailhead.

First set of landing gear (photo by Karl Searl)
First set of landing gear (photo by Karl Searl)

The trail immediately enters the woods. It was easy to follow due to the generous amount of surveyor tape that someone had marked it with. However, if this tape had not been there, the trail would have been difficult to make out. Also, we knew that this portion paralleled Walker Brook to the crossing point (approximately 0.3 mile). Based on the previous trail reports on HikeNewEngland.com, we were extremely vigilant when looking for the crossing point, which was described to be marked with a metal post from the plane. Low and behold, our lead hiker (Matt and his dog Dasher) spotted this metal marker on the far side of the brook.

The brook was running quite heavily due to the rain showers we had received the night before and that morning. In order to cross at this point, we had to step on submerged rocks, which was a bit tricky with the running water, but we made it across with no injuries. A couple people in our party did decide to cross a bit farther up where there were some fallen trees that assisted them.

Rudder or wing flap hinge (photo by Karl Searl)
Rudder or wing flap hinge (photo by Karl Searl)

The trail paralleled the brook on this side for a bit and then climbed quite steeply up, over exposed roots and earth, while pulling away from the brook. This may be a good time to mention that fall is in full force and all parts of this trail were covered in wet leaves, which made the steep parts quite difficult. After climbing steeply for a bit, the trail leveled off and passed though a portion of woods with small-growth trees. It was almost as if this area had been logged ten or twenty years ago and was just starting to fill out again.

At the end of this level portion, there was a slightly restricted view of a very high waterfall. It was surprising to see such a beautiful sight and thinking there is no publicized trail that leads to it directly. Again, it had rained the night before, so I'm sure we hit this waterfall in its best state.

Waterfall seen through the trees from the B18 Crash Trail (photo by Karl Searl)
Waterfall seen through the trees from the B18 Crash Trail (photo by Karl Searl)

The trail started to climb steeply again and the grade did not let up all the way to our destination of the crash site. Some of the trail was a bit washed out and some portions were a bit flooded. At times it was hard to follow due to the leaves on the trail, but the surveyor tape always seemed to pop up at the right time and made it difficult to go off in the wrong direction.

Before we knew it, there was a giant bomber engine in front of us on the trail. Both engines are in this same small area and really seem out of place. Continuing up the trail twenty more feet, we found an American flag flying proudly on a small tree trunk and a nice plaque remembering those who went down with the plane.

Thirty or forty feet farther, we found ourselves in the middle of the wreckage field. Moving around this large area in the woods, we found large pieces of wreckage such as landing gear and wing pieces. One wing piece in particular still has the blue circle and star that our Army Air Corps planes sported back then. It was really an amazing sight and we were all very humbled by it.

Wing with the Army Air Corps white star on a blue background (photo by Karl Searl)
Wing with the Army Air Corps white star on a blue background (photo by Karl Searl)

After spending thirty minutes or so at the top and exploring the wreckage, we took one last deep breath of mountain air and headed back down. The trip down proved to be more difficult than the trip up due to the slippery leaves, but we were able to do it pretty quickly.

After the hike, we all grabbed a late lunch and a beer at the Woodstock Inn Brewery. It was really a great day hiking and probably one of my favorite trips yet. I need to give a shout out to my wife, Jill, and my good friends Matt, Steph, Scott and Danielle who made the trip awesome. Thanks guys!

I must end by saying to everyone who takes the time to visit this site to please remember that people lost their lives that cold night on Mount Waternomee in 1942. Visit the site, explore, and pay your respects, but please don't take, deface, or move any pieces of wreckage. Please give it the respect that it deserves.

Plaque at the B18 Bomber crash site (photo by Karl Searl)
Plaque at the B18 Bomber crash site (photo by Karl Searl)
 


Dasher and Matt peeking around a huge stump at the B18 crash site
(photo by Karl Searl)
Dasher and Matt peeking around a huge stump at the B18 crash site (photo by Karl Searl)






White Mountains elegant vacation rental
 


NH - Central West


 
Orange fungi growing on a log
(photo by Karl Searl)
Orange fungi growing on a log (photo by Karl Searl)
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   


Second set of landing gear (photo by Karl Searl)
Second set of landing gear (photo by Karl Searl)
 



White Mountains elegant vacation rental
 

Website by LeapfrogProgramming.com Logo LeapfrogProgramming.com


© 1998-2017
Page copy-protected against website content infringement by Copyscape
The information on this site may freely be used for personal purposes but may not be replicated on other websites or publications. If you want to reference some content on this site, please link to us.