Up Beaver Brook, down Benton

A gorgeous late-autumn hike to my favorite mountain.

Beaver Brook cascades, on Mount Moosilauke.

There are days when it becomes essential to set aside the to-do list and head outside, and today was one of them: an unusually warm and sunny day for the end of October, an opportunity to climb (again) my favorite mountain, Mount Moosilauke, via an atypical route.

Early this morning I headed north along the Connecticut River, through dense fog that swirled across the dormant corn fields and around the white churches of New Hampshire towns, only to climb out of the fog and into brilliant sunshine as I turned east toward the White Mountains. I met my friend Lelia at the Tunnel Brook trailhead on the northwest side of Mount Moosilauke, and we shuttled a car to the Beaver Brook trailhead high in Kinsman Notch. All the fall foliage was gone, but the crisp blue skies beckoned us to climb.

We climbed steeply but steadily, stopping to enjoy the many cascades of Beaver Brook. Last fall I spent many enjoyable hours here – a bit earlier in October, when the foliage was still in full color – trying to capture photographs of these impressive cascades (see blog and photos). They were just as entrancing today.

Lelia pauses by Beaver Brook cascades, on Mount Moosilauke.

We climbed up past the junction to the Asquam Ridge Trail, and met the Benton Trail close to the summit. From there it was a sunny, warm walk through the grassy slopes of the alpine zone to the summit, where we were treated to exceptionally clear views of the White Mountains to the east and the Green Mountains to the west.

Incredible views from the summit of Mount Moosilauke.

The car-spot allowed us to head down the Benton Trail, avoiding the steep and slippery descent of Beaver Brook, through hardwood forests along the ridge between Tunnel Brook and Little Tunnel Brook. An outlook gave us great views of the Little Tunnel Brook Ravine – a trailless region I have yet to explore.

Little Tunnel Brook Ravine, from an overlook on the Benton Trail, Mount Moosilauke.

Check out the full gallery of today’s photos.

Hike stats:
Distance: 13.08km
Time: 6h04
Gain: 895m

Author: dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, husband, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

One thought on “Up Beaver Brook, down Benton”

  1. Hi Dave, I took the same route last year around the time of Freshman Trip, as I met a group of students climbing up Benton while I was descending. I too had no wish to descend Beaver Brook, but it was a long road walk back from Tunnel Brook trailhead to my car at Kinsman Notch!

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