Trail Distance: 8.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 2600'
Terrain Rating: Moderate
Hike In: 9AM
Hike Out: 2:15PM
Trailhead: Route 49 Near Waterville Valley. Google maps here. About 2 hours from Boston
Route: Sandwich Mountain Trail to Drake's Brook Trail loop
Sandwich Dome is on the NH 52 with a view list. It misses the 4000 footers list by a couple feet, but it's still a very popular hike. The trailhead is only 2 hours from Boston, which makes it one of the easiest hikes in the Whites to get to. There are also 2 other peak stops, Noon Peak and Jennings Peak, which make for nice breaks. Because it was shoulder season, we didn't expect too many views, and we were right. It was completely covered at the summit!
This hike was with the Appalachian Mountain Club Young Member's group of Boston. I really enjoyed the new faces. Everyone was fantastic company! The hike started in the rain. There was one stream crossing on Sandwich Mountain Trail which was quite slippery. A few people slipped here, but no wet boots. Hiking poles came in handy. From there, the ascent started out gradual until it picked up to Jennings Peak at the 2.8 mile mark. The terrain was moderate, with some rocks and roots and only a little bit of scrambling. The foliage started disappearing after Jennings Peak.
There is a short 0.2 spur to Jennings Peak, well worth it in my opinion. After the spur, it is another 1.1 miles until you reach the summit of Sandwich Dome. There are multiple ways up, so the trails converge here at the summit. At the top, we stopped for some lunch but quickly got moving again so we wouldn't cool off completely.
To get to Drake's Brook Trail, head back on the 1.1 mile trail until you reach the junction again. This time, go right for Drake's Brook Trail and enjoy your 3.2 mile hike back. Drake's Brook is a lot more gradual and less rocky than Sandwich Mountain Trail. We flew down and were back to the parking lot in no time. There was another stream crossing here that was quite tricky. We had one pair of wet boots this time.
- 2L of water
- 3 bars, 1 sandwich
- Salmon X ULTRA MID 2 hiking boots
- Fjallraven pants
- The North Face HypVent 2.5
- Nike baselayer, Icebreaker tshirt
- Beanie, gloves
- Extra clothes packed away: extra baselayer, Patagonia down jacket
- Emergency Gear: Map & GPS, Headlamp, reduced First-Aid Kit, Swiss Army Knife