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Landslides in the White Mountains

Northwest Hancock Slide
Hancock Slide between North Hancock and Northwest Hancock

Slides, short for landslides, are common landscape features in the White Mountains and Adirondacks. These landslips occur when heavy rainfall weakens the soil on higher angle slopes, letting loose a slurry of water, mud, and boulders, that barrel down the hill like a derailed freight train destroying everything in its path.

Slides can be quite dangerous to hike over because the rocks and soil remain unstable long after they fall. But they can provide useful shortcuts for off-trail hikers willing to climb up or down them because they can eliminate miles of trail hiking or battling brush. 

Trail builders also make use of slides to extend the trail system. For example, all of the following trails in the White Mountains were “built” on landslides.

  • Flume Slide Trail
  • Mt Washington Headwall (Great Gulf Trail)
  • Owls Head Path
  • Mt Tripyramid Trail – South Slide
  • Mt Tripyramid Trail – North Slide

There are even a few trails in the White Mountains that cross slides:

  • Wildcat Ridge Trail below Mt Wildcat (A peak)
  • Mt Osceola Trail below East Osceola Mountain

Here are some more pictures of White Mountain Slides. It’s amazing how many you begin to see when you look for them.

Landslides
Mount Guyot  and South Twin Slides
Slides on West Bond Mountain
Slides on West Bond Mountain
Mt Lafayette Slide
Mt Lincoln Slide
Slide on Mt Lafayette Facing Eagle Cliff in Franconia Notch
Slide on Mt Lafayette Facing Eagle Cliff in Franconia Notch
South Tripyramid Slide
South Tripyramid Slide
Arrow Slide, Mt Hancock
Arrow Slide, south face of Mt Hancock

10 comments

  1. You forgot the best slide of all….Adam’s Slide

    • I did that out of safety concerns. That slide/trail has been closed by the forest service due to safety concerns.

      • When I was on it I felt it was considerably safer than King’s ravine. The upper sections are all boulder field unlike the loose rocks in King’s. Those loose rocks caused me significant problems(climbers knocking down big ones). Never felt like that on Adams

        I thought the primary reason it was closed was due to lack of popularity and difficulty to maintain.

  2. Here in the Dallas area we have the I30 dirt slump… which actually was written up in a geology text book about 50 years ago.

  3. I was hiking in the Swiss Alps when I had my 1st experience climbing a land slides. It was very unsettling and I was hardly an experienced hiker at the time. I remember thinking, “In America, they would never make people do this”

    I was very naive, as I’ve hiked over and around a half dozen landslides in the states since that point.

  4. Earnst Tinaja is a beautiful hike into a desert canyon in Big Bend National Park. About forty years ago, we hiked it and then decided to do it again the next day. Overnight, a large chunk of canyon wall had fallen. Over the years, we’ve watched that scar slowly heal and the rubble pile incrementally become grown over to merge into the canyon floor.

  5. Slides are a great way to see the forest from new perspectives. The slides above Redrock ravine are a good example.

  6. Philip – Have you heard of the Devil’s Marbleyard in Central Virginia?

    http://virginiatrailguide.com/2012/05/13/the-devils-marbleyard/

    Great hike – the AT connects at the top of the mountain.

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