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Sachem Peak and the Smarts Brook Trail

Sachem Peak is a trailless mountain on the Acteon Ridge near Sandwich Dome
Sachem Peak is a trailless mountain on the Acteon Ridge near Sandwich Dome

Sachem Peak is a trailless mountain near Sandwich Dome noted for its rocky visage and open summit ledges. Located on Acteon Ridge just below Jennings Peak, it’s a moderately easy bushwhack from the Smarts Brook Trail which climbs Sandwich Dome from the west.

Sachem Peak is the north side of Sandwich Dome along the same ridge as Jennings Peak
Sachem Peak is the north side of Sandwich Dome along the same ridge as Jennings Peak (click for an interactive map on Caltopo.com)

The walk from Rt 49 up the Smarts Brook Trail is also quite pleasant and scenic as it runs along the self-named brook, a high gradient stream with numerous cascades, chutes, and picturesque gorges. Reading the droll trail description in the White Mountain Guide, you’d never know what wonders lie in store along this trail, not to mention the epic swimming holes along its lower reaches.

Smarts Brook Swimming Hole
Smarts Brook Swimming Hole

When planning this bushwhack, I decided to leave the Smarts Brook Trail at 2400 feet and aim for the eastern end of Sachem Peak in the saddle between it and Jennings Peak. I had to drop down to 2320 feet to find an open lane around dense spruce before I crossed several small streams heading north towards the peak. Soon I was surrounded by enormous erratics, which must have broken off the peak and tumbled downhill. I threaded my way through the maze they created, and eventually found open woods which I followed up to 2720 feet. This was the easy part.

The front of Sachem Peak visible through the trees from about 3000'
The front of Sachem Peak visible through the trees from about 3000′

Since the south side of Sachem is a cliff, I needed to loop around the peak and find a route up the back. It was steep and wet, and thick going in spots, but I eventually found a route (brute force was required) to the summit ledge. When I popped out on top, I was amazed by the 360 degree view with Jennings Peak to the east, Welsh Dickey across the Mad River to the north, with a view of Tecumseh, the Osceolas, the Hancocks, Carrigan, and even a snow-capped Mt Washington in the distance.

Jennings Peak
Jennings Peak

Fall foliage is still not at peak, but we should still have a few weeks of color if the weather stays dry.

Tecumseh, the Osceolas, and the Hancocks
Tecumseh, the Osceolas, and the Hancocks

Descending, I simply reversed by route, regaining the Smarts brooks trail at 2380, very close to where I’d entered the woods.

Sachem Peak is an excellent bushwhacking destination, well worth the day it takes to hike a mountain that’s not on any list (that I know of).

Taking in the view from the Sachem Peak Ledges
Taking in the view from the Sachem Peak Ledges

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7 comments

  1. That pool looks brook trouty.

    • Doesn’t it now? I carried a rod up that stream for close to 5 miles and fished done it though some lovely gorges. Didn’t get a bite, but still had a lovely time. I’ll go back in the spring when the water is higher. I think there’s trout in Smarts Brook.

      I did catch a nice rainbow in the Mad River just across the highway though.

  2. When did you hike this peak? I’m curious how far behind the colours are compared to here in central Ontario.

  3. I bet you didn’t try taking a dip in the swimming hole…

  4. Just not this time of year!

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