The Brook Path is one of the most beautiful trails in the Sandwich Range and an excellent place to take a cool summer dip at one of the many swimming holes along its banks. Not to be confused with the Brook Trail which climbs Mount Chocorua, the Brook Path begins across NH 113a from the Cabin Trail trailhead. It’s listed under “Shorter Paths in the Ferncroft Area” in the White Mountain Guide and maintained by the Wonalancet Out Door Club (that’s really how they spell it).
Two miles in length, the Brook Path runs along the banks of the Wonalancet River. It’s a gentle hike through moist and verdant woods, and a hidden gem, untrodden by the peakbaggers who swarm nearby Whiteface and Passaconaway.
The day I hiked this trail, it was drizzling and cool. I paused frequently to admire the undercut pools and pour-overs on the brook, thinking about the trout that must inhabit it, and cursing myself for not bringing my rod along on my walk. I’ve always wanted to fly fish the Wonalancet, but never seem to give myself enough time to while away and afternoon when I can be hiking on the nearby trails.
The Brook Path does not intersect any other trails so mine was an in and out hike. Along the way back, I met a man and his Brittany Spaniel, who bounded around me in excitement. We spoke briefly, asking me whether I was a “Tamforth Man,” a local resident, in other words.He admitted that he wasn’t either, having just moved to the area in the past year, a retiree from Massachusetts.
We chatted about this and chat for a spell. He asked “where I was going with that big backpack,” referring to the pack I carry on late autumn hikes full of oh-crap gear when I hike alone. I mumbled my goodbyes and headed back upriver, him down with his excitable dog.