White Mountain National Forest

White Mountain National Forest

Smarts Brook Ski Trails

Five scenic and challenging interconnecting trails make up the Smarts Brook Ski Touring Trail System. They vary in length from 0.5 to 4.0 km (0.7 to 2.5 miles) and are designated for use by intermediate and advanced skiers (NOT RECOMMENDED FOR BEGINNERS). The trails follow old roadways which were reconstructed by the Forest Service Young Adult Conservation Corps in 1979. Some of the trails are designated for one-way travel. Skiers should consider this when planning their trips. Difficulty rating signs are posted at each trail junction and blue diamond reassurance trail markers are used wherever necessary.

Forest harvest cuts may be observed along the trails. These harvests have been made to provide timber and manage habitat for wildlife. Future timber harvests planned for the area will not adversely affect the ski touring system.

Access #1: Smarts Brook Parking Area is 5.5 miles east of I-93, Exit 28 on NH Route 49. Parking is available for about 15 cars.

Access #2: High Brook Picnic Area is 8.1 miles east of I-93, Exit 28 on NH Route 49. Parking is available for about 15 cars.

Smarts Brook Ski Trail: More difficult, 2.3 km (1.4 miles), leaves the Smarts Brook Parking Area and proceeds south along Route 49 a short distance, makes a sharp turn to the left and then climbs a moderate grade for 0.5 km (0.3 mile) before leveling off. Although views of the brook are few, the remainder of the trail is somewhat easier to ski. It eventually intersects with the Tritown Trail at 2.1 km (1.3 miles) and the Yellow Jacket Trail at 2.3 km (1.4 miles). The trail continues beyond this point, but is not maintained for skiing. When returning to the parking area, CAUTION SHOULD BE USED on the lower portion of the downhill section to Route 49. The trail makes a SHARP TURN TO THE RIGHT just before approaching the highway.

Pine Flat Ski Trail: Most difficult, one-way, 1.1 km (0.7 miles), leaves the Smarts Brook Parking Area and proceeds northeast along Smarts Brook. The first 0.3 km (0.2 miles) is relatively easy to ski, followed by a moderately steep, short uphill section. The reward for this climb is a fine view of Smarts Brook Gorge. Paralleling the gorge, the trail gradually climbs 0.3 km (0.2 mile) to another moderately steep, short uphill section. Once on top, the trail levels out onto a flat area and then meanders through a stand of red pine, hence the name "Pine Flat". Just before intersecting with the Old Waterville Road and Yellow jacket Trails, a steep, curvy downhill segment must be carefully negotiated. CAUTION SHOULD BE USED because of a dip and short, steep uphill section near the trail's end.

Yellow Jacket Ski Trail: More difficult, 2.0 km (1.2 miles), leaves the intersection of the Old Waterville Road and Pine Flat Trails 1.1 km (0.7 mile) continuing southeast its entire length along an old road. It gradually climbs for 0.4 km (0.3 miles), to an interesting view of Bald Knob. After a sharp right turn to a moderately steep, uphill section, it levels out and then descends with an S-turn down a moderately steep slope. The trail ends with a SHARP RIGHT TURN to a bridge crossing over Smarts Brook, where it intersects with the Smarts Brook Trail. The trail's name was derived from an encounter with yellow jacket bees during its construction.

Tritown Ski Trail: Most difficult, 1.8 km (1.1 miles), leaves the Smarts Brook Trail 2.1 km (1.3 miles) east of the Smarts Brook Parking Area and proceeds west 1.8 km (1.1 miles) where is rejoins the Smarts Brook Trail 0.5 km (0.3 mile) from Route 49. The trail begins with a steep climb up a small ridge about 0.3 km (0.2 mile) and then levels off. From this point, it descends at a moderate pitch with several turns until it again intersects with the Smarts Brook Trail. A unique feature of this trail is that it traverses portions of the Towns of Sandwich, Thornton, and Waterville Valley, hence the name "Tritown". Several openings along the trail offer nice views of surrounding mountains.

Old Waterville Road Ski Trail: More difficult, 4.0 km (2.5 miles), leaves the High Brook Picnic Area and proceeds southwest, skirting around the parking lot before rejoining an upgraded section of the old road. It follows Route 49 closely for a short distance, but then leaves the highway corridor completely, following the route that at one time was the main road into Waterville Valley. At its intersection with Yellow Jacket Trail (3.2 km, 2.0 miles), it descends a moderately steep section, continues down another steep hill, and rejoins the highway that it parallels closely for a short distance. Diverging from the highway once more, it climbs and terminates at the Pine Flat Trail shortly after intersecting with a connector trail leading to the Smarts Brook Parking Area (0.5 km, 0.3 mile).