Waterville Valley HikingNearly three-and-half years after the rains of Hurricane Irene tore a path of destruction through northern New England, White Mountain National Forest has reopened several trails in the Waterville Valley area.

Portions of the Greeley Ponds Trail, Livermore Trail and the Flume Brook Trail in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, had been closed to address extensive damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene. Thanks to a successful partnership with the National Forest Foundation and the Treasured Landscapes Campaign and the generosity of its donors, notably the Waterville Valley Foundation, and a partnership with the Waterville Valley Athletic Improvement Association (WVAIA), a significant amount of trail restoration work has been accomplished involving new trail construction and re-routing trails out of flood prone areas. These repairs will help to make these trails more sustainable during future high water events and improve aquatic organism passage due to the replacement of undersized culverts and bridging.

Hikers should plan ahead and become familiar with the new trail layout since some trails have been realigned and renamed.

The Greeley Ponds Trail provides an excellent backcountry cross country skiing opportunity from Livermore Trail to Lower Greeley Pond. Segments of the trail were rerouted away from the banks of the Mad River utilizing a segment of the Timber Camp Trail and some new trail construction. This new alignment will offer an increase in difficulty for the trail in terms of grade and skiers need to use caution when approaching the newly constructed bridge where the trail now crosses the Mad River.

The Kancamagus Brook Cross Country Ski trail is still accessible via the re-routed Greeley Ponds Trail. The Kancamagus Brook XC Ski Trail will now be 0.6 miles longer as its junction with the Greeley Ponds Trail has been relocated further upstream alongside the Mad River. This trail will continue to be managed only for winter use and will not be maintained as a hiking trail.

Hikers should be aware that the Flume Brook Trail has been decommissioned. However the “Flume,” which was the trail’s destination, can now be accessed by the new Irene’s Path. This new trail borrows sections from the former Kettles Path and a segment of Scaur Trail to arrive at the Flume via a newly constructed section of trail. Irene’s Path will be the name used for the entire alignment from Livermore Road to the Waterville Flume.