“Fun, rolling, historical trail down the backside of Cannon Mountain.”
— M Bageant
Need to Know
This trail is already well documented in David Goodman's AMC publication, Best Backcountry Skiing in the Northeast
. Definitely recommended reading.
Tucker Brook is a fun, rolling, historical, moderate-advanced trail that goes down the back side of Cannon and Mittersill mountains.
There are several ways to get to the top of this trail:
- Skin or hike up the trail from the small parking area at its bottom.
- Skin up Cannon Mountain on designated uphill trails (as of 2016-17, requires $9 uphill pass and skinning equipment, and is only allowed during operating hours) to the top of Mittersill peak.
- Buy a lift ticket at Cannon and ride the lifts/hike up the saddle to get up to Mittersill peak.
Note that options (2) and (3) require either a 2ish mile hike back to the Cannon/Mittersill parking area or using 2 cars to shuttle back and forth.
If starting on top of Cannon Mountain, ski down the Taft Slalom and then make your way up the saddle to the top of Mittersill peak.
From the top of Mittersill, ski down the Saddle Trail for a short distance, keeping an eye out on the left for a red warning sign and a roped off entrance to a trail. Duck the rope to begin heading down the Tucker Brook Trail (and away from the lifts).
For the first 0.5 mi, the trail starts off narrow and then opens up to about 15-20' wide, winding steeply down the "13 Turns." Be sure to check out the views from this section!
At the end of the turns, the trail flattens out and jogs sharply left to avoid the start of a brook. Here the trail is only about 4'-5' wide, closely bounded by rocks and trees. Without a significant base rocks can be a problem in this section, including a small boulder that creates a 3' drop.
After you pass the narrow section, the trail opens up to 20-30' wide with a moderate slope for about 0.75 mi, with many fun rollers and opportunities to sample the trees. Watch for buried stumps and water bars when the base is low.
As the slope peters out near a large boulder on skier's left, the trail becomes narrow again (5'-6'). There is a short flat section and a short uphill, and then a long, gentle downhill for about 1 mi, crossing several of the Franconia Inn's cross-country trails, all the way back down to the parking lot.
For snowboarders: I did this trail on a splitboard and found it excellent. The narrow, rocky section is really difficult without a deep base, use caution. As the slope flattens out, you may need to unstrap near the big boulder to get up the small uphill section. From there, strap back on as the slope can carry you all the way to the car if you are comfortable on narrow runs.
History & Background
David Goodman has a really great history of this trail and skiing at Cannon Mountain in the AMC's Best Backcountry Skiing in the Northeast, pg. 34-39.
To briefly summarize, Tucker Brook was cut in the 1930s by ski racers, but was soon eclipsed by the more popular Taft Trail. The popularity of the Taft Trail led to the development of further trails around it and eventually the ski resorts in that area, leaving Tucker Brook to be maintained as a labor of love by locals. Tread lightly and be grateful to share their gem.