Uncanoonuc – Incline Trail Complete

Uncanoonuc has now been conquered. I made it up. All the way. Without stopping. Twelve weeks after my last transplant!

There is a road to the top and two hiking trails ascending the 800-ish vertical feet. The summit trail is about 1 mile long, and the incline trail is 0.6 miles long. Logan and I hiked the summit trail over the weekend, and yesterday I went back to conquer the incline trail – a steady 35% incline! Jim Dowd gave me some excellent words of advice when I told him I had stopped a few times on my last try, and I wanted to make it up without any breaks. “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” That was the last little mental push I needed.

There are 4 viewpoints at the top which combined give an almost 360 degree view. For being the the smallest mountain peak in New Hampshire, it sure does have good views!

Uncanoonuc East View


The mountain is steeped in history. The incline trail that I hiked used to be a railway! From the website http://www.gotopinardville.com/uncanoonuc_mountains.htm

It wasn’t until June 8, 1907 when the railway opened. The ruling grade of the incline was a grand 35% and the running time was five minutes. Equipment on the incline was two open cars that were connected by a steel cable and were operated like counterbalances. Each incline car was equipped with two 40-horsepower motors and carried a motorman and conductor.

The operation of the incline did not cease at the end of summer. Winter season brought skiers to the mountain with the incline providing transportation to the summit.

The conventional trolley line to Uncanoonuc remained in service until January 8,1938 when the line was abandoned. On January 9, 1938 bus service replace the trolley line to Goffstown. The incline continued to operate until the 1940s. In 1941 a forest fire destroyed approximately 500 feet of track and steel cable. Even though the incline was still being used to shuttle skiers there was no effort to rebuild after the fire. Shortly after the fire the remaining track was torn up and the cars junked.

If anyone is nearby, it’s definitely worth the short hike for the rewarding views from the top. Or, for the really lazy, you could drive to the top and then hike through the woods to the lookout spots. These spots aren’t obvious, so go prepared knowing the trails (reference here).

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