Cube & Sunday via Cross Rivendell Trail | 4/17/23
The Cross Rivendell Trail is a 36-mile trail that connects each town of the Rivendell Interstate School district across Vermont and New Hampshire (RTA). The Cross Rivendell Trail has sections that experience tremendous day traffic, such as the Cube ascent, and others that remain closed for logging such as the section connecting Cube & Sunday. When it comes to the White Mountain Guide, just a handful of miles along the CRT count towards the trace, but they were worthwhile and one of my favorite hikes for this time of year!
This past Sunday, Hannah, Yosemite, and I took a late start up Cube, which had consistent ground conditions as we gained the Appalachian Trail. From Baker Road, the beginning was limited in mud, and the mud that did exist wasn’t too deep- which meant it was perfect for walking straight through to limit the impact. The trail gained very gently up until about 2000 feet when some more roots and rocks joined. By then, the snowline had made itself known at about 2100 feet. The snow was grippy underneath bare trail runners and the ice was dirty enough to provide traction beneath my Salomon Cross Runners.
The brief slab sections just before the summit were completely dry and opened nicely towards Lyme, Smith Mountain, and the Dartmouth Skiway melting out on Holt’s Ledge. Coming down, I put my rock spikes on for a moment so I wouldn’t slow down moving carefully over ice, but I would have fared just fine without them. We ran into a few more ascending hikers on the way down, most with dogs, and everyone else was absent of traction too, spring is here!
By the time we got to the parking lot and checked our watches to see how early it was, we’d hardly broken into the afternoon. I checked Apple Maps to see how far the Sunday Mountain trailhead was (5 minutes) and proposed a continuation of our day to Hannah, who quickly agreed.
We moved our cars to the east side of Sunday Mountain, aka the Dame Hill Trailhead. This parking lot isn’t super well marked, as the once clearly stated sign has been destroyed by something weed-wacker-like. After dropping my car there, we drove maybe ten minutes around the back of Archertown Road, took a right on Norris, and began from the west side of Sunday. The west trailhead is 200 feet lower than the east, but it is a bit longer and less switchback-filled, which I prefer on the way up.
Do note, there is no official trailhead parking on this side, and we ascended after neatly parking the car on the side of the road. The sign here is legible and states to not block the driveways.
We were pleased to find this trail was free of snow, ice, and mud! There were some old trail-looking paths along the way, but the CRT was so well-blazed in blue that there was no question where the trail was, even though the leaves seemed like they’d seen little traffic in recent times. At 1.12 miles in, we got a nice view over the fields below us and then continued gradually to the summit, over and under blowdowns, until we got to the Sunday Mountain Spur. The spur was just 0.2 to the viewless summit, which had a cute blue sign and a little cairn across from it.
From the summit, we descended back to my car, across many switchbacks where we saw a red-headed woodpecker. The very bottom of the trail is a wide logging-road-esque section at the bottom. After coming out to a field opening, where you keep left, the trail got somewhat rowdy with blowdowns but was no big struggle. Back at the road, we had a short walk down Indian Pond Road and Dame Hill Road to where the car was just off 25A.
Yesterday’s journey on the Cross Rivendell Trail was a great start to short-sleeve hiking season and an amazing day out with a new friend & hiking partner! All said and done, we walked 8.17 miles and climbed 2,446 feet across Orford, NH.
For more information from the Rivendell Trail Association (RTA) visit: https://rivendelltrail.squarespace.com/