We had the mountain entirely to ourselves. While we passed cars at other trail heads, our lot was empty. The White Mountain National Forest didn’t even bother to mark the trail head with a sign. As the smallest of New Hampshire’s 4000 footers, poor Mount Tecumseh is neglected and forgotten.
There are two trails to the summit. One starts at a ski resort. The one we chose begins at an unsigned lot off of Tripoli Road. To find it, it’s on the south side of the road, between the lots for Mount Osceola and Eastman Brook, which are both on the north side of the road. It’s 5.7 miles from I-93.
The hike begins by leading you across two shallow rivers, after which you come upon a nice, leaf strewn path with surprisingly few rocks that leads you up at a 45 degree angle. It was a different type of trail than the other 4000 footers we’ve done. A nice change of pace, but we were sure there’d be some climbing to come later.
At the top of this trail there’s a small cairn, an indicator of change in terrain. From here the trail changes to more of a path winding through the woods leading to the occasional scramble over rocks. Then you reach the top, which is a false summit of sorts. There’s a barely noticeable, fallen cairn marking the leveling off of this trail at the top. A path to your right leads to what is probably the best view on this mountain, and what most who take this trail believe to be the summit. To reach the actual summit, continue on the trail. It will take you through a series of dips and rises until you come to the actual summit, about a mile farther and only 250 feet higher than the false summit.
I can understand why so few people hike Tecumseh – there’s almost no view, and Mount Osceola, which has an amazing view, is right across the street. However, it’s still a nice hike. What it lacks in view in makes up for in peace and quiet. There’s no overcrowded trails, no hikers screaming to each other, no one smoking a cigarette at the top. There’s just you, your thoughts, and nature.