The Ice Gulch, located in the towns of Gorham and Randolph and accessed by trails maintained by the Randolph Mountain Club, is truly one of the natural gems of the state of New Hampshire. The Ice Gulch has been popular among both area residents and tourists for a century or more. Known technically as a cold air talus woodland, the gulch is, in essence, a deep, narrow ravine, which forms a "reverse alpine zone." The length of the gulch is divided into three chambers, or "vestibules." Amid the boulder strewn floor, one can find plants such as black spruce, Labrador tea and alpine bilberry. It is not uncommon for ice to be present, under the boulders, throughout the summer. Fairy Spring, at the foot of the gulch, is the beginning of Moose Brook, which serves as a source of drinking water for the town of Gorham.
Thanks to a Recreation Trails Program grant, the Randolph Mountain Club is rebuidling approximately 5.0 miles of the Cook Path, Ice Gulch Path and Peboamauk Fall Loop which are used to access the Gulch itself. These three trails form a 6.0 mile loop, leading from Randolph, through Ice Gulch, in the town of Gorham, and back to Randolph.
The RMC trail crew uses tools such as mattocks and grub hoes to dig ditches, clippers and axes to remove vegetation, along with rock bars, come-alongs and grip-hoists to set rock steps and staircases. Cedar and tamarack bog bridges are being installed along muddy section of the trail, with materials hauled to the site by the trail crew on wooden pack frames.
The Randolph Mountain Club has been responsible for the maintenance of these two trails since the club's founding in 1910. Matching funds for this project came directly from RMC member dues and donations.