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Hiking & Trails

Easy Hikes

Bald Mountain and Artist’s Bluff (Veteran’s Path)

Bald Mountain (2340 ft) is an easy hike located in the Franconia Notch. Take Exit 34C off I-93. Trail begins at Peabody Memorial Slope parking area and ascends for approximately .25 mile then bends left and continues up a short steep path to Bald Mountain. Artist’s Bluff trail continues at the junction and bears rights up and across low ridge to unmarked trail that hooks left to top of Artist’s Bluff. The main trail continues down Route 18 near Echo Lake.

Basin Cascades Trail

The Basin Cascades Trail is located in Lincoln, NH off I-93 and is 1.5 miles out and back with a waterfall. This multi-level, dog friendly trail is primarily used for day nature walks. This trail also connects to several hiking trails throughout the Franconia Notch Area.

Boulder Path

This trail leaves the Livermore Trail on the right, 0.6 miles from the Livermore Rd. parking area, and runs 70 yards to a crossing of Avalanche Brook (difficult at high water) just downstream from a huge boulder. After crossing the brook, it turns left and follows an old road along the brook for 0.1 mi., then turns right off the road (sign) and ascends moderately. At 0.3 mi., it turns right onto the wide Lower Snows Mountain X-C Trail, rises slightly, then descends gradually. At 0.6 mi., it leaves the WMNF (signs), crosses a private driveway, swings left, and continues to the Cascade Path, 0.2 mi. above the Snow’s Mountain Ski Area parking lot.

Butterworth Trail

0.7 miles, 45 min. to East Rattlesnake (1297′) The Butterworth Trail ascends East Rattlesnake from Metcalf Road. Metcalf Road is 0.7 miles east of the Holderness and Sandwich town line. The trailhead is located on Metcalf Road, 0.5 miles from NH-113. The trail climbs moderately to East Rattlesnake and the view point is 0.1 miles beyond the summit on the East Rattlesnake Trail.

East Pond Trail

This trail passes scenic East Pond and climbs across the notch between Mt. Osceola and Scar Ridge, reaching an elevation of 3,100 ft. The southern trailhead is at a parking lot about 100 yd. up a gravel side road that leaves Tripoli Rd. (FR 30) 5.1 mi. east of its intersection with I-93. The northern trailhead is on the Kancamagus Highway at the bridge over the Hancock Branch, 3.7 mi east of the Lincoln Woods parking lot.

From the southern trailhead, this trail follows the gravel road past a gate and continues straight on an older road where the gravel road swings right. At 0.4 mi., near the site of the old Tripoli Mill, the Little East Pond trail turns left on an old railroad grade, whereas the East Pond Trail continues ahead on a logging road. At 0.8 mi., it crosses East Pond Brook, and at 1.4 mi., near the point where the East Pond Loop leaves left for Little East Pond, a side path leads right 40 yd. to the south shore of East Pond. The trail swings to the left away from the pond and climbs moderately on old logging roads to the height-of-land at 2.2 mi., then descends steadily on logging roads, crossing Cheney Brook at 3.1 mi. and Pine Brook at 4.3 mi. Just after the latter crossing (which may be difficult at high water) the trail reaches an old logging railroad spur and follow it almost all the way to the Kancamagus Highway.

East Rattlesnake Trail

0.7 miles, 35 minutes to East Rattlesnake (1297′) The East Rattlesnake Trail climbs East Rattlesnake from Pinehurst Road. The trails leaves the Pasture Trail at .2 miles from Pinehurst Road and crosses a small brook. The East Rattlesnake Trail branches left and the Five Finger Point Trail branches to the right. The East Rattlesnake Trail joins the Ridge Trail at 0.5 miles and comes to an excellent view-point overlooking Squam at 0.6 miles. The Trail reaches the summit at 0.7 miles where it joins the Butterworth Trail.

Elephant Trail

The trail begins off the Cascade Path and climbs gradually, past a large boulder on the left (Elephant Rock), through a mature hardwood forest and out at the top of the former Beanbender alpine ski trail. At the ski summit, the Greeley Ledges Trail emerges from the woods on the opposite side, and the service road down to the Cascade Path heads away from the ski slope.

Five Finger Point

2.7 miles, 1 hour for Five Finger Point loop This loop trail follows the shoreline of UNH’s Five Finger Point. There are several beaches and a popular jumping rock, although camping and campfires are not permitted. The trail leaves the Pasture Trail at 0.2 miles from Pinehurst Road. After a small brook, the trail bears right and the East Rattlesnake Trail heads to the left. The trail descends 0.7 miles to a 1.3 mile loop path which follows the shoreline of Squam Lake.

Norway Rapids

Follow Cascade Path to a point where it merges with the Lower Snow’s Mountain X-C ski trail. From there, cross the bridge over Cascade Brook and follow the ski trail for a short distance to the hiking trail on the left. It wanders through a mature hardwood forest for a very short time, with good footing and very little ascending, eventually crossing the brook and connecting with Livermore Road. It’s almost always difficult to cross the brook in high water.

Old Waterville Road Trail

From the Smarts Brook parking lot, follow the Pine Flats Trail out the back of the lot. The trail begins five minutes beyond the lot, and leads over flat terrain on an old logging road. In about 10 minutes, it ends on route 49, just west of the parking lot at the Six Mile Bridge.

Pine Flats Trail

From the Smarts Brook parking lot, walk out the back of the lot. There is no sign, but the trail is well worn and distinct. The trail rises up to a flat section of terrain with an impressive stand of Red and White Pine trees. The trail then descends the plateau and ends at a junction with the Yellow Jacket Trail.

Smarts Brook Trail

The trail begins at the southwestern end of the Smarts Brook parking lot. From the parking lot, cross the brook on the road. On the other side of the brook, the trail turns left and enters the woods on some log steps, joining with an old roadbed.

Tri-Town Trail

The trail brings you in a long loop, characterized by steady inclines and good footing, up to a clearing at a height of land (1200ft). It then descends gradually back down to the Smarts Brook Trail. To make a loop back to the parking lot, take a left at the end of the Tri-Town Trail onto the Smarts Brook Trail, and continue gradually downhill for 20 minutes.

Yellow Jacket Trail

Accessing it from the Smarts Brook Trail side, the Yellow Jacket trail diverges to the left about 15 minutes after the Smarts Brook, take a left and continue downstream. The trail descends gradually with some loose footing. Shortly after that the trail ends, connecting to the Old Waterville Road.

 

Moderate Hikes

Cascade Trail

It ascends an open grassy hillside, passes alongside the Cascade Ridge road, and continues straight (the road turns up to the right). Shortly after that, the Boulder Path diverges left. The Cascade Path continues up the hill, and soon crosses the Cascade Ridge Road that has looped back around from the right. On the other side of the road, the trail ascends what’s left of the former alpine ski trail, “Beanbender.” At the top, the trail loops over another USFS bridge, and descends down the other side of the cascades, reconnecting at the base of the first cascade.

Drake’s Brook Trail

The trail begins on a gated USFS road, at the northwest corner of the Drakes Brook parking lot. It follows the brook beneath a high canopy for a short distance, and then leaves the roadbed turning right, crossing drakes brook at a wide section that is difficult in high water. It then follows the path of the brook over generally flat terrain for a good distance, before it starts to ascends, gradually at first and then more steeply, where it ends at the Sandwich Mountain Trail.

Fletcher’s Cascade Trail

The trail begins off the lower Fletcher’s Cascade X-C ski trail, just up the hill from where the Drakes Brook Trail leaves the ski trail and crosses the brook. The Fletcher’s Cascade Trail angles up along the left-hand side of the brook for a fair distance. It can be wet in several sections, but it s not steep and easy to follow.

Goodrich Rock Trail

It begins off the Greeley Ponds Trail about 30 minutes from the parking lot. It climbs somewhat steeply at first, steadily up to a set of stone and wooden steps. From there, it levels off, crosses a small brook and begins to encounter the Davis Boulders, a favorite destination for children.

Greeley Ledge Trail

The trail begins off the Snow’s Mountain Trail and almost immediately encounters the ledgey cliffs. It ascends straight up moderate grades on stones and then angle to the left, traversing around the steep-sided face. As it rounds the buttress, a small spur path leads to the ledge. From there, it’s a short distance through the woods before the trail terminates at the summit of the former alpine ski area.

Kettle’s Path

It begins off Livermore Road not long after the Big Pines. Soon it ascends the steep foothills of the Scaur Ridge, via short stone and wooden steps up to a flat terrace. Here, it runs along side the kettles, best observed in the leafless seasons. After crossing a spring-fed rill, it joins the Scaur Trail 15 minutes below the Scaur.

Livermore Road and Trail

It begins as a Forest Service gated road off the Livermore parking lot. After the clearing known as Depot Camp, Greeley Ponds Trail is on your left, 10 minutes from the parking lot. Boulder Path (15 min.) diverges right and crosses the river just before a short rise in the road. Big Pines Path (20 min.), is on the left. The road continues with more ascending, before Norway Rapids Trail (45 min.), diverges right. Livermore Road ends and Livermore Trail (55 min.) begins at a bridge over the Slide Brook. The descent to the Kancamagus Highway is gradual and seldom used by hikers.

Lonesome Lake Trail

Trailhead begins at Lafayette Campground off I-93 and gradually ascends into birch and beech forests and has two (2) river crossings then it begins to steepen for a short duration and levels off as it nears the lake. The trail continues around the lake nestled in the middle of the mountains with stunning views. There are many other trailhead junctions at the beginning of the lake if you want to continue further.

Mad River Trail

The trail begins off the Mad River cross-country ski trail. From Town Square, cross the dam and turn right on the Village X-C Ski Trail, and then right on a bridge over Snows Brook. The final section easily traces the river and ends at West Branch Road.

Mount Morgan Trail

From the small parking area, the trail follows a logging road, turning left off it almost immediately. At 0.1 mi., the Morgan-Percival Connector diverges right, leading 0.5 mi. to the Mt. Percival Trail. The trail climbs west at a moderate grade, then swings right and traverses to the north. At 1.4 mi., it swings left to begin the steeper ascent of the southeast slope of the mountain. At 1.7 mi., the Crawford-Ridgepole Trail enters left from Mt. Webster, and the two trails coincide. The trail begins on a rocky and tough section that requires more time then might be expected, especially in wet conditions. It ascends the ridge, crossing a spring 2/3 of the way up. It then climbs by short rather steep switchbacks to the summit, the site of an old fire tower. From the summit, the trail descends steeply into the col. At one point, you have the option to “chimney” down a short rock face, or take an easier route around. The hiking is steep and rocky.

Old Skidder Trail

It begins somewhat steeply at first, passing a wave-shaped side of exposed rock on the right. In the spring, fall and winter there are fine views of the Painted Cliff on East Peak looking back as you ascend. It soon gains level ground on an old skidder path. Follow the yellow blazes carefully: about 2/3 of the way along the trail, it turns abruptly to the right (east), and leaves the old roadbed as it rises up and connects with the Livermore Trail.

Peaked Hill Pond Trail

Pleasant moderate shared biking and hiking trail located 2.8 miles west of Interstate 93 in Thornton, NH (Exit 29) that runs to the sparkling waters of Peaked Hill Pond. This trail is popular to beginner and casual day hikers.

Scaur Ridge Trail

It begins off the Livermore Trail, 5 minutes beyond the Mount Tripyramid trailhead to the North Slide. It climbs on a well-defined old logging road for most of its length with good footing and mostly gradual ascending, until it leaves the roadbed and continues more steeply up the mountainside until it joins the Pine Bend Brook Trail.

Snow’s Mountain Trail

The trail begins at the Snow’s Mountain parking lot. About a third of the way up the former alpine ski slope, it turns into the woods. The trail wanders up the northern side of the mountain. Once the breezy ridge is attained, it levels off somewhat, and soon a very short spur path for the upper outlook is on the left. The lower lookout is about five minutes away. From this point, the trail descends somewhat steeply at first, but soon joins a logging road grade that takes you down the other side of the ridge.

Timber Camp Trail

The trail begins off the Greeley Ponds Trail just a few minutes past the Goodrich Rock trailhead, bearing left before Knight’s Bridge. The first half of the trail ascends on a long gradual traverse, and then switches back abruptly to the left. Look for the yellow blazes. Not long after that, it switches back again, passes a great hillside of sand and continues at a somewhat steeper pitch. Bear left at the sign to High Camp.

Welch-Dickey Loop Trail

The trail begins at the parking lot off of Orris Road, just past the Gateway condominiums on Upper Mad River Road. Bearing right at the beginning, it crosses a brook and begins to ascend by switchbacks, coming out onto “Welch Ledge,” after 45 minutes. From there, the trail rises more steeply among the rocks, with several difficult passages up the ledges, eventually crossing over the Welch summit, and continuing down into the col between the two peaks. It ascends steeply up to the Dickey summit, and then traces the rock ledge back into the woods. It gradually descends a mature hardwood forest back down to the parking lot.

 

Difficult Hikes

Mount Morgan Trail

2.1 miles, 1 hour 30 min. to Mt. Morgan (2220′) 4.8 miles, 3 hours 10 min. to loop over Mt. Morgan and Mt. Percival via Mt. Morgan Trail, Crawford-Ridgepole Trail and Mt. Percival Trail The Mt. Morgan Trails climbs Mt. Morgan from NH-113, 0.5 miles northeast of Pinehurst Road, and 5.4 miles northeast of US-3 in Holderness. A parking area is located on the north side of the road. At 1.7 miles the Crawford-Ridgepole Trail enters on the left. At 1.9 miles the cliff trail heads left over rock ladders and through a boulder cave. At 2.0 miles the Crawford-Ridgepole Trail heads right towards Mt. Percival, and the Mt. Morgan Trail heads left and reaches the summit of Mt. Morgan at 2.1 miles. There is a short spur trail on the right which leads to the actual summit of Mt. Morgan and the rock ledge to the left offers excellent views of Squam Lake. Continue northeast on the Crawford-Ridgepole Trail for the loop hike across Mt. Percival.

Mount Percival Trail

1.9 miles, 1 hour 40 min. to Mt. Percival (2212′) The Mt. Percival Trail ascends Mt. Percival from NH-113 and offers outstanding views of Squam. The trailhead and parking area are located on the north side of NH-113, 0.3 miles northeast of the Mt. Morgan trailhead, 5.7 miles northeast of US-3 in Holderness and 5.9 miles west of NH-109 in Sandwich. The trail crosses a brook at 0.9 miles and ascends gradually to 1.5 miles, where it traverses the south slope of Mt. Percival. At 1.6 miles the trail climbs a steep pitch and offers views to the south at 1.8 miles. Just below the summit an alternate trail heads left through boulder caves, while the main trail heads right to the summit at 1.9 miles. The Crawford-Ridgepole Trail also crosses the summit of Mt. Percival and offers a loop hike via Mt. Morgan.

Mount Tecumseh Trail

The trail begins at the north end of the Waterville Valley Ski Area parking lot, and gradually ascends the southern side of Tecumseh Brook for about 15 minutes, then crosses the brook and climbs up the northern foothills with the ski area slopes on the left. Once on top, the trail descends fairly steeply down the other side toward Tripoli Road, through thick walls of conifers, into a col. It begins off the Livermore Trail. There are two trailheads for Mount Tripyramid. The first, leads to the South Slide. You want the second, half an hour later, at a hairpin turn. It immediately descends down to Avalanche Brook, crosses it, and continues on a long traverse parallel to the brook to the bottom of the North Slide. It ends at Livermore Trail.

Sandwich Mountain Trail

The trail begins at the southwest corner of the Drakes Brook parking lot, heads past the town electrical station, and enters the woods descending down to Drakes Brook. The crossing here is difficult in high water. The trail ascends straight up the western flank of Sandwich Mountain and is often steep and rocky.

The Scaur Trail

It begins off the Greeley Ponds Trail and immediately crosses the Mad River. This is always a difficult crossing, even in low water. The trail continues on the far shore to the left of a boulder. It then passes through a boggy area with a foot bridge. Soon it climbs up the hillside on stone steps, and before a steep set of 36 wooden steps begin, there is a small spur path on the right that leads to Judges Spring. The trail again climbs straight up a steep hillside, leading to a second terrace. Shortly after that, the Kettles Path joins from the right. From there, the Scaur Trail is pretty steep and rocky, but it’s only 15 minutes more to the views at the end.



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