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A question that often comes up on the hiking bulletin boards is: "Where can I go (in New Hampshire) for a moderate hike with good views and avoid crowds?" Here are a dozen moderate hikes with good views from the summit that should be uncrowded even on a beautiful summer weekend. Consult your White Mountain Guide for details!

Mount Carr

Mount Carr is situated near Stinson Lake in Rumney, west of Plymouth, at the southern end of the White Mountains. Follow the Three Ponds Trail for half a mile, then take a sharp left (signed) to reach a brook. If the brook is difficult to cross (during spring snow melt or after much rain) you can backtrack, follow the Three Ponds Trail until it crosses that brook on a bridge, and follow an old logging road back to where the crossing is. This will add 0.8 miles each way.

Until the brook crossing the trail was flat, now it starts climbing (never steeply) to the summit with its bare rocky knobs, with good views. The round trip is 6.8 miles (8.4 if you use the bridge) with 2,100 feet of elevation gain, for a book time of 4:30 (add 45 minutes if you use the bridge).

Mount Israel

Mt. Israel is another small mountain with great views at the southern end of the White Mountain National Forest. There are two trails that go up it, both leave from the rough, but drivable, Sandwich Notch Road (closed in winter). The most direct route is up the Wentworth Trail, starting at the Mead Base Explorer Scout Camp. This route is 4.2 miles long with 1,700 feet of elevation gain, book time is 2:55. A longer route is by the Guinea Pond and Mead trails, here the round trip is 6.6 miles and 1,300 feet of elevation gain, book time is 3:55.

Mount Crawford, Mount Resolution and Giant Stairs

All three summits are located in the Presidential Range Dry River Wilderness. Mount Crawford has magnificent views of Mount Washington and of the ridges that extend south of it, of Crawford Notch, and of the Pemigewasset Wilderness. The hike to its summit is short, but steep.

Many will be satisfied with the trip to Mt. Crawford, which has the best views. Others may want to go on for an extra 2.5 miles (each way) to the Giant Stairs, with its excellent views to the south. The grade is much easier, with no really steep sections. Another possibility is to take the Mt. Parker Trail from its junction with the Davis Path to the ledges of Mt. Resolution.

The round trip to the summit of Mt. Crawford is 5.0 miles with 2,100 feet of elevation gain, and a book time of 3:30. The trip to Giant Stairs is quite a bit longer, at 9.8 miles with 3,500 feet of elevation gain, for a book time of 6:40. To Mt. Resolution it is 8.4 miles, 3,200 feet and a book time of 5:50.

Mount Parker

Mount Parker is another treeless summit with good views, situated to the south of Mt. Resolution. It is reached from Bartlett by the Mt. Langdon and Mt. Parker trails. The round trip is 7.8 miles with 2,800 feet of elevation gain, book time is 5:20.

Cherry Mountain (Mount Martha and Owl's Head)

Cherry Mountain has two peaks with trails, Mount Martha, the highest peak, with good views, and Owl's Head, a lower peak with a ledge that has spectacular views. Both are commonly reached by taking the Cherry Mountain Trail from the NH 115 end to Mt. Martha, then taking Martha's Mile to the Owl's Head, returning the same way.

The round trip is 5.4 miles with 2,450 feet of elevation gain, for a book time of 3:55. It is possible to just do Owl's Head by the Owl's Head trail, this is 5.0 miles with 2,000 feet of elevation gain and a book time of 3:30 hours. The lower part of this trail tends to be very wet.

Mount Shelburne Moriah

Mount Moriah, just south of Gorham, is one of my favorite peaks. Since it is a 4,000 footer it almost always has many visitors. Neighboring Mt. Shelburne Moriah has views that are just as good, and since it is not a 4,000 footer the chances are that you will have it to yourself, except in late summer when you will be sharing it with Appalachian Trail thru hikers. It is reached from Rt 2 east of Gorham by the Rattle River and Kenduskeag trails. Round trip is 9.2 miles and 3,200 feet of elevation gain, with a book time of 6:10.

Baldface Circle

This is an extremely attractive trail, with about four miles of open or semi-open ledge walking between South Badlface and North Baldface. You will find less solitude here than on most of the other trails described here, but its remoteness keeps the crowds away. The section above South Baldface Shelter goes up steep open ledges that are dangerous when wet or icy, many will want to avoid them at all times. They can be bypassed using the Slippery Brook and Baldface Knob trails.

The shortest way is to do the entire loop on the Baldface Circle Trail, this loop is 9.8 miles with 3,600 feet of elevation gain, for a book time of 6:40. Bypassing the steep ledges on the ascent to South Baldface adds 1.0 mile and 100 feet of elevation gain, for a total book time of 7:25.

The Horn

The Horn is a bare, pointed summit that affords excellent views of the entire region. It is reached from Unknown Pond, which may be reached by the Unknown Pond Trail starting at either end. The longer (driving) approach, from Rt 110 near Stark, passes through beautiful birch woods for about a mile before reaching the pond. From the pond the Kilkenny Ridge Trail goes most of the way up the Horn, a short spur gets you to the summit with its fine views. Round trip is 10.0 miles, 2,600 feet of elevation gain, book time is 6:15.

Rogers Ledge

This is another great viewpoint in the Kilkenny, an area that receives much less use than those regions of the WMNF that lie to the south of Rt. 2. It can be reached from the south (shorter drive) by taking the Mill Brook Trail from York Pond to the Kilkenny Ridge Trail, and going north on that trail to the ledge. Alternately it can be reached from the South Pond Road by the Kilkenny Ridge Trail, this gives the option of viewing the Devil's Hopyard, a small gorge with cliffy walls and boulder-strewn floor. From the south the round trip is 8.8 miles with 1,400 feet of elevation gain, book time is 5:05. From the north it is 8.2 miles with 1,850 feet of elevation gain, book time is 5:20. Add about a mile and 200 feet for the Devil's Hopyard.

Sugarloaf Mountain (Nash Stream Forest)

The Nash Stream State Forest is a large tract of land (40,000 acres) purchased by the State of New Hampshire in 1988. The new Cohos Trail traverses it from south to north. It lies north of Rt. 110, and overnight camping is not allowed. The combination of remoteness and no overnight camping makes it rather inaccessible, you are almost guaranteed solitude wherever you go. Check the Cohos Trail Website for many other possible hikes in that area.

Sugarloaf Mtn. has, as its name indicates, a bare rocky peak, with great views in all directions. The trail starts on the Nash Stream Road (closed in winter) and the round trip is 4.2 miles, with 2,200 feet of elevation gain, book time is 3:10.

Distances and Elevation Gains for Uncrowded Hikes
Summit(s) Distance Elevation Gain Book Time
Mt. Carr 6.8 2,100 4:30
Mt. Carr, using bridge 8.4 2,100 5:15
Mt. Israel, Wentworth Trail 4.2 1,700 2:55
Mt. Israel, Guinea Pond & Mead trails 6.6 1,300 3:55
Mt. Crawford 5.0 2,100 3:30
Mt. Crawford and Giant Stairs 9.8 3,500 6:40
Mt. Crawford and Mt. Resolution 8.4 3,200 5:50
Mt. Parker 7.8 2,800 5:50
Mt. Martha and Owl's Head 5.4 2,450 3:55
Owl's Head alone 4.0 2,000 3:00
Mt. Shelburne Moriah 9.2 3,200 6:10
The Horn 10.0 2,600 6:15
Rogers Ledge, from south 8.8 1,400 5:05
Rogers Ledge, from north 8.2 1,850 5:20
Sugarloaf Mtn. 4.2 2,200 3:10

Comments or Suggestions? Do you have any comments, or do you wish to suggest other similar hikes? That is what the Peakbagging Forum is for!