Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Bayle Mountain - (1853 Ft)

Mt. Shaw from the Bayle Summit
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Ossipee
DESTINATION: Bayle Mountain
ELEVATION: 1853 Feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N43 46.998, W71 15.111
TRAIL: Snowmobile Corridor, Bayle Mountain Trail
DISTANCE: 1.32 miles (to summit)
HIKING TIME: 2 hours
SEASON: Late Spring
DATE: June 12, 2017
WEATHER: Hazy, Hot, Humid, 90 degrees

PARKING: From route 16 / 25 in Ossipee turn onto Pine Hill rd for 3.5 miles to a Y junction with Connor Pond Rd. Continue 0.5 miles to Marble road following it 0.7 miles to parking on the right. The parking area is directly across from a cabin and marked with three parking signs with room for 6 to 8 cars. the (unmarked) trail head is 100 feet further down the street on the right.

Drive time from Manchester is 2 hours

USGS QUAD: USGS Tamworth Quad

MAP: (Bayle Mountain)

The revised parking area is not shown on this map.  Parking can be found on Marble Rd just before the star marking the trail head. A complete map of the Osspiee range can be found by clicking this link.

DESCRIPTION: We didn't encounter any trail signs or confirmation along the way and often found ourselves wondering if we were on the right trail. From parking continue 100 feet on Marble road to the gated snowmobile corridor on the right. Proceed through the gate and follow the snowmobile corridor. After 0.4 miles you'll reach a junction (shown with mini-dotted lines on the map). Bear right another 0.35 miles to the (unmarked) Bayle mountain trail (left). GPS coordinates N43 46.705, W71 14.714. The trail follows a small esker along a ridge before meeting up with the main Bayle Mtn trail.

The trail is poorly marked and somewhat challenging to follow 0.57 miles to the Bayle summit.  We didn't encounter many markings on trees or painted rocks which could be due to the May 2015 brush fire that consumed most of this mountain side.  Charred remains of the destruction can still be seen along the way. Follow the trodden foot path (look for small cairns marking the way) as it ascends steeply through a large boulder field to where it parallels a large open slab to the mostly open and rocky summit proper.  A summit register can be found about 100 feet from the summit facing Connor Pond.


Snowmobile corridor - Bayle trail 0.75 miles 0.75 miles
Bayle Mountain trail - Summit 0.57 miles 1.32 miles
Summit - Parking 1.32 miles 2.65 miles


Snowmobile corridor - Bayle trail 30 minutes 30 minutes
Bayle Mountain trail - Summit 30 minutes 60 minutes
Summit - Parking 45 minutes 1 hour 45 minutes


Bayle mountain is an excellent hike for kids. The distance is challenging but not overwhelming for young people and offers a technical boulder field to navigate which leads to beautiful panoramic views of the Ossipee Range. At 1853 Feet it is one of the lower elevation summits in the range but provides big reward for minimal effort. Mt. Shaw, the highest point in the range can be seen directly to the south, Ossipee Lake and Green Mountain are to the east. Bayle Mountain is ranked #8 on the Ossipee 10 list.

Post-hike the kids enjoyed taking their shoes off and dipping their toes in Lovell Brook at the parking area.
snowmobile corridor on Marble Rd
Boulder field on Bayle Mtn trail
Views from the Bayle Summit
The Bayle Mtn Trail junction

Sunday, May 21, 2017

East Scar Ridge (3620 Feet), Middle Scar Ridge (3480 Feet)

East Pond and East Peak of East Scar Ridge 
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Livermore
DESTINATION: East Scar Ridge, Middle Scar Ridge
ELEVATION: 3620 feet, 3480 feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: East Scar - N44 01.153, W71 33.917
SUMMIT COORDINATES: Middle Scar - N44 01.518, W71 34.830
TRAIL: East Pond Trail, bushwhack
DISTANCE: 6.25 miles
HIKING TIME: 5 hours
SEASON: Spring
DATE: May 20, 2017
WEATHER: 65 degrees, clear skies


Parking can be found at the East Pond trail-head on Tripoli road. There is parking for about 10 cars in the lot with overflow parking available on Tripoli road. There is not a USFS pay station parking fee at this trail-head.

Drive time from Manchester is approximately 90 minutes.

USGS QUAD: USGS Mount Osceola quad

MAP: (Scar Ridge, East peak), (Scar Ridge, Middle peak)


Scar Ridge has a nasty reputation as one of the thickest and most challenging bushwhacks in the white mountains. I teamed up with a partner for this endeavor and we found both extremes of difficult and challenging sections where the spruce are so thick that you can't see your feet along with spotty sections of wide open woods.

The East Pond trail starts along a gravel road for 0.4 miles to the junction of the Little East Pond trail. A hundred feet to the right is the site of the old Tripoli Mill remains (see historical data below). The trail ascends gradually then crosses East Pond brook still with a moderate ascent reaching East Pond and the junction with the East Pond Loop trail after 1.4 miles. The pond offers excellent reflective views of the East peak of East Scar Ridge. East Pond trail continues its moderate ascent another 0.8 miles to the height of land at 3100 feet. Take a deep breath, build some self-esteem and start the bushwhack to East Scar Ridge. We found the first 0.3 miles a pleasant stroll through very open woods. After a few comments about the ease of this journey, karma struck at approximately 3400 feet where the spruce closed in surrounding us with thick and dense Christmas trees. This whack was arguably the nastiest of the entire traverse and finding the summit was uplifting. The thickness continued on descent but opened up as we reached the 3400 foot elevation contour. The open woods were an easy stroll to the unmarked 3400 peak between Middle Scar and East Scar. This peak contains an obvious summit high point but is not marked with a sign, canister or any other man-made symbol. We descended to the northwest through patchy and spotty woods into the northeast side of the col and a thick, steep and slow ascent to the gratifying summit canister on Middle Scar.

On descent we followed a fairly well defined herd path back into the col that in hindsight, I wish we stumbled across for the ascent. From the col we headed southwest through thick and steep woods towards Little East Pond. It was thick for most of the descent but eventually transitioned into open hardwoods near the 2800 foot contour. We popped onto the East Pond loop trail very close to the junction with the Little East Pond trail and spur to the pond.

It felt good to be back on trailed ground for the 2.0 mile jaunt back to our vehicles at the East Pond trail-head.


East Pond Trail to height of land 2.2 miles 2.2 miles
height of land to East Scar 0.5 miles 2.7 miles
East Scar to 3400' peak 0.4 miles 3.1 miles
3400' peak to Middle Scar 0.55 miles 3.65 miles
Middle Scar to East Pond Loop Trail 0.65 miles 4.30 miles
Little East Pond trail to Parking 2.0 miles 6.3 miles


East Pond Trail to height of land 1 hour 1 hour
height of land to East Scar 40 minutes 1 hour 40 minutes
East Scar to 3400' peak 45 minutes 2 hours 25 minutes
3400' peak to Middle Scar 45 minutes 3 hours 10 minutes
Middle Scar to East Pond Loop Trail 45 minutes 3 hours 55 minutes
Little East Pond trail to Parking 45 minutes 4 hours 40 minutes


East Scar Ridge is ranked #81 on the list of New Hampshire hundred highest. Middle Scar ridge has its highest elevation contour line at 3480 feet putting its optimistic elevation at 3499 feet. Technically, this potential 1 foot difference takes it off the NH 3500 footers list. For me it's far too close to call and I've added it as #103 on my personal NH 100 highest list.

East Scar ridge is marked with a sign and small PVC canister.  There are no signs, canisters or man-made objects on the 3400 foot peak and Middle Scar has a PVC canister marking its summit.

East Pond Loop trail sign at East Pond junction

The East Scar summit
Canister marking the Middle Scar summit
Middle Scar from Little East Pond
 The Livermore Tripoli company was a mining company that in 1910 built a mill to process diatomaceous earth collected via a pipeline from East Pond. The DE was filtered, dried then loaded into railroad cars for shipment.  The material was used as a paste to polish silver and jewelry. More information on the operation can be found on the Livermore Tripoli Co. website.

Cement footings
Long brick wall

Livermore Tripoli Co. 

Savage Mountain - 3510 Feet

STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Stratford
DESTINATION: Savage Mountain
ELEVATION: 3510 Feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 43.920, W71 32.666
TRAIL: Lamms trail - Bushwhack
DISTANCE: 4.0 miles round trip
HIKING TIME: 2 hours 45 minutes
SEASON: Spring
DATE: May 19, 2017
WEATHER: 60 degrees, overcast, low clouds, partial drizzle

PARKING: From Route 3 in Stratford look for a sign mrking Lamms trail on the right. The road skirts the edge of an open field, continues past a trio of camps goes through an open gate for 1.5 miles to its terminus at N44 43.396, W71 34.199. I parked in an open clearing after 1.15 miles.

On my topo maps, google earth and automobile navigation system this road is shown as Bissell Road. As I arrived the road was signed Lamms Trail.

Driving time from Manchester is approximately 2 hours 45 minutes.

USGS QUAD: USGS Stratford Quad

MAP: (Savage)


My original plan was to follow a logging road I saw on Google earth then bushwhack to the col between 3380 Foot Teapot Mountain and Savage Mountain but I drove too far on Lamms trail, all the roads and ATV trails I encountered ended up heading straight for Savage Mountain. I modified my plans and headed for the Savage and Spruce col.

From the end of Lamms trail I continued east on a ATV trail (barely shown on Google earth) that paralleled a tributary of Smarts brook to where it petered out in a muddy section at 2450 feet. I bushwhacked a short distance popping out on an wide logging road. I followed the logging road in a northeasterly direction to 2525 feet where it makes a U and changes direction. From the U bushwhack in a northeasterly direction to the summit. The bushwhack is through moderate woods with a few minor (50 to 100 feet of) thick bands making it somewhat challenging but the woods aren't impenetrable or frustratingly thick. I would recommend bearing to the north when possible to avoid section of cliffs near the 3100 foot elevation contour as shown on Google Earth. My route chosen is shown below. I've seen trip reports that describe the bushwhack as trivial through open woods to thick and heavy. The route I chose is neither trivial or extreme. It got me to the summit, use it at your own discretion.


Parking to end of Lamms trail 0.3 miles 0.3 miles
ATV route 0.56 miles 0.86 miles
Bushwhack to logging road 0.14 miles 1.0 miles
Logging road to U 0.15 miles 1.15 miles
Bushwhack to summit 0.75 miles 1.9 miles


Parking to summit 90 minutes 90 minutes
summit to parking 1 hour 15 minutes 2 hours 45 minutes


At 3510 feet, Savage mountain ranks at #101 on the list of 102 mountains in New Hampshire over 3500 feet. In addition, it's 1360 foot prominence makes it #69 on the most prominent peaks list. The summit contains a standard PVC canister with a log book and does not have any views.

ATV Trail
Eerie bushwhack into the mist
Savage summit canister

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Milan Hill Fire Tower (1720 Feet)

Milan Hill fire tower
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Milan
DESTINATION: Milan Hill Fire tower
ELEVATION: 1720 Feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 34.339, W71 13.391
TRAIL: Road Walk to XC ski trails
DISTANCE: 0.41 miles one way
HIKING TIME: 30 minutes
SEASON: early spring
DATE: April 14, 2017
WEATHER: 45 degrees, clear skies

PARKING: 72 Fire Tower Road, Milan NH 03588.

From Berlin take route 16 north approximatley 10 miles to route 110B in Milan and look for the Milan Hill State Park sign on your left. Parking can be found at the gated entrance, if the gate is open drive a short 0.13 miles to the Nansen XC ski club parking lot with warming hut.


MAP: (Nansen Ski Club Map) (Milan Hill USGS Map)


The State park and campground typically open in May and the road was gated during my visit.

I parked roadside near the gated entrance and walked the plowed tower road to the Nansen XC Ski area parking lot. There is a warming hut and trail kiosk with trail maps available. The ski area is open to the public and accessible year round. Follow Pine Alley 0.1 miles to the junction with Hilltop. Continue on Hilltop for 0.12 miles and a junction with 3 other trails. From here the tower can be seen a few hundred feet away and is accessible via a short hiking trail.


road walk - Nansen XC ski Parking 0.13 miles 0.13 miles
Pine Alley - Hilltop 0.10 miles 0.23 miles
Hilltop - 4 way junction 0.12 miles 0.35 miles
4 way junction - Firetower 0.06 miles 0.41 miles


parking - Fire tower 20 minutes 20 minutes


Milan Hill is one of the few standing and active fire towers in the state. It's a short hike to incredible views and definitely worth a visit if you're in the area. The state park is always open for recreational use and XC ski area is maintained by the Nansen Ski club, open to the public and welcomes hikers on the property.

The tower is marked with a benchmark disk (look under the right side steps) and has 4 smaller cement pilings inside the tower mount footings. Climbing the stairs to the lookout platform offers unique and spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding area including Mt. Washington, the Mahoosuc range and into Maine, Westerly views of the Percy peaks, Nash Stream area and into Vermont as well as northerly views into Canada. The views are worth the minimal effort required to hike the summit.

More information about camping at Milan Hill State Park can be found on the NH State Parks Website

More information about the Nansen ski club can be found on the Nansen Ski Club website

Approaching Milan Hill 

Views east towards the Mahoosuc range and Maine

Views south towards Mt. Washington

Views north into Canada

Views west towards the Percy Peaks and Vermont

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Terrace Mountain (3655 feet)

View of Mt. Weeks from the Terrace summit
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Kilkenny
DESTINATION: Terrace Mountain
ELEVATION: 3655 Feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 28.637, W71 23.719
TRAIL: Bunnell Notch Trail, Kilkenny Ridge trail
DISTANCE: 4.9 miles one way
HIKING TIME: 4 hours 30 minutes
SEASON: Early spring
DATE: April 14, 2017
WEATHER: 45 degrees, clear skies

PARKING: Parking can be found at the end of York Pond Rd past the Berlin Fish hatchery. This area is gated and posted open from 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM however I arrived shortly after 7 AM and found the gate opened and buried in snow. It appears the gate hasn't been moved in a long time. The trailhead is clearly marked and contains room for 4 to 5 cars. There is ample overflow parking roadside.

Driving time from Manchester is approximately 2 hours 45 minutes

USGS QUAD: USGS Jefferson quad

MAP: (Terrace)

DESCRIPTION: Follow the Bunnell Trail 0.2 miles to the merge and departure of the York Pond trail. Continue on the Bunnell trail (right) as it descends and crosses minor streams that should be rock hoppable in most conditions. After approximately 1 mile and 25 minutes of hiking the Bunnell trail departs the logging road at a signed junction. From here the trail begins it's ascent paralleling the West Branch of the Upper Ammonoosuc River. There are dozens of minor tributaries flowing into the main corridor which makes the Bunnell trail muddy and keeping your feet dry will be moderately challenging. The trail is one of the main corridors to access Mt. Cabot and although poorly marked and blazed, foot travel makes the main trail relatively easy to follow. After 3.0 miles you reach the Bunnell notch height of land and the junction of the Kilkenny Ridge trail.

The Kilkenny Ridge trail departs left and is poorly marked with faded mustard colored blazes. With snow on the ground I struggled to follow the Kilkenny Ridge trail and found I followed trail for 100 yards then would lose it for anywhere from 20 to 200 feet before finding the corridor or cut tree branches and recognized trail. A short ascent takes you over the signed North Terrace summit then descends the col before gradually ascending Middle Terrace. The summit is a short distance off trail but easily attainable and recognizable. There are no markings on the Middle terrace summit. Descend the col and begin the ascent up Terrace proper. After 1.9 miles you reach a sign junction and 0.1 mile spur trail to the 3655 foot Terrace summit. The summit is not marked and offers directional views towards the Weeks to the south and Cabot to the north.

To make a nice loop descend 1.1 miles to the York Pond Trail. Follow the York Pond trail 2.4 miles to the junction with the Bunnell trail mentioned above and a short 0.2 mile stint back to parking.

Due to the poorly marked trails and lack of recent visitors I had concerns of potential trail breaking for approximately 3.5 miles and I chose to return by retracing my steps and descending the Bunnell Trail. Distance was slightly longer however following my tracks in the snow and the broken out Bunnell Trail was too tempting to resist.


Bunnell Notch Trail - Kilkenny Ridge trail junction 3.0 miles 3.0 miles
Kilkenny Ridge Trail - North Terrace Summit 0.6 miles 3.6 miles
North Terrace Summit - Middle Terrace 0.5 miles 4.1 miles
Middle Terrace - Terrace Mountain spur 0.7 miles 4.8 miles
Terrace Mountain Spur - Terrace Summit 0.1 miles 4.9 miles
Terrace Summit - Kilkenny Ridge trail junciton 0.1 miles 5.0 miles
Kilkenny Ridge Trail - Bunnell Trail Junction 1.8 miles 6.8 miles
Bunnell Trail - Parking 3.0 miles 9.8 miles


Bunnell Notch Trail - Kilkenny Ridge trail junction 1 hour 25 minutes 1 hour 25 minutes
Kilkenny Ridge Trail - North Terrace Summit 25 minutes 1 hour 50 minutes
North Terrace Summit - Middle Terrace 15 minutes 2 hours 5 minutes
Middle Terrace - Terrace Mountain spur 15 minutes 2 hours 20 minutes
Terrace Mountain Spur - Terrace Summit 5 minutes 2 hours 25 minutes
Terrace Summit - Kilkenny Ridge trail junciton 5 minutes 2 hours 30 minutes
Kilkenny Ridge Trail - Bunnell Trail Junction 45 minutes 3 hours 15 minutes
Bunnell Trail - Parking 1 hour 5 minutes4 hours 20 minutes


At 3655 Feet Terrace Mountain is ranked #79 on the list of New Hampshire 100 highest mountains. It is also #79 on the YMCA Alpine club list. North Terrace is marked with a summit sign on the Kilkenny Ridge trail. There are no views. According to the White Mountain Guide North Terrace mountain contains a small clearing intended for helicopter landings. I was unable to locate the clearing however it wasn't the purpose of my visit and I didn't look very hard.

Middle Terrace is a obvious bump in the trail however not prominent enough to be counted on any lists. There are reduced views due to tree growth from it's summit.

Terrace Mountain has a col depth over 500 feet and reached bu a 0.1 mile spur trail. The summit is not marked but the obvious high-point offers limited directional views to the North and south.
Bunnell Trail head on York Pond Road
Terrace mountain from Bunnell trail

Mt. Cabot through white birch trees

Directional view of the Horn

Monday, April 10, 2017

Mt. Roberts (2582 Feet), Mountain View (2782 Feet), Faraway Mountain (2730 Feet)

Mt. Roberts Summit
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Moultonborough
DESTINATION: Mt. Roberts, Faraway Mountain
ELEVATION: 2582 feet, 2782 feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: Mt. Roberts - N43 45.394, W71 19.556
SUMMIT COORDINATES: Mountain View - N43 45.690, W71 18.682
SUMMIT COORDINATES: Faraway Mountain - N43 45.405, W71 18.646
TRAIL: Mt. Roberts trail, High ridge Trail, Faraway spur, High Ridge Trail, Faraway mountain Trail, Road walk
DISTANCE: 9.0 miles
HIKING TIME: 3 hours 45 minutes
SEASON: Early Spring
DATE: April 8, 2017
WEATHER: 35 degrees, clear

PARKING: From NH 25 in Moultonborough turn onto Route 109 following it for 2.25 miles to the Y junction with route 171. Continue straight on route 171 another 0.5 mile turning onto Ossipee Park road. Drive up Ossipee Park Road past the stone house entrance to the hiker parking area with trail kiosk on the right.

Approximately 90 minutes drive time from Manchester.

Map kiosk at parking area
Mt. Roberts trailhead behind horse barn

USGS QUAD: USGS Tamworth Quad - Summits, USGS Melvin Village Quad - Trailhead

MAP: (Faraway Mountain Map)

In addition to the USGS Maps a hiker known as "Trail Bandit" has created a detailed Ossipee Map of the surrounding peaks and trails.


Follow the road adjacent to the trail kiosk through the gates toward Shannon pond. Continue up the hill toward the horse barn and follow signs leading to the Mt. Roberts trail which begins behind the fence. The trail is well marked with orange diamonds at regular intervals and begins along a wide carriage road before returning to the field follows the fence perimeter a short distance before turning right into the woods. Use caution at this junction as the trail is not signed and one could easily continue straight along the fence border. The Mt. Roberts trail ascends a knoll then levels off through hardwoods before reaching a rocky steep section. As you ascend, a short spur trail marked 'outlook' leads a short distance to the west and offers great views of Red Hill, Lake Winnipesaukee and the Belknap range including Gunstock Mountain ski area to the south. Both Red Hill and Belknap Mountain have fire towers on their summits. Once you've caught your breath the Mt. Roberts trail continues up a short steep section before the incline becomes more gradual over rocky ledge terrain. The last mile of trail ascends several open ridges with spectacular views in the southern and easterly directions towards the lakes and the highest point in the Ossipee range, 2990 foot Shaw mountain. After 2.4 miles and approximately 1 hour of hiking the Mt. Roberts summit is attained. The summit is marked with a sign and Faraway mountain is looming in the background. Return the way you came or continue along the High Ridge making a 11 mile scenic loop to Faraway mountain.

At the Mt. Roberts summit the High Ridge trail marked with blue diamonds descends to the north and follows a wide carriage road along the ridge. The carriage road was lined with very old grey birch trees providing the feeling of going back in time a hundred years. Look for signs of moose as you follow the carriage road 1.3 miles to the Faraway mountain spur trail. The spur trail is not marked but the a ATV path leading to the left and chain gate is fairly obvious to spot.

Chain marking the entrance to the Faraway mountain spur trail

Follow the spur trail 0.25 miles to the 2783 "Mountain View" summit. The summit contains some man-made cell towers bringing you back to the 21st century. There seems to be conflicting information on the nomenclature of these peaks as well as discrepancies on various map sources adding to the confusion. In this report "Mountain View" is considered the 2792 foot peak marked with the red pointer on the map below. Faraway mountain is the closer peak containing two summit bumps at 2730 feet elevation. It appears the southeastern bump may be a few feet higher than the northwestern bump marked with the blue pointer. I couldn't find the dotted trail leading over the 2730 Faraway Mountain summit bumps and chose to bushwhack to these summits from the High Ridge trail.

Mt. Roberts, Faraway and 'Mountain View' summit points
Once back on the High Ridge Trail the carriage road leads past a spectacular outlook offering 180 degree views to the south then gradually descends 1.2 miles to the junction of the Faraway Mountain trail marked with orange diamonds. From here it's a long 4.5 miles following the Faraway Mountain trail to the Cold Spring trail carriage roads that gradually descend switchback after switchback after switchback. These may be great for a horse and buggy but make for frustratingly tedious long walking conditions. You'll eventually pass the cellar hole of the Roberts homestead and the junction of Cold Springs Road. A 0.5 mile road walk will lead you back to Shannon Pond.


Mt. Roberts trail - Outlook 1.0 miles 1.0 miles
Outlook - Mt. Roberts Summit 1.4 miles 2.4 miles
High Ridge Trail - Faraway Spur Trail 1.32 miles 3.72 miles
Faraway Spur Trail - Mountain View Trail 0.2 miles 3.92 miles
Faraway Spur Trail - High Ridge Trail 0.2 miles 4.12 miles
High Ridge Trail - Faraway Summit bumps 0.10 miles 4.22 miles
Faraway Summit Bumps - High Ridge Trail 0.08 miles 4.30 miles
High Ridge Trail - Faraway Mountain Junction 1.18 miles 5.48 miles
Faraway Mountain Trail - Cold Springs Trail 1.72 miles 7.20 miles
Cold Springs Trail - Cold Springs Road 1.25 miles 8.45 miles
Cold Springs Road - Parking 0.54 miles 9.0 miles


Mt. Roberts trail - Outlook 35 minutes 35 minutes
Outlook - Mt. Roberts Summit 1 hour 5 minutes 1 hour 40 minutes
High Ridge Trail - Faraway Spur Trail 30 minutes 2 hours 10 minutes
Faraway Spur Trail - Mountain View Trail 10 minutes 2 hours 20 minutes
Faraway Spur Trail - High Ridge Trail 10 minutes 2 hours 30 minutes
High Ridge Trail - Faraway Summit bumps 5 minutes 2 hours 35 minutes
Faraway Summit Bumps - High Ridge Trail 5 minutes 2 hours 40 minutes
High Ridge Trail - Faraway Mountain Junction 20 minutes 3 hours
Faraway Mountain Trail - Cold Springs Trail 20 minutes 3 hours 20 minutes
Cold Springs Trail - Cold Springs Road 15 minutes 3 hours 35 minutes
Cold Springs Road - Parking 10 minutes 3 hours 45 minutes


The lakes Region Conservation Trust offers a patch to anyone who has hiked 30 miles along 19 trails (not all at once) over 5 summits within their property. Anyone interested in this challenge can find more information on the LRCT website. Mt. Roberts is ranked #48 on the New Hampshire 52 With a View list and worth the visit alone. For a longer adventure I'd recommend continuing along the ridge to Faraway mountain and a loop back to the parking area. Both Mt. Roberts and Faraway Mountain are on the Ossipee 10 list of 10 notable peaks in the Ossipee range.

This trail system is popular but an early start may provide the opportunity to spot some of the wildlife in the region. I was able to spot several different tracks in the snow such as skunk, deer, pine martin, moose and turkey.

Mt. Roberts is marked with a summit sign. Due to snow cover I was unable to search for any benchmarks. Mountain View has several man-made structures along with cell towers on its summit. and I was unable to locate any signage or markings on either of the two faraway summit bumps.

Red Hill from the Mt. Roberts overlook

Lake Winnipesaukee and the Belknap range

"Mountain View" summit

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

West Peak (3580 Ft.), Castle Mountain (3569 Ft.)

West Peak summit canister
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Columbia
DESTINATION: West Peak, Castle Mountain
ELEVATION: 3580 Feet, 3569 Feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: West Peak - N44 45.262, W71 29.754
SUMMIT COORDINATES: Castle Mountain - N44 45.580, W71 28.761
TRAIL: Brown Road, Corridor 7, logging road, bushwhack
DISTANCE: 9.4 miles
HIKING TIME: 5 hours 15 minutes
SEASON: Early spring (winter conditions)
DATE: March 25, 2017
WEATHER: Cold, clear, 20 degrees

PARKING: From the junction of route 3 and VT 105 follow Rt. 3 for 3 miles. Look for the diamond shaped sign marking Meriden Hill Road on the right (GPS Coordinates N44 46.771, W71 34.995). Follow Meriden Hill road for 1.8 miles to the junction of Brown Road (N44 47.052, W71 33.264). Turn right on Brown road and follow it 1.5 miles to a Y junction (N44 46.349, W71 32.076). Stay to the right and follow Brown Rd to its end.

In winter Brown Road, may or may not be plowed. In March, 2017 The road was plowed with enough width for a single car for 0.8 miles. I found a small parking area with room for 2-3 cars at N44 46.444, W71 32.813. Brown road becomes a snowmobile corridor requiring a 1.75-mile road walk to the T junction, field and camps at the terminus of Brown road. Just before reaching the camps the road is marked with a private property sign. I didn’t encounter a no trespassing sign and continued the few hundred feet into the property to ask permission.

Drive time from Manchester was 3 hours 15 minutes.

USGS QUAD: USGS Bunnell Mountain Quad

MAP: (West Peak), (Castle)

DESCRIPTION: Walk Brown road to the camps and open field.Continue east on the unnamed road for 0.15 miles, passing a couple camps to the T junction with snowmobile corridor 7 (not marked). Follow corridor 7 as it turns south for a total of 0.25 miles to the gates. Turn left and follow the unmarked logging road east for 0.9 miles to a recently logged open area at approximately 2400 feet elevation.Find an open line and begin to bushwhack southeast for one mile through the open slash. As the slash ends, the woods become steeper and thicker.I encountered a few moderately thick bands that lasted 50-100 feet but would open as you skirted through. A minor thick section guarded the summit and I found the register on the southern point of the summit. Take a few steps behind the register to the blowdown patch for great views of the Percy peaks, the Cabot range and Mt. Washington massif.

From West peak, Castle is 1.0 miles to the east. Bushwhack into the col starting off with a short, thick band of Christmas tree spruce that opened as I skirted to the northern side of the col. Once passing through the scrappy section the woods beautifully opened into the col and continued to be clear and open all the way to Castle. I went to what appeared to be the distinct high point and was unable to locate a canister. I continued along the ridge passing a moderate bump to a secondary summit. This location appeared to be a slightly lower elevation than the original bump I stood on. I returned to the original bump and performed a more thorough search for a canister without any luck. I was able to find a 9” diameter spruce with three pieces of orange flagging which I considered the summit of Castle.

I followed my footsteps for 0.5 mile back to the col and descended towards the logging road. The descent was steep and thicker woods pulled me in the direction of Hymmel brook. I entered the thicker bands looking for openings along the contour wanting to avoid descending towards the brook and struggled through thick spruce, snow traps and steep terrain for approximately 0.5 miles until I hit the open logging slash and clear sailing back to the logging road very close to my start point.Even with the cold weather and steep terrain, this was one of the easier bushwhacks I’ve performed. Google Earth doesn’t show recent logging and I was surprised by how open the woods were.


Brown Road Parking - Camps and field 1.7 miles 1.7 miles
Camps and field - Gate 0.35 miles 2.05 miles
Gate - start of bushwhack 0.95 miles 3.0 miles
Start of bushwhack - West Peak 0.9 miles 3.9 miles
West Peak - Castle Mountain 1.0 miles 4.9 miles
Castle Mountain - End of bushwhack 1.5 miles 6.4 miles
End of bushwhack - Brown Road parking 3.0 miles 9.4 miles


Brown Road Parking - Camps and field 45 minutes 40 minutes
Camps and field - Gate 5 minutes 45 minutes
Gate - start of bushwhack 15 minutes 1 hour
Start of bushwhack - West Peak 1 hour 30 minutes 2 hours 30 minutes
West Peak - Castle Mountain 1 hour 3 hours 30 minutes
Castle Mountain - End of bushwhack 45 minutes 4 hours 15 minutes
End of bushwhack - Brown Road parking 1 hour 5 hours 15 minutes


At just under 3600 feet, West Peak (3580 Feet) is ranked  #91 on the list of New Hampshire 100 highest mountains (depending on which list you are looking at). Castle Mountain (3569 Feet) is an unranked peak on the three variations of the NH 100 highest lists I refer to although it is on the Peakbagger list of NH 3500 footers. West Mountain had a PVC canister at it's summit and offered excellent directional views to the South of the Percy Peaks, Mt. Cabot and Mt. Washington.

Castle Mountain is less than a mile away through beautifully open woods containing mostly obscured directional views.  The summit did not have a distinct bump and I wandered the summit proper and what appeared to be two or three potential highest points unable to find a canister. I did encounter a 9" diameter spruce with three pieces of orange flagging tape a few feet away from what I considered the highest point. There were no views from the Castle Summit.

Gate at the end of Brown road, Snowmobile Corridor 7

West Peak Summit canister

Percy Peaks, Cabot range and snow covered Mt. Washington from West Peak

Spruce with three orange flags marking the summit of Castle Mountain