Friday, August 18, 2017

Bear Hill (830 Ft) - Allenstown NH

The Bear Hill Summit
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Allenstown
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N43 07.352, W71 21.866
TRAIL: Bear Hill Trail, Ferret trail, Podunk road
DISTANCE: 1.5 miles (total loop)
SEASON: Spring
DATE: May 28, 2017
WEATHER: Sunny, clear, humid

PARKING: Bear Hill is located within Bear Brook state park and a day use fee applied to anyone entering the park. Currently the fee is $4 for adults and $2 for children and is payable at the ranger kiosk at the Podunk Rd entrance. From Route 28 in Suncook drive 3.1 miles to Deerfield Rd on your right. After 3.2 miles turn right onto Podunk road. Follow Podunk road for 2.10 miles to a small parking pull off on the left side of the road. The Bear Hill trail is a few hundred feet to the north and on the opposing side of the street.


MAP: (Bear Hill)

I would also recommend printing a trail map of Bear Brook State park. This map is also available at the ranger kiosk.

DESCRIPTION: From parking backtrack on Podunk road a few hundred feet to the Bear Hill trail on the west side of Podunk Rd. Cross the rock wall and follow the double track ascending moderately a short 0.24 miles to a signed trail junction marking the Ferret trail. The summit is a few hundred feet away. The summit is filled with about a dozen one to two foot tall ant hills. The highest point contains the cement footing remains of where a fire tower once stood. This was a quick ascent and I decided to make it a bit longer by descending the Ferret Trail for 0.6 miles in a southerly direction to it's junction with Bear Hill Road. From Bear hill road it's a short walk to the junction with Podunk road and approximately 0.5 miles back to parking.


Bear Hill trail - Ferret trail 0.24 miles 0.24 miles
Bear Hill trail - summit 0.01 miles 0.25 miles
Summit - Ferret trail junction 0.01 miles 0.26 miles
Ferret trail - Bear Hill Rd 0.60 miles 0.86 miles
Bear Hill Rd - Podunk Rd 0.10 miles 0.96 miles
Podunk road walk - Parking 0.50 miles 1.46 miles


Time is subjective on this adventure and can be a quick 20 minutes up and down using the short Bear Hill Trail. My loop took approximately 1 hour and includes a 10-15 minute 'rest' at the summit trail junction.

The purchased day pass can be used for all areas of Bear Brook State park and I would recommend visiting the Catamount pond beach or exploring other areas of the park.


Bear Hill is the highest point in Allenstown and once contained a steel fire tower built in 1939. The 45 foot tall tower was used until 1980. The summit is cleared but has no views due to surrounding overgrowth.

Ant hills on the Bear Hill summit
Cement footings are all that remains of a 1939 fire tower. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Mt. Muise (3615 Ft)

Mt. Muise summit
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Odell
ELEVATION: 3615 Feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 47.151, W71 22.672
TRAIL: Cohos Trail, bushwhack
DISTANCE: 3.7 miles (one way)
HIKING TIME: 3.5 hours
SEASON: Summer
DATE: August 13, 2017
WEATHER: 60 Degrees, overcast, off and on rain

PARKING: From Route 3 in Groveton follow route 110 for 2.6 miles to Emerson Road. Continue on Emerson road staying right at the 1.5 mile Y junction to it's terminus at 2.2 miles. Turn left onto Nash Stream Road (gated in winter) and follow it 11.0 miles to a hunting camp and dual gated Y intersection at it's end.

Driving time from Manchester is approximately 3 hours 15 minutes. Plan on 20-30 minutes on Nash Stream Rd itself.

USGS QUAD: USGS Bunnell Mountain Quad

MAP: (Mt. Muise)

During the research process I found the Cohos Trail map one of the best resources available and would recommend picking up a copy.


From parking take a left at the Y junction following the Cohos Trail along a woods road.  The trail is wide enough for a vehicle and at the time of my trek the grassy road was recently mowed.  Follow the Cohos Trail for 3 miles to the open field where the mowed path stops and trail becomes a single track just before the crossing of Nash Stream.  This is where the dashed road markers end on most topo maps.  Find an open area and begin the bushwhack.  The first 200 feet were scrappy but the woods opened up nicely to moose trails through fern glades for most of the 0.75 miles.  The last pitch to the summit was steep through scrappy and thicker woods.  Footing becomes slippery over moss covered stones and downed trees.  The summit is an obvious highpoint marked with a small cairn and summit canister containing only enough room for 1-2 people.


Cohos trail to Nash Stream crossing 3.0 miles 3.0 miles
Nash Stream crossing - Summit 0.75 miles 3.75 miles


Cohos trail to Nash Stream crossing 1 hour 1 hour
Nash Stream crossing - Summit 45 min 1 hour 45 min
Summit - Nash Stream crossing 30 min 2 hours 15 min
Cohos trail to parking 1 hour 3 hours 15 min


At 3615 feet Mt. Muise is the 83rd highest peak in New Hampshire and #45 on the 100 most prominent. It's incorrectly listed as Whitcomb Mountain on Follow the Cohos Trail a significant distance then bushwhack is a straight line southwest to the summit making the bushwhack to Mt. Muise a good experience for the novice whacker to hone their map and compass skills. Starting the bushwhack slightly before the crossing of Nash Stream should make for open woods and a plethora of herd paths leading most of the way to the summit. The summit highpoint was an obvious bump containing a PVC canister and small cairn. There are occasional directional views from the open fields along the Cohos Trail, the summit contains no views.

The gate at the end of Nash Stream Rd and Cohos Trail

Mt. Muise summit canister

Fern-whacking on descent

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