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Trail Conditions

Trip Log


Black Mountain
Sandwich, NH

Trailheads, measurements, times, distances, and maps are all approximate and relative to the hike(s) as shown below.
Looking down the Algonquin Trail on the way to Black Mountain
Looking down the Algonquin Trail on the way to Black Mountain

Route: Algonquin Trail, bushwhack, (Black Mountain), bushwhack, Algonquin Trail

While our goal was to summit the Sandwich Dome, we knew there would be a decent change plans would change, either due to the cold, the winds, or the trail conditions. Nonetheless, with Sandwich Notch Road still open, a hike up the Algonquin Trail seemed worthwhile.

The first part of the trail, dusted with snow, was pretty flat and easy. While there is a water crossing that might be tough in high waters, it was fairly easily rock hopped.

The trail started to steepen up a bit as it approached the ridge. While there was also some ice, it was avoidable.

Upon reaching the top of the ridge, we followed a possible herd path a bit of the way to the peak known as Black Mountain. While the path disappeared rather quickly, the bushwhack was nonetheless not too challenging.

The summit (two separate cairns, I suspect the further one was the highpoint by maybe a foot) was wooded, however there were two halfway decent viewpoints (one of the Waterville side, the other of the Lakes Region side). Upon some further investigating near the first cairn, we pushed through some spruce onto a tremendous open ledge, with views ranging from the Ossipees to Caridgan.

Back on the Algonquin Trail, we soon hit a number of ledge scrambles. While there was some powder and ice, they were nonetheless doable without traction aides. This section of trail was absolutely beautiful, with nonestop ledges and views.

Somewhere around half a mile and three quarters of a mile past the Black Pond Trail junction, we took a look to the west and saw some possible snow moving in. That, combined with the cold temperatures and high winds, was enough to persuade us to turn around and get back down the ledge scrambles before things got risky.

Once back below the ridge and out of the wind, things became much more pleasant and seasonable. I definitely look forward to checking out this trail again, though it'll likely have to wait until next year.

Hike Ratings
Getting To Trailhead: Easy
Destination: Black Mountain
Length: Moderate
Steepness: Difficult
Navigation: Moderate
Views: Excellent
Crowds: Minimal

Hike Stats
Date Hiked: Sunday, November 23, 2008
Hike Commenced: 8:53 AM
Parking Elevation: 1,420'
Destination: Black Mountain
Ascent Commenced: 8:53 AM
Summit Reached: 10:05 AM
Time Elapsed: 01:12
Trailhead Elevation: 1,430'
Summit Elevation: 2,732'
Vertical Gain: 1,337'
Hike Ended: 1:30 PM
Hike Time Elapsed: 04:37
Hike Vertical Gain: 2,357'

The Algonquin Trail trailhead
The Algonquin Trail trailhead

Looking at Mt. Kearsarge from near the summit of Black Mountain - Click to enlarge
Looking at Mt. Kearsarge from near the summit of Black Mountain

Topographic map of Black Mountain - Click to enlarge

Directions to trailhead: Take Route 109 into Center Sandwich. Route 113 will enter on your right and bear left shortly thereafter. Go straight onto Grove Street instead, then bear left onto Diamond Ledge Road. Sandwich Notch Road will be on the left a few minutes up this road. The Algonquin Trail trailhead and very small parking area will be on the right a few minutes after passing under some high tension power lines, and just before a water crossing.

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