Hiking Guide

 New Hampshire
 New York
 Rhode Island

 View All

 NE 4,000 Footers
 NE 100 Highest
 NH 4,000 Footers
 NH 100 Highest
 NH 52 With A View
 NH Belknap Range
 NH Ossipee 10


Trail Conditions

Trip Log


Kearsarge North Mountain
Bartlett, NH, Chatham, NH

Trailheads, measurements, times, distances, and maps are all approximate and relative to the hike(s) as shown below.

Looking down a very icy Kearsarge North Trail near the summit

Route: Kearsarge North Trail

My original plan had been to do something above treeline - 3k or 4k. I suddenly had a breakthrough the night before, putting two and two together - the forecasted winds up high were supposed to be in excess of 50 MPH according to the MWO! No thanks!

Up before the sunrise, I pondered what I would hike - Middle Sister or Kearsarge North Mountain. The thought of having the enclosed fire tower was enough to sway my decision. After waiting for the early clouds to lift (and taking a nap, hey, why not?), I was on my way up to North Conway.

Arriving at the trailhead, I was able to snatch the last parking spot. After putting on my Stablicers, I was off. After a month or two of non-stop snowshoeing, being able to hike in just boots with traction felt like I was on steroids or something. Paging the Mitchell Commission.

Early on, the trail was a combination of mud and ice covered snow. Walking the flats, it seemed like it was raining, as the ice was melting off the trees at a rapid pace. As I climbed, the ice became thicker and more slippery. Reaching the ledges, I was glad I had the traction, as the rock and snow were both covered by a layer that was, in many places, too think to even stomp through.

Wrapping around the back side of the mountain, things became more tricky. As I reached the rock scramble just before the trail turns and heads southeast, I saw lots of ice and not much room for error. As I slowly worked my way up the rock, I slipped and quickly was sliding face first downhill through the woods - fortunately I was able to punch through the ice after about 15 feet of wicked fast sliding. Numerous scrapes later (I was wearing a short sleeved shirt...while I thought the only scrapes I had were on my arms, I soon learned much of my chest was scraped too...doh!), I detoured around the scramble and climbed up between some sapplings.

Reaching the summit ledges, I had to take my time - the ice was everywhere and unbreakable. Nonetheless, I made it to the tower - the first person to summit today!

Though the views to the south were somewhat hazy with the mid-40 degree weather (also due to the rains the day before), the views everywhere else were very strong (though Mt. Washington sat in a cloud).

I hung out awhile inside the firetower, eventually being joined by other hikers (who had been smart enough to invest in crampons). After maybe half an hour of enjoying the views and wind-free, relatively warm summit-indoor-environment, I was on my way down - verrrry slowly at first, as to not go into another uncontrolled death slide.

As I made it to the ledges in the col, things quickly slushed up - making for a much faster, easier descent. By the time I was back to the trailhead (vehicles parked along the road at this point), it felt like another spring mid January!

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

Hike Stats
Date Hiked: Saturday, January 12, 2008
Hike Commenced: 9:48 AM
Parking Elevation: 685'
Destination: Kearsarge North Mountain
Ascent Commenced: 9:48 AM
Summit Reached: 11:17 AM
Time Elapsed: 01:29
Trailhead Elevation: 685'
Summit Elevation: 3,268'
Distance: 3.1 miles
Vertical Gain: 2,618'
Hike Ended: 1:32 PM
Hike Time Elapsed: 03:44
Hike Distance: 6.2 miles
Hike Vertical Gain: 2,653'

Kearsarge North Trail trailhead on Hurricane Mountain Road

Looking at Mt. Carrigain from the Kearsarge North Mountain fire tower

Directions to trailhead: On Route 16 North, take a right after North Conway onto Hurricane Mountain Road. The trailhead and small parking lot will be up the road on the left (before the fork in the road).

Back to Kearsarge North Mountain Profile

Copyright 2002-2021, All Rights Reserved.