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Trail Conditions

Trip Log


Mt. Hale
Bethlehem, NH

Trailheads, measurements, times, distances, and maps are all approximate and relative to the hike(s) as shown below.
Looking up the Hale Brook Trail at the first brook crossing
Looking up the Hale Brook Trail at the first brook crossing

Route: Hale Brook Trail

After small three pain free hikes, it was time to step it up a notch. With an invite to do a longer hike this coming weekend, I decided to skip over a few gradual hikes and instead do a tame 4,000 footer to see if I was up to it.

For quite a few days, the forecast said 'mostly sunny.' Then, the night before, it changed to partly sunny. When I awoke, it was raining. No need to fear - the sun would be out by 11 AM. Bull ticky. Had this been a hike with a strong summit view, I would have postponed.

Upon arriving at the trailhead the skies to the north and west were starting to clear out - finally! The sun wouldn't actually hit the trail until descent.

The trail has been pretty well maintained - in fact, there were guys from the gov clearing blowdowns and waterbars on the trail. The brook crossings were easy and mud was minimal, despite the recent rain. Though many consider Tecumseh the easiest NH 4k peak, I found the ascent up Hale Brook to be easier - there are only a few isolated steeper sections whereas Tecumseh has a consistent pitch near the ski area.

There aren't many views from this peak, as well documented. There are some views to the southeast near the top of the Hale Brook Trail, as well as some from the pile of rocks at the summit.

The ascent, though tough on my out of shape body, was fine on my knee. The descent was fine for about a mile or a mile and a half before the normal pain started to return. Taking breaks and massaging the area seemed to help at first, but by the time I was at the lower brook crossing, I was returning to previous pain levels. Surprisingly, though, possibly due in part to resting it, walking differently downhill, and not wrapping it, I was able to drive home without any pain, only a very long run on sentence in my future, with way too many commas. There is still some pain in it while walking, but not nearly as bad as it has been after previous hikes. Improvement? I hope so. Drop back to small hikes for awhile? Yes.

Hike Ratings
Getting To Trailhead: Easy
Destination: Mt. Hale
Length: Moderate
Steepness: Difficult
Navigation: Easy
Views: Moderate
Crowds: Minimal

Hike Stats
Date Hiked: Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Hike Commenced: 1:33 PM
Parking Elevation: 1,770'
Destination: Mt. Hale
Ascent Commenced: 1:33 PM
Summit Reached: 2:38 PM
Time Elapsed: 01:05
Trailhead Elevation: 1,770'
Summit Elevation: 4,054'
Distance: 2.3 miles
Vertical Gain: 2,304'
Hike Ended: 4:02 PM
Hike Time Elapsed: 02:29
Hike Distance: 4.6 miles
Hike Vertical Gain: 2,324'

Hale Brook Trail trailhead from Zealand Road
Hale Brook Trail trailhead from Zealand Road

Looking southeast Mt. Field and Mt. Willey - Click to enlarge
Looking southeast Mt. Field and Mt. Willey

Topographic map of Mt. Hale - Click to enlarge

Directions to trailhead: Take US 302 west from Bartlett past Bretton Woods Ski Area. A few minutes after, take a left onto Zealand Road. Continue up this road (turns to dirt) to the Hale Brook trailhead/small WMNF fee parking area (right side of the road).

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