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Trail Conditions

Trip Log


Nickerson Ledge, Carter Ledge, Middle Sister
Albany, NH

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

Looking up the Piper Trail on the way to Nickerson Ledge

Route: Piper Trail, Nickerson Ledge Trail, (Nickerson Ledge), Nickerson Ledge Trail, Carter Ledge Trail, (Carter Ledge), Carter Ledge Trail, Middle Sister Trail, (Middle Sister), Middle Sister Trail, Carter Ledge Trail, (Carter Ledge), Carter Ledge Trail, Nickerson Ledge Trail, (Nickerson Ledge), Nickerson Ledge Trail, Piper Trail

Since the weekend weather forecast wasn't looking that great, I decided to try to do a decent sized hike or two after work. On this day, I decided to stay close to home.

Arriving at a nearly empty Piper Trail parking lot, I quickly was on my way, not enjoying the somewhat hot weather. After taking the mostly gradual section of the Piper Trail, I took a right and headed up the steep Nickerson Ledge Trail to Nickerson Ledge. The views were good, though a bit hazy.

Since I had a lot more hiking left to do, I quickly continued up the Nickerson Ledge Trail, a gradual ascent at this point. After joining the Carter Ledge Trail and dipping a bit, things steepened up quickly, eventually leading to a dirt slide. It seemed like the trail disappeared at this point, so I did a quasi bushwack up to the top of the ridge, and back to the trail.

I found the long ledge walks and excellent views from the highpoint of Carter Ledge to be very enjoyable. In particular, seeing the area between Carter Ledge and White Ledge was new to me, as it tends to be obstructed from Chocorua and Middle Sister.

After spending a few minutes enjoying the views, I continued up the Carter Ledge Trail, ascending steeply to the Middle Sister Trail. From there, the walk was a bit more gradual, passing by Third Sister and reaching Middle Sister shortly thereafter.

The strong breeze on Middle Sister was much appreciated in the warm weather. One of my favorite local viewpoints, I spent a good fifteen minutes taking in the sights.

The ascent down to Carter Ledge took a bit longer than I had planned - a porcupine was slowly heading down the trail and didn't seem to care that I wanted to get through. Finally, after a few minutes, he (she?) headed into the bushes.

With the exception of the last few minutes of the hike (the wet portion of the Piper Trail), the bugs were not bad at all.

Hike Ratings
Getting To Trailhead: Easy
Destination: Nickerson Ledge
Length: Moderate
Steepness: Difficult
Navigation: Easy
Views: Excellent
Crowds: Minimal
Destination: Carter Ledge
Length: Moderate
Steepness: Difficult
Navigation: Moderate
Views: Excellent
Crowds: Minimal
Destination: Middle Sister
Length: Moderate
Steepness: Very Difficult
Navigation: Easy
Views: Excellent
Crowds: Minimal

Hike Stats
Date Hiked: Thursday, May 29, 2008
Hike Commenced: 3:19 PM
Parking Elevation: 780'
Destination: Nickerson Ledge
Ascent Commenced: 3:19 PM
Summit Reached: 3:52 PM
Time Elapsed: 00:33
Trailhead Elevation: 780'
Summit Elevation: 1,670'
Distance: 1.4 miles
Vertical Gain: 910'
Destination: Carter Ledge
Ascent Commenced: 3:52 PM
Summit Reached: 4:33 PM
Time Elapsed: 00:41
Trailhead Elevation: 1,670'
Summit Elevation: 2,420'
Distance: 1.4 miles
Vertical Gain: 850'
Destination: Middle Sister
Ascent Commenced: 4:36 PM
Summit Reached: 5:12 PM
Time Elapsed: 00:36
Trailhead Elevation: 2,420'
Summit Elevation: 3,340'
Distance: 1.2 miles
Vertical Gain: 980'
Hike Ended: 7:40 PM
Hike Time Elapsed: 04:21
Hike Distance: 8 miles
Hike Vertical Gain: 2,910'

Piper Trail trailhead

Looking south at the Mt. Whittier ski area (Nickerson Mountain) and the real Mt. Whittier from Nickerson Ledge

Looking down the Carter Ledge Trail near Carter Ledge

Looking at the backside of White Ledge and at the Green Hills from the top of Carter Ledge

Looking up the Carter Ledge Trail on the way to Middle Sister

Looking at Mt. Chocorua from the Middle Sister summit

Directions to trailhead: Take Route 16 North from Tamworth. The Piper Trail WMNF sign is on the left, immediately after a general store. The WMNF fee parking area is about a minute or off Route 16. The Piper Trail trailhead is at the back corner of the parking lot.

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