Mount Israel
GOOD FOR: Ages 9-12
RATING:


Source:Outdoors with Kids Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont (AMC Books)
Address:Diamond Ledge Road, Sandwich
Hours:No posted hours
Fee: Free for day use; contact the Mead Conservation Center for camping fees
Contact:

White Mountain National Forest, 603-536-6100, www.fs.usda.gov/main/whitemountain

Bathrooms: None
Water/Snacks: None
Map:

USGS Center Sandwich quad; AMC White Mountain National Forest Map & Guide, L7–K7 (AMC)


A ledgy, open summit with great views of the Sandwich Range. The magical Beede Falls nearby offer hours of swimming, sliding, and stream exploration.

Friends celebrate reaching the summit of Mount Israel.

This hidden gem of a hike starts at the Mead Conservation Center, operated by the Squam Lakes Association. Wentworth Trail is 4.2 miles out-and-back and is moderately steep, but the rewards at the top are sure to brighten the spirits of your youngest hikers. This trip can be done in a day, but also makes an ideal camping destination. Camp at the Mead Conservation Center campsites at the trailhead (visit the center’s website to make reservations) and spend a whole day on Mount Israel, and another day at Beede Falls. Everything is within walking distance of your campsite!

Wentworth Trail up Mount Israel ascends to the left of the white farmhouse at the trailhead and climbs steadily until you reach a stream (0.8 mile). After the stream crossing, the trail continues to climb steadily, offering a couple of level spots along the way to take breathers. This trail has been well maintained in recent years and you will find many finely constructed rock staircases on your way up. At 1.5 miles, the trail passes some nice ledge views to the south (on your left); this is a great turnaround spot for a short day. At 2.0 miles, the path reaches the long summit ridge with partially obstructed views to the north. Continue along the rolling summit to Mead Trail. Veer right here; 150 feet beyond the intersection, the trail emerges onto the true summit (2.1 miles) with excellent views of the entire Sandwich Range and to the peaks of Waterville Valley in the north. The open ledges are perfect for a picnic lunch and maybe a siesta on a nice sunny day. Descend the way you came up (4.2 miles).

From the Mead Conservation Center, Beede Falls are just a 15-minute walk (0.5 mile on flat ground) or a short drive away. If walking, head west on Bearcamp River Trail from the trailhead (a right turn if you’re coming down on past the underhanging Cow Caves, which make for fun exploration. Soon the sound of Beede Falls greets you. Your family will likely want to spend hours exploring. The main fall features an overhanging drop that you can walk behind, or stand under the falls themselves if the flow is not too strong. Young children will love the 50-foot-wide sandy pool (1–4 feet deep). No jumping here as it is too shallow!

We have spent hours exploring the small pools and slides above and below the main fall. On a sunny day, these fine ledges would be perfect for lounging on a towel and soaking in the rays as you swim and slide the hours away.

Plan B:

On your way to or from the conservation center, don’t miss the giantsized table and chairs randomly placed in a farm field along the road. Standing at least 15 feet tall, they are a truly bizarre sight! (On Mount Israel Road, just off Diamond Ledge Road.) Nearby Rattlesnake Ledge and Five Finger Point trails offer great views of Squam Lake and excellent swimming and jumping opportunities.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Sandwich has a great collection of pubs, restaurants, and caf├ęs. For an iconic Sandwich experience, visit the out-of-the-way and legendary Sandwich Creamery (134 Hannah Road, Sandwich) for ice cream, cheeses, and a visit with farm animals. A New Hampshire Atlas and Gazetteer (DeLorme) is recommended for finding your way on these winding back roads!



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