Mount Kearsarge
GOOD FOR: All Ages
RATING:


Source:Outdoors with Kids Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont (AMC Books)
Address:475 Kearsarge Valley Road, Wilmot
Hours:Gates open 8 a.m.–6 p.m., seasonally
Fee: $4 adults, $2 children ages 6–11
Contact:
Bathrooms: At the trailhead
Water/Snacks: Water available at the trailhead
Map:

USGS Andover quad; Southern New Hampshire Trail Guide, Mount Kearsarge (AMC)


A short hike up this craggy little summit offers commanding views of the Connecticut River Valley, Mount Monadnock, Green Mountains, and, on clear days, Boston!

Dogs are welcome on many New England trails, and keeping them on a leash in highuse areas such as Mount Kearsarge protects native wildlife and other visitors.
Photo by: New Hampshire Department of Parks and Recreation

Small, mighty, wild-feeling Mount Kearsarge’s bare, windswept summit offers some of the finest views in southern New Hampshire. This 2.75-mile loop has a steep 1.0-mile ascent that can be challenging but doable for small kids and a gradual 1.75-mile descent. If you have a choice, always ascend steep sections and descend gradual sections, as it is easier on your body and safer as well. The kids will thank you!

Winslow Trail climbs steeply up the northern ridge of the mountain from the picnic area. There is 1,000 feet of elevation gain here in 1.0 mile, so you are going up 1 foot for every 5 feet you walk! There are many finely constructed rock staircases up this steep section of trail. The reward at the top of this 2,890-foot mountain is the spectacular panoramic views from the open craggy summit. The White Mountains are visible to the north, the Green Mountains to the west, Mount Monadnock to the south, and the Merrimack Valley to the east. Mount Kearsarge may not be the highest mountain, but the relatively flat area around it helps reinforce the impression that it’s much higher than it is.

After a summit picnic, descend the gradual slopes of Barlow Trail. While it is almost twice as long as the Winslow Trail, the trip on Barlow Trail feels much faster as you are walking down a gentle grade, rather than climbing down a steep set of rock staircases.

Plan B:

If the weather is bad or you want a shorter route up Mount Kearsarge, drive to Rollins State Park on the south side of the mountain and follow its winding road that makes it to within a half-mile of the summit (43° 22.741´ N, 71° 51.514´ W). The excellent Pollards Mills swimming hole is worth the drive (about 40 minutes north, 43° 20.333´ N, 72° 10.412´ W).

Where to Eat Nearby:

Nearby New London is a small town with a wide array of eateries and pubs, including the Flying Goose Brew Pub which offers live music.



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