Black Cap
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont (AMC Books)
Address:Black Cap
Hours:No posted hours
Fee: Free

Conway Conservation Commission, 603-447-3811,; The Nature Conservancy, 603-356-8833,

Bathrooms: None
Water/Snacks: None

USGS North Conway East quad; AMC White Mountain National Forest Map & Guide, I12 (AMC)

A great first hike for little ones, Black Cap offers fantastic views on open ledges with just a mile-long climb.

Navigating the exposed roots on paths like Black Cap Trail can be tricky!

Black Cap is perfect for the smallest hikers or for those short on time who want to have great views with little effort. It is a local favorite and you are sure to see others on the trail for their daily run or walk. The summit is large and open, so even on a busy Saturday, you should be able to find a quiet spot with a great view to enjoy a picnic lunch.

From the parking lot, head up wide-and-rooty Black Cap Trail through Conway Common Lands State Forest and The Nature Conservancy’s Green Hills Preserve. Hiking in this area has been popular for more than 100 years, but the ridgeline between Black Cap, Peaked Mountain, and Middle Mountain was permanently protected in 1990. The Nature Conservancy now manages more than 4,200 acres of land here, forming a continuous tract of open space adjacent to the state forest and the White Mountain National Forest.

The trail continues on a moderate uphill grade. Stay left at both Cranmore Trail (0.7 mile) and Black Cap Connector (0.8 mile). Continue 0.3 mile to open ledges and the bald summit (1.1 miles). Forest fires cleared the summit of all vegetation at the turn of the twentieth century, so you can now enjoy excellent views in all directions. Stop here for a picnic, but bring your bug spray in June and early July; the blackflies can drive the kids (and you) crazy! 

Continue south beyond the summit to Black Cap Connector Trail (1.3 miles). Turn right here and continue, backtracking below the summit, to the northern intersection with Black Cap Trail (1.7 miles). Turn left on Black Cap Trail, and head back to the parking lot (2.5 miles).

Plan B:

Stop at the Mount Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center ( to learn about the extreme weather in the White Mountains. Swim in the cascading pools at nearby Diana’s Baths on a hot day. Head up Cathedral Ledge Road in Echo Lake State Park to the famed Cathedral Ledge for views back across the Mount Washington Valley. 

Where to Eat Nearby:

You are sure to find a restaurant that suits any taste in North Conway, from barbecue to Thai and Indian, to locally sourced flatbread pizzas.


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