Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Perfect Fall Foliage Hike

Chocorua Lake with Mount Chocorua in background
If you are looking for beautiful fall foliage, lake and mountain views, and a moderate hike, than Mount Chocorua is for you!  This peak has multiple ascents, but after a fresh rain the night before, I chose to adventure up the Champney Falls trail where I could get a view of the falls on the way.

Adventure:  Mount Chocorua via the Champney Brook Trail
Hiking on Mount Chocura

Getting there:  The trailhead is located on the south side of the Kancamangus Highway.  From southern New Hampshire, take Rt. 16 North, and turn left onto 112/Kancamangus Highway.  The trailhead parking lot is located 11 miles down on the left.  There is a small dirt lot.

Trail:  The Champney Falls trail started out with a small river crossing.  We continued up on an easy trail through colorful hardwood forest.  The trees were yellow, red, and orange.  After about 1.5 miles, we reached Champney Falls.  We took a break and explored the area, ate a snack, and rested.

Trail head to Champney Brook Trail
Continuing up, the trail turns into a steep set of stairs.  This leg burner continues for about a half mile and eventually returns to an easy-moderate grade.  At 3.3 miles, we reached the Piper trail/Champney Falls trail junction and continued up to the open rocky peak.  Follow the blazes and cairns over a moderate-difficult slab to reach the summit of Mount Chocura (3500 feet) at 4 miles.  There are amazing view from everywhere on the uninterrupted summit.  We enjoyed lunch on a small ledge that protected us from the wind and gave us a colorful view of the changing leaves below.  After lunch, we continued down the same way we came.  Watch the signs closely or consult your map...you wouldn't want to head down the wrong trail!

Some slab climbing required at the summit of Chocura.
Difficulty: The trail ranges from easy to moderate.  The hardest part is the summit's rocky slab which
has some difficult steps.  Take care...under wet or windy conditions. It could be very dangerous.

Distance:  4 miles one way.  8 miles out-and-back.





Fall leaves along trail

Champney Falls
Recommendations:

- This is a popular hike.  To guarantee a parking spot and avoid the crowds, arrive early.

- If coming from the south, make a stop at Chocura lake - I enjoyed early morning light on the beautiful lake and views of the peak.  Along the Kancamangus Highway, I enjoyed stopping at the Covered Bridge campground and also at Rocky Gorge along the Swift River.

- There are no bathrooms at the trail head.

- You need a White Mountain National Forest parking permit to park at the trail head.  The cost at the trail head is $3 per vehicle per day.  Bring exact change.





Covered Bridge along the Kancamangus Highway
Fall colors at Chocura Lake
For more fall foliage hike ideas...




Summit perched at summit

Please leave comments and questions below...

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