Saturday, June 18, 2016

Mount Kearsarge North - 360 Views in the Heart of North Conway

Summit of Mount Kearsarge North
I was just over a month postpartum and looking for White Mountain adventures.  My first venture was to tackle Mt. Willard in Crawford Notch which is just over 3 miles round trip.  Next, I wanted to try something with more mileage but no big ledges or rock scrambles (since we would have the baby in-tow and our balance/line of sight would be off.  Matt and I decided to try Mount Kearsarge North right in North Conway.  It was the perfect choice - longer mileage (6.2 miles round trip), no challenging terrain, and just minutes from Moat Mountain Brewery post-hike.  I loved this hike and would love to do it again soon!

Here's how to recreate this adventure...

Adventure: Mount Kearsarge North
Evergreen Forest at the start of the trail.

Getting there:  We took Rt 16 North through North Conway.  Just north of town you will pass the visitor viewpoint on the left.  Soon after, turn right onto Hurricane Mountain Road.  Take this road until you reach the trailhead (marked on left).  There are a few parking spots or park on the road.

Trail: The trail is fairly easy terrain but it is a constant uphill climb.  As a result, I was sore for days after!  The trail begins through an evergreen forest - rare to find in lower elevation in the Whites.  I almost felt like I was back in the West!  After a mile, you transition into the tranditional hardwoods.  In the last mile, we got back into boreal/evergreens and some easy slab with peaking views of the Whites and North Conway.

Although the summit is only a 3,000-footer, you can enjoy 360 degree views of the southern White Mountain range.  Climb up into the firetower for even better views and escape from the wind.  This was a wonderful hike with a fabulous view.  Since it is out-and-back, we returned the way we came.

Views from the trail.
Difficulty:  Moderate.  There was no tricky footwork needed but it was a constant and steady uphill for over three miles.

Distance: 3.1 miles one way/ 6.2 out-and-back total.


- Get there early.  Parking is limited and because of its proximity to North Conway, the trail can be popular.

- There is no bathrooms or facilities at the parking lot.

- Plan ahead and be prepared. Weather in the White Mountains can change quickly and without warning.  Bring plenty of water, snacks, rain/sun gear, and first aid.

Slabby portion of trail near summit
We loved our White Mountain adventure.  It was a wonderful hike and gorgeous view.  After our hike, we drove down 16 to Moat Mountain Brewpub where we enjoyed brews and burgers before returning to southern New Hampshire.  Until next time...

360 degree views from the firetower.

You might also enjoy these adventures...

Welch-Dickey Loop - Amazing Views in the Heart of the White Mountains

Mt. Carrigan Loop - 4000 footer and More

Mt. Moosilauke - Moderate Hike for a Major View

Summit views on a cloudy day.