Monday, June 22, 2020

Bald Peak - Mountain View at less than 3,000 feet

Last week, after visiting Sugar Hill to see the lupines, my friend Kaley and I decided to tackle a hike in the area before heading back to the Seacoast.  Bald Peak came up in my All Trails search as being in the area, having a view, and being a moderate climb.  The 4.5 mile out-and-back trail was lightly trafficked on a June Tuesday afternoon and all I hoped for - moderate climb and amazing summit views all to ourselves.  

Enjoying a view with dog on Bald Peak, White Mountains

Here's how to recreate this adventure...

Adventure: Mt. Kinsman Trail to Bald Peak

Getting there: The Mt. Kinsman trailhead is located just north of Franconia Notch State park in Franconia, NH.  To get there from the Seacoast or Massachusetts, take I-93 North through Franconia Notch.  Take exit 34 C onto NH-18  North toward Echo Lake.  Follow NH-18 north 6 miles and turn left onto Kerr Rd which turns into Wells Rd. After 2 miles, turn left onto NH-116 South.  The trailhead is 2 miles down this road on the left. There is a small parking lot.  There is no fee box or bathrooms.  It is two hours from my home in Rochester/Dover area.

Waterfall on Mt Kinsman Trail
Waterfall along Mt Kinsman Trail

The trail is mostly a steady uphill climb.  Although strenuous to constantly climb up, there is no technical slab, rocks, or slides on this hike.  We slowly climbed through hardwood forest, passing what I assume is some sort of maple shack in the first quarter mile.  The last mile or so we were rewarded with some small stream crossings including some beautiful cascades and a small waterfall.  Water was low and it was easy to cross.  
    The last quarter mile we reached the junction for the Bald Peak spur.  Turn right and follow the spur trail that brings you to the open peak.  The "summit" rewards you with a gorgeous 270 degree view of the Kinsmans and northern Franconia Notch.  There's a large open rock slab with a boulder sitting in the middle. We loved sitting in the sun and enjoying the view.  Kaley even said she thinks it's more impressive than Mt Willard (I disagree).  To return to the car, go back the same way you came up.  It is an out-and-back trail.

Difficulty: Moderate.  The steady uphill climb can make you really huff and puff and small brook crossings can be somewhat challenging but there's no technical hiking/climbing skills needed.

Bald Peak Spur Trail
Bald Peak Spur Trail
Distance: 4.5 miles total 


- There are no bathroom facilities available at the trail head. 

- Parking is free.

- Hike this in June and pair it with a trip to see the Sugar Hill lupines!

- This is a dog friendly hike.  Please be considerate to hikers and leash your dog when approaching others.

Panorama of summit of bald peak
Panorama of summit of Bald Peak

A Perfect Day

Combine wildflower viewing with a White Mountain hike and stellar views made for a perfect day in the Whites.  Perhaps I will have to recreate this next June!

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View of Mount Kinsman from Bald Peak in the White Mountains
View of Mount Kinsman from Bald Peak