Located in Wilmont, NH is Mt. Kearsarge. This has been on my list to do for a while as my daughter and i have been trying to finish the Fire Tower Challenge, which we have been procrastinating on. I am motivated to finish this challenge this year so we took a little trip to explore the mountain.
We hiked Pitcher Mountain in Stoddard on the way up to Kearsarge so we could check off two fire towers.
I should have done more research before heading to Kearsarge. Our goal was to go up the auto road and hike the trail up to the fire tower. I did not realize there were two entrances to the mountain First we went to Winslow State Park. Here is access to some hiking trails and a picnic spot, but not the auto road. Thankfully the Rangers were very nice and called over to Rollins State Park , where the auto road is located and let them know we were coming and we did not have to pay the park entrance fee again. The parks are about 30 minutes away from each other.
Once we found the correct park, it is about a three and half mile drive up the auto road to a parking lot and picnic area. This was a great place to have lunch before we headed up to the fire tower.
From the parking area there are two trails, the Lincoln Trail, which we were told was rough, steep and had big boulders. Since we only had sneakers we opted to take the Rollins Trail to the top. Both trails are about a half mile. The trail was rockier and steeper than I expected.
It was also muddy in spots despite the lack of rain we have had. A couple sections of the trail had large rubber mats that my daughter called the magic carpet. I was not a fan of these as they did not feel stable to walk on. I am not sure why they had them on the trail.
There are some beautiful views along the trail, but the view from the top is amazing.
You get a 365 degree view of the area. With such little effort, it is a huge reward. The fire tower was closed, it looked like they were making some repairs to it.
The only thing I wish we had brought was our hiking boots due to the multiple loose rocks on the trail and at times it being so steep you could easily twist an ankle. I saw that some places classified this trail as easy, but I would say it is more the easy side of moderate. If you are looking for a short hike with a magnificent reward this hike is worth the drive up the mountain.