Winter hiking??

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Sgt. Pepper

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Aug 3, 2022
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With winter just around the corner I was hoping to get some recommendations for some trails to definitely check out this winter. Last season was our first winter really getting out there. Here’s what I’ve done in the winter….
Lonesome lake/cannon
Tom & Field
Willard & Avalon
Chocoura w/Champney falls

Looking for some hidden gems to check out. Thanks in advance
Mar 3, 2004
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Merrimac MA
Crawford is beautiful on a nice winter day, excellent views, generally well packed out and in line with some of the hikes you mentioned.

Mike P.

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Sep 19, 2003
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Colchester, CT
So, you did some popular hikes and if you did Willard and Avalon on the same day, that's over 2,000 feet + of elevation. Parts of Field and Tom and Tecumseh are moderate to kind of steep in places. if there are hidden gems, you run the risk of them not being well packed out and you may find yourself breaking trail. If possible, go Tuesday - Thursday, Monday and Friday are still less crowded than Saturday.

Chocoura has the same type of exposure than you find on Pierce & Jackson and the same elevation gain as you start much lower than Crawford Notch.

Assuming you have snowshoes and at least microspikes, places like: Potash, Kearsarge North, Pierce, Jackson, Imp, Martha, Mt. Pemi, Middle Sugarloaf (1 mile road walk usually very well-traveled),Crawford Dome, Peaked and Middle in the Green Hills, and Liberty. Liberty and Pierce both have a limited amount of exposure, you get out there and can get back in if it's not very nice. The Kearsarge North parking lot is small so a weekday is best or very early. Jackson isn't hard, however, getting up the first part of the summit cone can be interesting depending on the snow/ice cover.


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Sep 3, 2003
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Gorham NH
Kearsage North on the Bartlette Conway line is hard to beat with enclosed fire tower with 360 degrees views, much of the lower trail is south facing but the summit cone in on the west/NW side so it can cool down quick . Traction is required as it can ice up. Its used a lot by locals so it usually broken out. Parking can be hassle. South Moats off the Passaconaway Road is also south facing with good wind coverage to the west. Its used a lot by locals. It can be cool at the top. Another bring traction trail.
Mt Pierce via the Crawford path is the hard to beat, its got great wind cover and super well graded with hard to beat view. The last 200 yards loses the wind cover and its a sample of what someone can run into on more exposed summits. The trail can be sidewalk down low but can drift in with snow up high and spruce traps can be challenge. Mt Jackson is similar but there is steep ledge just prior to the summit that frequently is icy and traction is almost always required. It can be cold on the summit. If its nice day the detour to Webster via the AT and then down the Webster Jackson trail makes a nice loop but the trail along the ridge can fill up with snow quickly and deeply even though the trail up is broken.

Note most trails are broken out within 2 or 3 days of a snowstorm and many neophytes skip carrying snow shoes. That is a rookie mistake and shows that they lack any winter hiker cred. Buy snowshoes, figure out an easy to do way to attach and detach the snowshoes from the pack with gloves on and take them for a walk. If you start to posthole, put them on and come to the realization that you should have put them on 15 minutes ago;)

Chocorua has a summit cone that can be challenge to new hikers. There is no easy way to get to the actual summit without traversing steep ledges in spots. For these who do not like heights, it may not be great one to start on.

The Welch Dickey loop is hard to beat but there is some exposed ledge on the ascent. Its quite sunny and the parking lot is plowed for a lot of folsk. Almost everyone does is counter clockwise so even if there are lot of people out on the trail it doesnt seem that crowded.

The other standard warning is have two hikes planned and a backup. Listen to the Mt Washington Forecast the night before but before getting out of the car at the trailhead in the AM check the morning update and decide if the weather is good enough for your primary hike, if not consider a backup hike

The RMC local trails in Randolph are shorter but some have good views. Lookout Ledge from Randolph Hill road is a short hike without a lot of elevation. If you want a bit more workout, do it as an out and back via the Ledges Trail from Durand Road. I am biased as part of it goes across my property;)