Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hiking and Biking Cherry Mountain in Twin Mountain, NH

Cherry Mountain has two peaks with trails, Mount Martha, the highest peak, with good views, and Owl's Head, a lower peak with a ledge that has spectacular views. Both are commonly reached by taking the Cherry Mountain Trail from the NH 115 end to Mt. Martha, then taking Martha's Mile to the Owl's Head, returning the same way.

The round trip is 5.4 miles with 2,450 feet of elevation gain, AMC book time is 3:55. It is possible to just do Owl's Head by the Owl's Head trail, this is 5.0 miles with 2,000 feet of elevation gain and a book time of 3:30 hours.

Cherry Mountain Loop
Rte 302
Twin Mountain
Bike (Upper Intermediate Level)

The Cherry Mountain Loop is a 25 miles long traverse of a number of wooded roads, offering intermediate level challenges over a variety of terrain. Three waterfalls, a number of spectacular views, and the highest elevation state highway in New Hampshire are the main attractions.

The trailhead is located three miles east of Twin Mountain, NH on route 302 in the parking area 200 yards beyond the entrance to Zealand Campground.

Departure point: Lower Falls Hiking Trail to Cherry Mountain Road (1 mile) . Part of this unpaved road follows the Deception Brook Esker, a sand and gravel deposit left by the retreating glaciers. At the height of land (2188 ft.), the Cherry Mountain Hiking Trail diverges left. A 3.5 mile side trail to the 3544 ft. summit of Mt. Martha is suitable for mountain bikes and the views are worth the trip. The main loop trail continues on the Cherry Mountain Road past several private cabins, turning right on the gravel Mill Brook Road which is marked FR93.

Follow this road for 1 mile to the gated Mt. Mitten Road on the left. The gate is closed to prohibit motor vehicles, but foot travel and mountain bikes are allowed. The Mt. Mitten Road continues through remote country for several miles ending at the Jefferson Notch Road. Turn right (uphill) and be aware that this is a popular backroad for scenic road afficiandos. Jefferson Notch is 3007 ft. in elevation making this road the highest state highway in New Hampshire.

The Caps Ridge hiking trail starts at the trailhead located in Jefferson Notch, but is unsuitable for mountain bikes. The road follows Jefferson Brook and passes by Bretton Woods Cascades before meeting the Base Station Road (paved). Take a right (west) on the Base Station Road for approximately 5 miles to Route 302. At the junction of Route 302 and the Base Station Road, turn right. Travel west along Route 302 to the starting point.


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