Friday, June 1, 2018

Hike Black Mountain and Explore the Old Lime Kilns

Colors of a Pike NH Home

Haverhill (Pike Township), NH

Black Mountain in Pike is one of the many mountains in NH that once had a fire tower atop it. It is a very scenic mountain with great views from the summit.

The Chippewa Trail is the most popular approach to Black Mountain because it has many viewpoints and is well marked with yellow blazes. It is a short but rigorous hike (1.9 miles).

If you are intrigued by the name, Lime Kiln Road then you will want to do some exploring during your hike because hidden from most visitors is an historic treat that most hikers miss. At just about .3 miles the Chippewa trail bisects an old road. To continue the hike, you will bear right for a short distance and then left onto the trail once again. This area is private land so please treat it respectfully. However, instead of hiking directly up the trail, take a sidetrip to the left when you reach the woods road. If you look carefully, shortly after you have started walking on this road, you will see another abandoned road leading off to the right just after a small stream. Less than 100 yards into the woods you will come upon the abandoned Lime Kilns. After you have explored the Kilns and returned to the road, continue a bit further and you will come to an area where there is an abandoned CCC Camp. You will be astounded by the example of stonework done by these intrepid folks during the era of our great depression. The CCC Camp is on private property so don't venture too far or you'll end up in someone's back yard but there is plenty to see without venturing too far.

This point can be reached by following NH Route 25 W from Exit 26 off I-93 about 30 miles to the hamlet of East Haverhill (about 9 miles past the junction with NH Route 118 in Warren). Turn R on Lime Kiln Road, angle L at 1.5 miles where Page Road goes straight, and look for dirt parking area on R about 3.2 miles from NH Route 25 with trail sign at the edge of the woods.
Returning to the trail you will then rail ascends more steeply in red pine woods with many waterbars and well fashioned stone steps, passing a boundary marker and blue blazes for Black Mountain State Forest after about a mile. Where the marked trail switches back to the L, an obvious but unsigned dead-end path angles R to a viewpoint, then descends along the base of some cliffs. If you take a side trip here you will discover a boulder cave.

At this point the main trail ascends very steeply until it reaches an area of smaller softwoods, where an unmarked path to the right leads to another view ledge and still another shortly thereafter. The trail then begins to emerge into the open with wide ledges and smaller trees with views of the summit ahead. At 1.9 miles you will come to a trail junction with the Black Mountain trail. Turn right and ascend the final 50 yards to the summit. There are good view both north and south from this summit.
Maps: USGS East Haverhill
AMC Moosilauke-Kinsman

Directions to the trailhead: Rte 25 to the Pike Township of Haverhill. Take Lime Kiln Road and travel 3.2 miles north to a parking area on the right hand side of the road.

Two stone lime kilns stand off the Chippewa Trail near Black Mountain in Haverhill, well-preserved survivors of an important 19th century industry. Mined limestone, rare in New Hampshire, was heated in the kilns until it turned into powdered lime, which was then packed in barrels and shipped throughout New England for use in agriculture, as mortar and in a wide variety of other products. Built in 1838 and 1842, the kilns operated successfully for approximately 50 years, aided by the close proximity of acres of woodland for fuel and the Concord, Boston & Montreal Railroad for transport. The Civilian Conservation Corps and other government work programs occupied the site in the Depression, repairing one of the kilns in 1940-41. Today the Haverhill Heritage Commission is working with the property owners to keep the kiln site cleared and open for public access.

1 comment:

  1. Does anyone remember the "Hostel" that was there in the 70's called "The Lime Kilns"? There were a bunch of cabins and they were open for almost 3 seasons a year. A very cool "Hippie" family owned and operated it. -
    The O' Shaughnesseys.