The plan was to combine two short, but very scenic, hikes that start at the same trailhead for a full day of hiking. Since we had heard that the stream crossing on the Mount Potash Trail was difficult we opted to drive 0.6 miles to the logging road that meets the trail, avoiding the crossing.
MapThis is a fully interactive Google Map. You can zoom in or out, pan, and by clicking on the parking icon you can get directions to the trailhead.
View Mount Potash and Hedgehog Mountain in a larger map
Mount PotashWe followed the logging road for about 0.8 miles, then entered the woods. At that time the weather had warmed enough for me to take off the fleece, but I still kept the pant legs on. The hike up was mostly in the woods, with a few steep sections and long stretches of eroded trail, with roots running over bare rock. Shortly before the final summit ascent there is an open ledge with excellent views to the south, with Mount Passaconaway dominating the view, with the Downes Brook slide clearly visible.
The final ascent was over steep ledges, we were too busy trying to get up to have time for pictures! The summit has excellent views to the north and west. To the north the view is dominated by Mount Carrigain, with the Hancocks to the west and Green's Cliff to the south
To the west the Tripyramids and their neighbors, I think this photo shows West Sleeper, the Tripyramids and Scaur Peak, with the Fool Killer in the foreground
Mount Washington was visible in the distance, my photos were bad, here is one taken by another member of our group
The day had warmed up nicely, and we spent about 20 minutes on the summit, snacking, talking, enjoying the scenery and just relaxing.
Descending the steep ledge was tricky, but we all got down, and soon were on the outlook. We paused briefly there, and I finally converted my pants to shorts. It was warm enough that, with us standing still, a few black flies appeared, not really enough for bug spray. The rest of the descent was uneventful. Two members of the group were red lining, so they decided to follow the trail to the parking lot; they reported that the stream crossing was quite easy.
After regrouping at the trailhead we started our second hike, on the UNH Trail on Hedgehog Mountain. As usual we did a clockwise loop. Fairly low down we saw a very interesting tree (photo by a fellow hiker):
The hike was pretty standard until we reached the east ledges, where we stopped for 40 minutes, enjoying once again the views, the company and the wonderful weather. Wide open views to the south, but different from those on the south ledge of Mount Potash as we were further east. We saw the whole range from Mount Passaconaway to Mount Chocurua and the Three Sisters, but my camera was mainly drawn to the latter. A photo of Mount Chocuua and the Three Sisters
and a close up of Mount Chocurua's rugged summit
The ledge had a wonderful stone bench which I quickly claimed
After our long and delightful stop on the ledges we resumed the hike, with some nice ledge walking, a moderate descent, and a final steep climb to the summit. We took brief stops at most of the viewpoints, but by then were pretty much photographed out. From the summit we descended straight to the parking lot, omitting a visit to Allen's Ledge.
All in all an extremely enjoyable hike on a wonderful day. We got a decent workout, 8.6 miles and 2,850 feet of elevation gain, without ever being above 2,600 feet!