Friday, July 2, 2010

Plymouth Mountain, May 15, 2010

A few years ago I had attempted to hike Plymouth Mountain from the north by the Sutherland trail. I had no difficulty reaching the outlook called Pike's Peak, but found the trail hard to follow from the outlook to the summit. Time for a second attempt!

Since my May 15 hike I have returned to Plymouth Mountain several times, the pictures here are from several trips.


This 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 Plymouth Mtn in a larger map

At the time of my first attempt (a few years ago) the trail left from a residential road with no parking, so I had parked on the main road (Texas Hill Road) and walked about 0.6 miles along the residential road and an old logging road before the trail proper started. The bottom part of the trail has now been relocated, starting from a large parking lot

with lots of signs.  One is pictured below, see more on Plymouth Mtn on PicasaWeb.

The new trail segment (0.4 miles) is now called the Fauver Link Trail, after the Fauver Preserve that it crosses.

After 0.4 miles it meets the old logging road from which the trail was relocated

Here we rejoin the original trail

which enters the Plymouth Mountain Easement

 For a brief description of the preservation areas on and near Plymouth Mountain see the last item on EPA Presents Environmental Merit Awards to 6 in New Hampshire.

The part of the trail below Pike's Peak is in excellent condition, much of it very smooth

with lots of blue blazes

some painted over older disks

In mid-May there were lots of Trillium, both purple

and painted

After two miles the trail reaches a side path to a rocky knob with an excellent viewing ledge, called Pike's Peak.  It has potentially great views to the south, east and north, but since the mountains are far away any haze spoils the view, as it did on all my trips there.  The most interesting view is to the northeast, up Waterville Valley, with Welch and Dickey and their ledges in front of Tecumseh and Osceola

After Pike's Peak the trail changes nature pretty radically as it winds over a series of rocky ledges


beyond the ledges the trail goes back into the woods, with a sign pointing towards the summit

which has a sign

and a benchmark

The trail is 2½ miles each way, with about 1,500 feet of elevation gain.  That is very similar to the Indian Head Trail on Mount Pemigewasset, a trail I often used when I wanted a short hike.  The Mount Plymouth Trail is about the same distance from my home, and has much better footing, so I now hike it more often than the Indian Head Trail.

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