Back in the Whites: Hedgehog Mountain

As much as I enjoy trying different places, or returning to locations I haven't been to in a while, there's no doubt that it always feels good to go back to the White Mountains, the most well known hiking region in New England. All of the 4,000 footers of New Hampshire can be found here, which is one of the main reasons for the regions popularity. The other being the number of short, yet beautiful hikes, one of which being Hedgehog Mountain.


The summit of Hedgehog Mountain as seen from the lower ledges.

This short mountain can be found along the Kancamagus Highway, along a short loop trail. We arrived at the trailhead early on an extremely hot day. After finding the trailhead, we started up the UNH Trail. It was set in a pleasant forest, at an easy grade. It took no time until we reached the loop junction, where we continued toward the east ledges.

The path to the loop junction.
The loop junction.
Most of the signs were recently replaced.

The path never got steep, and continued at a constant easy grade. It passed through some large boulders, until it arrived at some wooded ledges. Even though the day was very hot, water was plentiful, mostly at spots you wouldn't expect. We soon found the east ledges, which offered beautiful views out toward Mt.Chocorua, Mt.Paugus, and Mt.Passaconaway.

Going up the trail.
From the east ledges: Mt.Chocorua can be seen over the first ridge.
The view northeast toward Bear Mountain, Table Mountain,
and the Moat Range.
A prominent view of Mt.Passaconaway.
Square Ledge is visible in the front to the left.

At this point, the trail lead to a large cliff area, with great views looking up to the summit, which wasn't far from here. I need to mention once again how unbearable the heat was, and also how hazy the skies were. This mountain is truly beautiful, you just need the right day for the best experience. Either way, this cliff had an excellent view looking toward Mt.Passaconaway and Square Ledge.

The summit visible from the lower ledges.
Mt.Paugus (right) with Mt.Chocorua in the far distance.
Another great view over toward Mt.Passaconaway and Square Ledge.

We reentered the trees, then climbed beneath the summit cliffs for a ways until the trail found a spot to climb easily up to the summit. It climbed somewhat more abruptly until it reached a long spine of rock, which the trail followed closely. It continued to go in and out of the trees for a while, with occasional views to Mt.Passaconaway.

Some of the cliffs along the trail.
The view from one of the ledges.

The summit area is marked with a yellow "X" atop a rock.  There are a few clusters of trees atop the summit, but there is a great viewpoint looking west. Many iconic peaks in the White Mountains can be seen from here, including the Tripyramids, the Hancocks, and even an excellent view into Carrigain Notch.


The vast view from the summit.
Mt.Potash is visible in the foreground, with Mt.Huntington
in center shot. The Hancocks are seen to the right.
The Tripyramids as seen from the summit ledges.
The Fool Killer (that's a mountain) can be seen behind the ridge in the foreground.
Green Cliff with Mt.Carrigain (tallest) and Carrigain Notch in the background.
The Sandwich Range

After taking in the scenery for a while, we continued down the trail to Allen's Ledge, which can be found at the end of a short side trail. The ledge rose out of the treeline to give great views looking over the Swift River valley. The ledge had a great view of Bear Mountain, and Mt.Washington could just barely be seen through the haze.


The trail down the mountain.
Brand new sign for Allen's Ledge.
Mt.Tremont, Bartlett Haystack, and Bear Mountain from Allen's Ledge.
Mt.Chocorua as seen from the ledges.
The Moat Range

While bigger mountains that don't get much attention are always a delight, smaller hikes like Hedgehog Mountain can't be ignored. It's great to know about secret peaks, or hikes that nobody knows about, but hiking popular mountains like this are always scenic and easy. No wonder they're so popular.

6 comments:

  1. Another "Evan's pick" to add to my ever growing list of places to explore...

    The cliffs along the trail look really neat to scout out.

    "Fool Killer"...I'd be interested to hear a lot more about that one. Future blog entry I'm sure, so i'll be watching for it...

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    1. Thank you for reading! The Fool Killer doesn't actually have any trails on it, in fact, it got it's name in the early days from people who tried bushwhacking up to the Tripyramids, but instead accidentally ending up atop The Fool Killer instead! A unique story for sure!

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  2. Another great hike and blog to document it! Keep it up!

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    1. Thank you for reading and commenting! I'll have more coming out this month!

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