The shortest route to Mt. Parker is to use the Mt. Langdon Trail to link up with the Mt. Parker Trail. This route entails a round-trip distance of 7.8 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,800 ft. That round-trip distance and elevation gain is far greater than many of the 4K peaks, such as Mts. Osceola, Tecumseh, Hale, Jackson, Pierce, and Tom. Even a round-trip trek to Mt. Eisenhower via the Edmands Path is only 6.6 miles with an elevation gain of 2,750 ft.
Perhaps the distance and elevation gain involved for a mere 3K peak is part of the reason for this mountain's lack of popularity. Another possible deterrent is the fact that there is no practical way to include Mt. Parker as a part of a loop hike. It is an out-and-back hike via the same route. Plus, you need to ascend and descend Oak Ridge on the way to Mt. Parker, then ascend and descend this ridge again on the return leg of the hike. A sizeable chunk of the elevation gain for this hike results from ascending this ridgeline twice!
Whatever the reason for this mountain's lack of fame, it surely cannot be due to the lack of spectacular views in all directions. By far, the most striking view is looking northward up the Montalban Ridge and Rocky Branch valley toward Mt. Washington and the southern Presidentials. On my trek to Mt. Parker on 26-January, I took photo after photo of this particular view. A selection of these snapshots are shown below. Some are un-zoomed, whereas others are slightly zoomed, and one is a highly zoomed shot of Mt. Washington.
Besides the awesome view northward toward the Presidential Range, there are other views to the south, east and west that have a beauty of their own. Some of the more recognizable peaks and mountain ranges that can be seen include Mt. Resolution, Mt. Crawford, peaks in the Willey Range, the Twin Range, the Nancy Range, Mt. Carrigain, the Osceolas, Mt. Tremont, the Tripyramids, Mts. Whiteface, Passaconaway, and Chocorua, as well North Moat, the Wildcats, Carter Dome, peaks in the eastern Mahoosucs, the Baldfaces, the Doubleheads, plus Iron Mountain and Kearsarge North.
The next set of photos show just a small selection of some of the views mentioned above.
Way off in the distance, the westward view even includes the summits of Mts. Lincoln and Lafayette with a bit of Bondcliff showing below. The next photo is a highly zoomed snapshot of this view which is comparable to what you would see with binoculars.
And speaking of zoomed photos, shown below is a close-up of Chocorua as seen from Mt. Parker's summit.
The trail conditions on 26-January were perfect for snowshoes from trailhead to summit. There were some blowdowns along the route, but all were easily negotiated. Shown below is a typical section of the trail.
The first mile of the route (from the trailhead for the Mt. Langdon Trail to the boundary for the Presidential Range Dry River Wilderness) has recently been logged. Although I've hiked to Mt. Parker many times, this was the first time I've done so in the aftermath of the logging. With the snow-covered ground, things don't look too bad. There are a number of new logging roads diverging from the main roadway that the trail follows, such as shown in the photo below.
At points where it could be confusing as to which way the trail goes, there are signs to direct you. Also, there is a sign to direct you to Cave Mountain, whereas this spur trail was un-signed prior to the logging. The composite photo below shows the Cave Mountain sign, as well as a sample of the multiple signs along the mile-long route of the logging operation.
To sum it up, in my opinion, the trek to Mt. Parker is well-worth the 7.8 miles and 2,800 ft of elevation gain that it takes to get there. I suppose my only word of advice would be to choose a good viewing day when visiting this little mountain. It would be disappointing to travel that distance and gain all that elevation and then be unable to see all that Mt. Parker has to offer.