For the past 7 years I've been the volunteer Trail Maintainer for the Martha's Mile Trail located atop Cherry Mountain. And 2 years ago, I assumed the additional responsibility for maintenance of the Cherry Mountain Trail (east side). The reason I specify "east side" is because the more popular "west side" of this trail is beautifully maintained by an individual who prefers to be identified only as a "Friend of the Forest".
On 09-June-2013, I did maintenance work on both the Cherry Mountain Trail (east side), and on Martha's Mile. Over the years, I've frequently met hikers on the Martha's Mile Trail, as well as on the Cherry Mountain Trail (west side). But surprisingly enough, I've never met another hiker on the Cherry Mountain Trail (east side)!
Presumably, the route from the east side is less travelled because it is the longest of the three routes to Cherry Mountain. The three routes are as follows:
1) Approach from west side: Cherry Mountain Trail from trailhead located on Rt. 115
2) Approach from north side: Owl's Head Trail: trailhead also located on Rt. 115
3) Approach from east side: Cherry Mountain Trail from trailhead located on Cherry Mtn Rd.
(Up until about 15 or so years ago, there was a 4th route, i.e. the Black Brook Trail which approached from the south.)
The table shown below contains some stats about hiking the 3 existing routes to Cherry Mountain. The stats for all 3 routes assumes the hike will include both the Mt. Martha and Owl's Head peaks, and that the hike will begin and end at the same trailhead. For the sake of simplicity, I've omitted other variations, such as spotting a car at a different trailhead, and/or only hiking to one of the two peaks on Cherry Mountain.
|Stats regarding hiking to both Mt. Martha and Owl's Head from the 3 trailheads|
From studying the above table, you'll see that the east side approach is definitely longer than the other two. However, it has the least amount of elevation gain, owing primarily to the fact that the trailhead elevation is at 1,650 ft.
Of the 3 approaches, I prefer the gentle grade of the Cherry Mountain Trail (east side), even though it is a longer route. For about the first 1.5 miles of the trail, there are occasional muddy spots, especially during the Springtime. Despite that, the footway is generally smooth and a pleasure to walk on.
Cherry Mountain is a popular hike, and as a result, numerous trip reports are generated by hikers each year. In addition to this one, I alone have written 6 other reports about Cherry Mountain! If you're interested in accessing those reports, the links are listed below.
Shown below are a series of 8 photos that I've taken at various times of the year during my travels to Cherry Mountain. The first photo is my favorite (to date). It was taken in late Autumn of 2008 when I met a young couple atop Owl's Head, and who graciously agreed to pose for a photo.
|From Owl's Head in late Autumn|
|From Mt. Martha in early Spring|
|From Owl's Head in Winter|
|From Owl's Head in Summer|
|Sunset on Presidential Range as viewed from Mt. Martha in mid-Winter|
|Franconia Range as viewed from Mt. Martha in early Spring|
|Crawford Notch as viewed from Owl's Head in Summer|
|Zoomed photo of summit of Mt. Washington as viewed from Owl's Head|
To sum it up, regardless of which route you choose, or what season of the year you hike to Cherry Mountain, there are many marvelous vistas for your viewing pleasure . . . weather permitting, of course! :-)