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Bethlehem, New Hampshire, United States
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08 August 2013

A Trek to Mt. Hale's East Peak

There are occasions when all I want is a short and quick hike to a spot with a good view.  To fulfill this yearning, I will sometimes do a trek to the massive ledges on East Hale (a.k.a. Mt. Hale-East Peak).

From my home in Bethlehem, I can be at the trailhead for the Hale Brook Trail in about 20 minutes.  From there, it takes me about an hour and half  to reach the ledges on East Hale by hiking about 0.6 mile up the Hale Brook Trail, and then heading off the south side of the trail and doing a steep 0.5 mile bushwhack through open woods.

The route that I briefly described above is my preferred route to the ledges on East Hale.  I've bushwhacked there via other routes from different directions, but this is the route that works best for me, despite its steepness (about 1,670 ft. elevation gain).

Just as a side note, besides Mt. Hale's East Peak (3,460 ft), there is also South Peak (3,680 ft), and North Peak (3,740 ft).  All three are reachable only by bushwhacking.  From various ledges on each of those sub peaks, there are views to be had.  And yet, Mt. Hale's main summit (4,054 ft) is nearly viewless due to dense tree growth that now blocks the excellent views which used to be there many years ago.  However, unlike its three sub peaks, it is accessible by a maintained hiking trail.

With that bit of trivia having been stated, let's now return to the topic of this Blog, i.e. East Hale.  Shown below are a series of photos which provide a sampling of some of the views from the ledges on the East Peak of Mt. Hale.
Zealand Notch with Mt. Carrigain and neighboring peaks in the background
Zoomed photo of Whitewall Mtn. with Mt. Carrigain and neighboring peaks in background
Presidential Range, as viewed from East Hale 
Mts. Tom, Field, Willey, as viewed from East Hale
Main summit of Mt. Hale, as viewed from East Hale ledges
Mt. Oscar Ledges (middle, right); Cherry Mtn (top, center); Pilot/Pliny Mtn Ranges (on distant horizon)
[FOOTNOTE: Click HERE for my blog posting about a trek to Mt. Oscar Ledges]
If anyone is wondering what the actual summit of East Hale looks like, then please take a look at the next photo!  The actual high point of this peak is a viewless, unimpressive spot that is surrounded by scrubby trees. 
Summit of East Hale
And speaking of trees, the next photo provides an example of the type of open-woods encountered while bushwhacking to the ledges on East Hale.
Example open-woods encountered while bushwhacking to the ledges on East Hale
And lastly, shown below is a Google Earth image which might help to give some perspective to the route used to reach East Hale, and where it is located in relation to Mt. Hale's main summit.
Google Earth image (click to enlarge)
To sum it up, I feel fortunate to have a variety of short hikes with great views like East Hale that are near to my home.  And I'm grateful for having the good health to take advantage of these magnificent hiking opportunities.


Rita Wechter said...

Hi John,

Good health is right—a 1670 ft. elevation gain over such a short distance is a killer on both the knees and the cardiovascular system!

You're also right about the excellent hiking opportunities near your home.
Looks like you had a fabulous day to fulfill your yearning for a short hike with wonderful views.

Here's to continued good health and great hikes!

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Rita,

Mega thanks for the well-wishes for continued good health and great hikes! Much appreciated.

East Hale is one of many gems in the NH White Mountain National Forest. If it was reachable via a hiking trail, it would certainly enjoy great popularity.


JustJoe said...

Great stuff John. East Hale is definitely the gem of the Hales. At least these days. I often wish the USFS did with Hale, as they did with Carrigain. It's the perfect location for 360* views. I guess East Hale will have to do. ;)

I need to make a return trip there on as nice a day you had. I got thick haze. Gorgeous photos.

Thanks for sharing,

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Joe,

Yes, wouldn't that be terrific if the Forest Service had the funding to construct a viewing tower on Hale's main summit. As you say, it's a great location for some terrific 360 degree views.

Hope your next trek to East Hale is on a clear day.

Thanks for your comments and for the kind words about the photos.