Pine Mountain (2,405 ft) in Gorham, NH is one of several short hikes in the White Mountains that provide a big reward for little effort. A hike such as this is especially nice when you have only a limited amount of time available. Such was the case for me on 09-Sep-2013!
Before getting into the details of my hike, it should be noted that there is a 100-acre tract at the top of Pine Mountain which is known as the Douglas Horton Center. It is a religious facility operated by the NH Conference of the United Church of Christ. A portion of the hiking trails pass through this tract of land. Hikers are welcome, but are requested to avoid disturbing any religious activities (occurring mostly during the summer months) that may be in progress.
My trek to Pine Mountain was done as a loop beginning at the trailhead located on Pinkham B Road. The outbound leg involved walking a portion of the Pine Mountain Road to join up with the Ledge Trail, and then hiking the full length of that trail, plus a small segment of the Pine Mountain Trail. For the return leg, I walked the full length of the Pine Mountain Road back to my car. This entire loop is only 3.5 miles, and it involves an 850 ft elevation gain.
|Map showing the route used for this hike (CLICK TO ENLARGE)|
The Ledge Trail leads you to bare rock ledges that are frequently referred to as the south cliffs. From here there are expansive vistas to the south and west. I particularly like the view looking toward Pinkham Notch where the peaks in the Carter Range are fully displayed (next photo).
|View from Pine Mountain's south cliffs toward Pinkham Notch; Carter Range on left|
At the top of the south cliffs is an excellent example of "glacial striation" (long, straight grooves cut into bedrock by rocks embedded in a glacier as it passed over the surface).
|Glacial striation on south cliffs area of Pine Mountain|
|Another view of glacial striation on south cliffs area of Pine Mountain|
The top of Pine Mountain is wooded. The footings from the old fire tower are still there, but that's all there is to see.
|Footings from old fire tower that once stood on summit of Pine Mountain|
The summit of Pine Mountain is the terminus for both the Ledge Trail and the Pine Mountain Trail. At the summit, I picked up the Pine Mountain Trail and hiked it northward for a short distance over to Chapel Rock (sometimes referred to as Pulpit Rock). Along the route are several side paths leading to outlooks on the east side of the trail. From the northern most outlook is a nice view of Chapel Rock and the Androscoggin Valley (next photo).
|Chapel Rock and the Androscoggin Valley as viewed from an outlook along Pine Mtn Trail|
There is an attractive boardwalk along the route to Chapel Rock from the summit of Pine Mountain.
|Attractive boardwalk along the way to Chapel Rock from the summit of Pine Mountain|
At the top of Chapel Rock you will see a cross, which is in-keeping with the religious nature of the Horton Center.
|A cross located at top of Chapel Rock|
From the top of Chapel Rock there are views looking toward Pinkham Notch that are similar to the vistas seen from the south cliffs area, and from the various outlooks along the Pine Mountain Trail. However, Chapel Rock is the best spot for a westward view looking down the Moose River Valley in the Randolph area (next photo).
|Looking down the Moose River Valley (Randolph area), as viewed from Chapel Rock|
To sum it up, Pine Mountain is near the top of my list of short hikes that provide a big reward for little effort. Although I don't always write a blog report, I often do short hikes such as this to a variety of locations when my time is limited.
FOOTNOTE: A few years ago I hiked to Pine Mountain from the trailhead at the end of Promenade Street in downtown Gorham, NH. If you're interested in reading my blog report about that trek, click/tap HERE. Also, I have posted a more recent report describing a hike to Pine Mountain using the trail from Promenade Street in Gorham. Click/tap HERE to view that report.