Recently I did a bushwhack to Millen Hill, NH. This short hike (about 2 miles round-trip) fit nicely with the time that I had available. And besides, 7 years had passed since I last visited this location.
The origin of Millen Hill's name is lost to history. However, it is interesting to me that a peak as small and insignificant as Millen Hill is shown and is named on a 1784 map of New Hampshire, particularly since only a few mountains are included on this old map, and even fewer are named. And even in the region known today as the Presidential Range, the individual high peaks are unnamed. They are merely lumped together with a nondescript moniker of "The White Hills" (see far right of map snippet shown below).
Snippet from "A Topographic Map of the Province of New Hampshire", surveyed by Samuel Holland, printed by William Faden, London, 1784
(For any reader who might want to view the entire map, click HERE.)
As the crow flies, Millen Hill is only about 3.5 miles from the top of Mt. Washington. In terms of its elevation, the summit canister labels it as 3,376 ft. Slightly different elevation numbers for this peak are shown on various maps and lists. For those interested in hiking lists, Millen Hill meets the criteria for inclusion on the list of NH 3,000 footers (click HERE to the view list).
There are herd paths directly opposite the Caps Ridge trailhead on the west side of Jefferson Notch Road which could tempt you to ascend via the east-facing slope of Millen Hill. However, this approach involves negotiating a massive number of downed trees. Several years ago, a very experienced individual advised me that it is far better to ascend via Millen Hill's north-facing slope.
Following this advice, I began my bushwhack off the west side of Jefferson Notch Road, but at a point about 350 ft north of the Caps Ridge trailhead parking lot. From there, a WSW trajectory was followed before heading nearly due south to ascend the north-facing slope of Millen Hill. A GPS track wasn't ran for this hike, but a rough depiction of my route is shown on the map below.
|Rough depiction of my route to Millen Hill|
Bushwhacking via this route is extremely easy. There are open woods with fern patches and mossy areas.
|Attractive woods for bushwhacking|
|Antler shed seen along route to Millen Hill|
If you bushwhack southward from Millen Hill's summit for about a 100+ ft through some moderately thick scrub, you will find a tiny ledge/rocky area which offers some nice vistas toward the east, south and west. But as you might suspect from the photo shown below, these are "stand-up" views only. :-)
|This is the tiny ledge/rocky area on Millen Hill from which photos were taken.|
(This snapshot was taken looking westward with the Presidential Range at my back.)
The next two photos were taken from Millen Hill looking eastward.
|Panorama of eastward view from Millen Hill. (View begins with Mt. Jefferson on far left, and progresses southward to peaks in southern Presidential Range)|
|Slightly zoomed view of Mt. Washington from Millen Hill|
Shooting photos into the late-day western sun can be challenging. Nonetheless, shown below is a poorly lit view from Millen Hill looking westward toward Bretton Woods and surrounding peaks.
|View from Millen Hill looking westward toward Bretton Woods and surrounding peaks|
I thought it might be of interest to include a snapshot taken on my previous visit to Millen Hill in early October 2008. As can be seen, there was a light skiff of snow on the Presidential Range, and a cog railway car was billowing smoke while en route to the top of Mt. Washington.
|Photo was taken on my previous visit to Millen Hill in early October 2008|
To sum it up, Millen Hill is a worthy destination, but is primarily known only to peakbaggers and those who simply enjoy the challenge and rewards of off-trail travel.