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05 September 2015

Currier Mountain (NH): Fire Tower Long Gone, But Good Views Remain

An afternoon of off-trail trekking led me to Currier Mountain (once known as Pine Peak).  This little 2,790 ft peak is situated between Cherry Mountain and the northern Presidential Range.  It was once the site of a fire tower that was in operation from 1916 to 1934, and was removed in the 1940s.  As I understand it, the tower was built primarily to keep watch over the major logging slash on the northern slopes of the Presidential Range.

There are no longer any maintained trails to Currier Mountain. However, there are several ways to access it via a combination of bushwhacking, old logging roads, and the Corridor 11 snowmobile trail.  Most commonly, treks are launched from either Mill Brook Road (FR 93), or from Jefferson Notch Road.  I've used both approach routes and have no particular preference.

For this particular hike, I chose an approach that began from Mill Brook Road (see map below).  Using this route, it was a round-trip journey of about 6 miles.

Most topographic maps (including the one presented below) show the segment I followed between Mill Brook Road and the point where a sharp ESE turn was made toward Currier Mountain.  

The sharp turn was made to access another old logging road that doesn't show up on any topographic maps that I've seen. Nonetheless, this old corridor is there, it's easy to follow, and it does show up as a faint line on Google Earth.  Accessing this old roadway involves a short bushwhack to work around a swampy area at the beginning.  Also, another short bushwhack is required at the other end of this corridor to make the final climb to Currier Mountain.
Map showing my route to Currier Mountain
The vast majority of my route involved old logging roads and the Corridor 11 snowmobile trail.  I'll readily admit that this isn't the best time of year to be traveling these types of corridors since summer weeds are still abundantly present!   But, presumably due to traffic from the local animal population (moose, etc) and the occasional human traveler, there was a very discernible pathway through the weeds.  However, you wouldn't know it from viewing the photo shown below!
Believe it or not, there is a defined pathway through all the weeds!
The views from the old fire tower must have been stunning. However, even without the benefit of a tower, Currier Mountain still has some good vistas from its east-facing cliff.
A view from Currier Mountain.  (In the background are Adams, Jefferson, Clay and Washington, and in the foreground are Mt. Mitten and Mt. Dartmouth.)
A slightly zoomed version of one portion of the view shown in previous photo.
The next photo shows the tiny little ledge on Currier Mountain from which the above photos were taken.
Photo showing the tiny little ledge on Currier Mountain from which the above photos were taken.
On this and other treks to Currier Mountain,  I've found no evidence of the old fire tower, other than some communication wire (presumably), as seen in the next photo.
Communication wire (presumably) for the old fire tower which once stood on Currier Mountain
Currier Mountain, with its small white cliff-face, can be seen from various locations on the Presidential Range.  The next snapshot was taken several years ago when hiking the Castle Trail.  It shows Currier Mountain with the huge mass of Cherry Mountain looming in the background.
Photo taken several years ago from the Castle Trail.  It shows Currier Mountain with the huge mass of Cherry Mountain looming in the background.
And lastly, shown below is another snapshot from a few years ago.  It was taken when I hiked to Currier Mountain during the colorful Autumn season.
Another photo taken several years ago when hiking to Currier Mountain during the colorful Autumn season.
To sum it up . . . little mountain, little bushwhack . . . BIG views!


One Day in America said...

I like your photo of Currier Mountain with Cherry Mountain in the background. Even though a 2790 foot mountain would be a good sized peak in my native state of PA, it looks like a tiny hill compared with your New Hampshire mountains!
Yes, I did see a faint trail through the weeds in your second picture. Hope none of those weeds were poison ivy!
Looks like another fun little trek, John!

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Rita,

Glad you picked up on the size comparison between Currier Mountain and Cherry Mountain. As you indicate, a 2,790 ft mountain would be a peak of respectable size in PA, and in many other regions of the U.S. as well. However, a mountain of that altitude is dwarfed when surrounded by “giants” such as Cherry Mountain.

And regarding poison ivy, although it can be found in northern NH where I do most of my hiking, it is relatively rare. The harsh climate seems to limit its growth in this region, especially at higher elevations.

Thanks for being such a loyal reader and responder to my blog postings.