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18 November 2015

A Trek to Popple Mountain near Jackson, NH


In early November 2015, I did a trek to the ledges at the south end of Popple Mountain located near Jackson, NH.  To reach this destination, I turned onto Green Hill Road which is located on the west side of Rt. 16 in Jackson, NH.  In less than a mile, Green Hill Road becomes Iron Hill Road, and shortly after that, Meserve Brook Road (FR 325) splits off to the right.  I was able to drive for about 0.7 mile on Meserve Brook Road before coming to a locked gate where I parked my car at a small parking area.  Beyond that point, I hiked along Meserve Brook Road for about 2 miles before leaving the east side of the road for a short bushwhack (less than 0.2 mile) to the ledges.

It should be noted that in the winter, Meserve Brook Road becomes the Hall XC-Ski Trail for which a ski pass is required (click HERE for details).

Below is a map which provides a general idea of the route that was followed.
A map which provides a general idea of the route that was followed for this trek.
The following photo was taken from the Iron Mountain trailhead several years ago in the Springtime.  Clearly visible in this snapshot are the ledges on the south end of Popple Mountain.
Ledges on Popple Mountain as viewed from Iron Mountain trailhead
(photo taken several years ago in the Springtime)

Meserve Brook Road/Hall XC-Ski Trail makes for some nice walking, especially at this time of year.
Getting to the ledges on Popple Mountain involved bushwhacking eastward from the Hall XC-Ski Trail for about 0.2 mile through open woods such as shown in the above photo.
This is one of the locations on Popple Mountain's ledges from which photos were taken.
My favorite vista was this southeasterly view (Kearsarge North prominent on horizon at left; Iron Mountain just right of center).
Shooting into the southwest sun is always challenging for me.  Anyway, this view
includes such mountains as Chocorua; Bear Mtn; Mt. Passaconaway; Mt. Parker, and many others.
The unique profile of Stairs Mountain could be seen by looking nearly due west from the ledges on Popple Mountain.
This panorama shot shows the entire vista from the ledges at the south end of Popple Mountain.
To sum it up, this was a relatively short trek (less than 5 miles round-trip).  However, it was a very rewarding adventure since it involved visiting a place that was entirely new to me.

ADDENDUM (added 05-Dec-2015):  Thanks to an article written by Peter Minnich in the 04-Apr-2013 edition of "The Mountain Ear", the following information was learned about Popple Mountain.

"The name 'Popple' is local dialect for a tree in the poplar family, most likely the trembling aspen (populus tremuloides), a common successional tree found throughout New England.  Numerous popple trees grow on the edges of the forest on the west side of the mountain, perhaps giving rise to the mountain's humble name.  Other than that, the origin of the mountain's name is a mystery.  There are no references to Popple Mountain in Sweetser, Mudge, or early AMC guides."


Rita Wechter said...

I really enjoyed this post, John. You had some great fall foliage on this trek! Wonderful pics.
The ski trail looks especially inviting. Have you ever skied it in the winter?

Rita Wechter said...

Ha, John. I'm posting a second comment because I just re-read your last sentence that this place was entirely new to you—so I guess you had never skied it in the winter before!
Looks like a great place to return to in the winter, though.

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Rita! It’s great that you enjoyed this report. Thanks for posting your comments!

Regarding your question, this was my first-time visit to the ledges on Popple Mountain, and so they were definitely new to me. Regarding the Hall XC-Ski Trail, it is 11.5 km (just over 7 miles) in length. I’ve never skied the southern segment that was used to access Popple Mountain, but have skied a 3 km segment at the northern end of this trail. Maybe this winter I’ll ski the southern end! :-)

Just as an FYI, rather than doing an “out and back” for the entire length of the Hall Trail, there is a loop option involving other trails. However, in either case, it entails about 14 miles of XC-skiing with intermixed segments of hilly terrain. This would be more than I’d care to undertake. :-)