On good weather days, it doesn't matter what route you take to Mt. Prospect (Weeks State Park, Lancaster, NH), you can be assured of rewarding views. And such was the case when I hiked to this location in mid-April 2016.
Rather than doing an "out and back" trek to Mt. Prospect via the Auto Road, I prefer to construct a loop hike. For my April 2016 trek, I hiked up the ski slope, and then did a short 0.25 mile bushwhack from the top of the ski slope to the Auto Road. On the return leg of the loop, I walked the Auto Road and Heritage Trail back to my starting point. On other occasions, I've hiked a combination of the Old Carriage Road and the Around the Mountain Trail back to my starting point.
Seen below is a map showing the Auto Road, plus the various hiking trails on Mt. Prospect, and also the bushwhack route that I took on this trek. (As of the time this report was written, a terrific report about hiking at Weeks State Park could be accessed by clicking HERE.)
Shown below are a series of photos taken on my trek to Mt. Prospect.
|View looking downward while hiking up the Mt. Prospect Rope Tow Ski Slope|
|The top of the rope tow, and the point where my short bushwhack began|
|Nice open-woods along the course of my short 0.25 bushwhack from the top of the ski slope to the Mt. Prospect Auto Road|
|Approaching the top of Mt. Prospect at Weeks State Park. Seen here are (L to R): fieldstone fire tower (listed on the National Register of Historic Lookout Towers); John Wingate Weeks manor house; carriage house.|
The Mt. Prospect Lookout is a stone tower that was part of the summer estate of U.S. Senator John W. Weeks (author of the Weeks Act which created National Forests in the eastern U.S.). It was built as a private observation tower in 1912. But, when the estate became a State Park in 1941, the New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands added a round, enclosed fire-lookout cab which remains in active service today.
|This photo features the fieldstone fire tower and the John Wingate Weeks manor house.|
|View from the base of the fieldstone fire tower atop Mt. Prospect. Snow-capped Presidential Mountain Range is seen just right of center.|
|Observation deck located a few hundred feet north of manor house at Weeks State Park.|
|The vista from the observation deck includes crescent-shaped Cape Horn mountain (seen in the foreground at left). Also seen are the pointy, bare-rock Percy Peaks (on horizon, left of center), and peaks in the Pilot Range (at far right).|
|While traversing up and/or down the Auto Road, there are viewpoints along the way such as this to enjoy.|
|The Auto Road itself is actually quite picturesque!|