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19 June 2016

Hike to Low's Bald Spot; Brad's Bluff, and Lila's Ledge (Pinkham Notch, NH)


In mid-June 2016,  I did a fun little hike that was launched from the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center.   The trek was about 6 miles (round-trip) and took about 3.5 hours at a leisurely pace.  The trails used were: Old Jackson Road; George's Gorge Trail; Liebskind's Loop; and Crew-Cut Trail.  I visited the three named viewpoints along this route, i.e. Low's Bald Spot; Brad's Bluff; and Lila's Ledge.

Presented below is a map which show the trails and viewpoints mentioned above.


Just a few hundred feet after crossing over the Mt. Washington Auto Road, you enter into the Great Gulf Wilderness area.

After entering the Great Gulf Wilderness, it is only about 0.2 mile to the top of Low's Bald Spot where you are rewarded with vistas such as the one shown below.  Nelson Crag is the large peak on the left, and on the right are Mts. Adams and Madison.

After visiting Low's Bald Spot, the next named viewpoint along my route was Brad's Bluff.  From here, there is a fine view looking southward down Pinkham Notch with Mt. Chocorua on the distant horizon.  Below is a composite snapshot.  The LEFT PANEL shows the Brad's Bluff viewpoint, and the RIGHT PANEL shows a zoomed view of pointy Mt. Chocorua.

The last of the three viewpoints visited on this trek was Lila's Ledge which is a very narrow ledge jutting out over a very steep precipice.  Obviously, you should use extreme caution when venturing out onto this viewpoint.  In the composite photo below, the LEFT PANEL shows Lila's Ledge, and the RIGHT PANEL shows the signage for this viewpoint.

From Lila's Ledge there is an extensive 180-degree view that isn't easily captured in a single photo.  Shown below is the view to the east and south which includes the Wildcat Mountain Ski Area on the left, and Rocky Branch Ridge on the right.  Route 16 runs down the center between those two land features.

The next photo shows the other portion of the view from Lila's Ledge.  This vista is looking westward toward Mt. Washington and the cavernous abysses known as Tuckerman Ravine and Huntington Ravine.  Some of the other landscape features seen here (left to right) include: the peak named Boot Spur; Hillman's Highway backcountry ski route; a rocky prominence known as Lion Head (name derived from its shape); Raymond Cataract (a remote off-trail feature consisting of two grandiose waterfalls).

And lastly, the next photo shows a short segment of the Liebskind's Loop trail that runs along the base of a tall and imposing cliff.  It sort of feels like you are walking alongside the wall of an ancient building hidden away in the forest!



Rita Wechter said...

I didn't know about the Great Gulf Wilderness. How far is this from where you live?
You find the most interesting-looking and fun-sounding hikes, John!
I love your description of the cliff as being like finding an ancient hidden-away building. That cliff-face certainly is imposing! But beautiful.
Another great hike!

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Rita . . . many thanks for your comments.

Regarding your question, within an hour's drive of my home there are six (6) Federally-designated Wilderness Areas: Great Gulf Wilderness (5,552 acres); Presidential Range/Dry River Wilderness (27,380 acres); Pemigewasset Wilderness (45,000 acres); Sandwich Range Wilderness (35,800 acres); Caribou/Speckled Mountain Wilderness (12,000 acres); Wild River Wilderness (23,700 acres). These areas are protected from logging and commercial industries, and are used solely for recreational and scientific purposes.