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Black Mountain: A lovely trail in the western White Mountains

Updated: Apr 28


Black Mountain Summit in White Mountains, New Hampshire

This moderate length hike near Benton, New Hampshire provides an excellent way of seeing the iconic White Mountains without requiring a full day adventure.. A nicely wooded trail takes you gradually up to this long summit, where you have a premier viewing platform of Mount Moosilauke and other prominent peaks in the Whites. This is certainly a hike where you get a lot of bang for your buck.


Trail Info

Black Mountain Trail Information Table

Know before you go

  • The road to the trailhead is not maintained. It is mostly gravel and bumpy and could be treacherous (or impassable) during winter and mud season. Cars with high clearance are best to reach the parking area

  • The parking area is limited. While this trail is not highly trafficked, it may be hard to get a spot during a peak time since the shoulder where you park can only hold 7 to 8 cars.

  • CHECK YOUR GPS BEFORE LEAVING. I used the AllTrails coordinates and it took me to the complete wrong trailhead and a closed road. The above linked location on Howe Hill Road will get you to the trailhead described in this post.


Alternate routes

  • Hiking to Black Mountain via the Chippewa Trail provides a shorter, but steeper route (3.9 mi / 6.3 km) to reaching this summit


 

The Trail


Black Mountain Trailhead

After parking your car, you will start along this old logging road. It's a chill incline for the first mile or so, but then it steepens slightly as you near the summit. While this hike is easier than many others in the Whites, you still have to earn that peak!


Black Mountain Trail, New Hampshire

As you can tell by the photos, I was doing this in late March, when there was still plenty of snow on the ground. However, I felt the trail was well marked, with several blazes like this guiding the path. Getting lost isn't really a concern on this hike.


Winter conditions on Black Mountain Trail, New Hampshire

And if you haven't taken a stab at winter hiking, I highly recommend it. There are of course some extra precautions you should take, and gear you will need, but it totally changes the vibe of a trail. A trail in summer and a trail in a winter wonderland like this are basically different trails.


Black Mountain Trail, New Hampshire

The main forks on this trail appear near the summit. It should be apparent by the sign, but this fork marks where the Chippewa and Black Mountain trail intersect, just below the summit.


Black Mountain Trail, New Hampshire

Heading up the trail, you must take this fork to the left to reach the official Black Mountain Summit.


Black Mountain Summit, White Mountains New Hampshire

And here we are, 2,782 feet (848 meters) above sea level on the western edge of the White Mountains.


Black Mountain Summit, White Mountains, New Hampshire

Something I found quite unique about this summit was it's long spine. You could spend several minutes walking from one end to the other getting different perspectives of the mountain views.


Mount Moosilauke view from summit of Black Mountain, New Hampshire

And those views are a plentiful up here. Since you are on the western edge of the Whites, you can see numerous peaks from this summit. Looking Southeast, you can see Mount Moosilauke, an iconic 4,000 footer.


White Mountain views from summit of Black Mountains, New Hampshire

And Northeast, the towering and snow-covered Mount Washington, the highest peak in the entire state. Soak it all in, it doesn't get much better than this.


 

SS Reflections

I hate to admit it, but I'm addicted to peak bagging. In my near 2 years living in New Hampshire, I made it my goal to complete the New Hampshire 48 before I moved out west. And I did it, and am proud of the accomplishment.


But this hike was a perfect reminder of why sometimes you need to ignore that next item on your to-do list, pick a trail, and simply get out there. That's exactly how I found myself hiking this trail. From the winter wonderland vibes, to the long summit, to the epic vantage point of the rest of the whites, this trail had everything I could hope for in a hike. And list or no list, it's something I need to remind myself that as long as I'm out on a hike, it's a good day.



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DISCLAIMER: This website is for entertainment purposes only. The web designer and contributors are not liable for any injuries, accidents, or damages resulting from the use of information provided. Trail data, including trail statistics such as mileage and difficulty ratings, are provided as estimates based on the best available data at the time of publication and may not be 100% accurate. Conditions on trails can change; users should verify information with local authorities or  other reliable sources before embarking on any hiking or outdoor adventure. Hiking is a high-risk activity; individuals should know their limits, take precautions, and prioritize safety. By using this site, you acknowledge and accept these risks; the web designer and contributors are not legally responsible for any consequences.

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