Member Trip report
Mt Cabot Loop Hike (NH)
Trip Report/Photos from shep5
After camping overnight with Robert at Moose Brook State Park, we awoke by about 6AM and began to break camp. It was going to be another beautiful day out, so I decided that I would hike Mt. Cabot, while I was in the neighborhood (Robert was heading home to get ready for his Dolomites trip the following weekend). I left camp at about 7AM and drove up to the trailhead at the end of York Pond Road in Berlin (on the property of the NH Fish and Game Fishery).
I arrived at the York Pond Trailhead at 7:30 and immediately headed out. Since it was going to be a nice day, I decided to do the loop by starting up the Unknown Pond Trail. This trail left from the opposite side of the road about 0.1 mile from where I parked and at the end of one of the fenced in fish runs. There were about half-a-dozen cars parked at this trailhead, so I figured that there were quite a few people camping up at the pond. It was rather chilly as I started up the trail (probably in the upper 40's/lower 50's), but I warmed up after hiking for about 30 minutes. For about the first two-thirds of this trail the grade was minimal as it pretty much followed a brook. The trail was muddy in spots, but not too bad overall. By 8:45 I was starting to get limited views from the trail, including the Horn. It was only a short distance later that I came upon the Forest Protection Area around the Unknown Pond Tentsite. The trail began to steepen and there was an opening in the trees with a better view of the Horn as well as Mt. Washington. At just about 9AM I reached Unknown Pond and as I continued along its shore, I took a couple of the herd paths down to the water for the spectacular views with the Horn prominent over the water in the background (turning south onto the Kilkenny Ridge Trail at the northeastern end of the pond). For all the cars down in the parking lot, I didn't see or hear anyone up here. As I left the pond, the trail steepened and after only 50 minutes I was at the junction for the spur trail up to the Horn, passing a couple who had camped along the way. This was 0.3 miles and it took only about 10 minutes to reach the boulder-covered summit of the Horn (3905'). The views were spectacular of Mt. Cabot, the Bulge, the Pilot Range and the Presidential Range. I took a break having a snack at the top before returning and re-joining the Kilkenny Ridge Trail at 10:20. The trail continued southward by almost immediately beginning a fairly aggressive climb up the Bulge. There was a limited view back through the trees of the Horn and just before reaching the top of the Bulge (3905'), I ran into a couple of women doing a day loop in the opposite direction. I passed over the treed summit at 10:35. The trail descended again before starting the final climb up to Mt. Cabot. This climb became steep for a good portion of the ascent over a somewhat eroded trail. It took only a half-hour to reach the wooded summit of Cabot (4170'). I stayed long enough to take a photo and then forged on. As I continued along the broad summit towards the cabin, I was now running into more day hikers, who were doing just the out-and-back hike. I passed over the shoulder where there were limited views, where a firetower once stood and below this was the old cabin, which is still used by hikers. It was 11:20 and I checked it out, while taking a break. A group of us had used the cabin last year and I was surprised that it had been repaired (the front porch was falling off at that time). I continued making my way down and reached the open ledge with a view of Terrace Mountain and the Weeks at 11:40. After this it took another 30 minutes to get to the Burnell Notch Trail, which I followed back to the parking lot (the last 0.2 of a mile the trail turned onto the York Pond Trail). I reached my car again at 1:30PM.
It had been almost 9 years since I last did this loop and it was wonderful doing it again on such a beautiful day. The views at the pond and off of the Horn were so spectactular. This was a great way to cap off the weekend!
Total mileage and elevation gain: 11.4 miles with approximately 3200 feet in cumulative elevation gain.
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