Hiking/Walk DATE: 04/06/2019 - 04/06/2019
Trip/Event Location: Conway, NH
Max # People: 15
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money
Difficulty Level: Moderate to Strenuous
Mt Chocorua [3,474 feet] is one of the most frequently photographed mountains in the world, especially since the trail contains Champney Falls!
We’ll be driving a blue Toyota Tacoma truck.
The Champney Falls Trailhead parking area is located in Albany, New Hampshire, on the south side of Rt. 112 (Kancamagus Highway).
Traveling from the west/Lincoln NH, the parking area is about 1.5 miles beyond the junction of Rt. 112 and Bear Notch Road. Bear Notch Road will be on the left but the trailhead parking lot is on the right.
Traveling from the east/Conway NH, the parking area is about 11 miles west of the junction of Rt. 112 and Rt. 16 in Conway. Parking and the trailhead will be on the left side of the roadway.
Today started a bit cloudy but as the day progressed we enjoyed partly sunny skies with temperatures in mid 40s with light winds on the summit.
Our goal for today was to summit Mt Chocorua via the Champney Falls Trail that departs from the Kancamagus Highway. The estimated round trip for the day is 7.6 miles.
We arrived at the trailhead and got underway around 9:15am. The parking area was probably a quarter full which is what we were hoping for since this is usually very crowded in summer. We were concerned that the snow would soften as the temperatures warmed up so we all wore snowshoes from the start.
The trail grade was very easy and somewhat follows Champney Brook that provides a great ambient sound of falling water in the forest for about the first half-hour. We hardly saw anyone for most our trek until we reached the summit cone later in the day.
The Champney Falls loop joins to the left at 1.4 miles in and rejoins about a half mile further along. We reached the base of glistening Champney Falls. We crossed the brook to take a closer look at Pitcher Falls that was simply beautiful today with its rock wall covered with ice. Then we took a trail that led us past Champney Falls, with more than 200 feet of fragile cascades spilling through a random progression of boulders.
Once we rejoined the trail, the grade became steeper but still very manageable and easy to walk. A couple miles in we started to get great views back across the valley. We then started ascending via switchbacks. On the ridge we reached the Piper Trail and made our way for the summit. It was a delightful jaunt following the yellow blazes of the Piper Trail on a weaving course over and around craggy ledges enveloped in mountain views. We kept our snowshoes on halfway up the summit cone and then switched to MicroSpikes. There were not many people on the summit, which was perfect! Usually there are loads of people on this summit.
We took some pictures, had lunch and hung around while enjoying the panoramic vistas from this legendary summit before starting down.
The hike down went without issue and was wonderful. It was nice to have the valley views all the way.
We made it back to the parking lot around 2:30pm….ahead of schedule. So we decided to take a quick jaunt to check out frozen Sabbaday Falls. Today’s hike was an excellent day in the woods and a route we would highly recommend to anyone.
Some members came back to our house where we chatted around the fireplace and eating some snacks. Jon cooked a delicious dinner of stuff chicken breasts, pork tenderloin, sausage, maple glazed pumpkin, roasted vegetables, wild rice and salad. And I can’t forget the yummy blueberry pie with ice cream!!!
Although not officially a 4000-footer, Mt Chocorua does have a lot of elevation gain so standard precautions must be made for weather, water and supplies. It was an excellent day and a wonderful hike! Thanks to everyone who attended…smooches…
Mike and Jon
There are 94 photos in Album (Note: Move mouse pointer over larger pic and click on NEXT for better viewing)
Boston Apr 8, 2019 at 7:25 AM
Wow, my hat's off to the photographer(s), any number of these images could easily be published in a national outdoors magazine! You guys really had a great time from start to finish, it's obvious from the photos. Thank you so much for sharing, a feel-good experience looking at your day together. Congratulations everyone! ps. I wish I could the photos in larger sizes. Would you create an album on the Facebook page for this?
phoenix Apr 7, 2019 at 8:08 PM
An most excellent goodbye to winter hike - the solid snow bridge across the stream held up under our weight and no serious postholing or sloppy slush!