Mt. Liberty Winter Hike
Hiking/Walk DATE: 02/26/2017 - 02/26/2017
Trip/Event Location: Lincoln, NH
Trip Leader(s): Gandalf
Max # People: 15
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money
Difficulty Level: Strenuous
At 4459 feet, Liberty is the 18th highest mountain in New Hampshire. If the Old Bridle Path and Falling Waters Trail in Franconia Notch, New Hampshire, have a younger sibling, the type eager to prove...
Liberty Springs trailhead is accessible by the Whitehorse trailhead parking lot off Interstate 93 Northbound on the western side of the mountain. Get off Exit 33 onto US 3 and head past the Whale's Tale Waterpark, Indian Head Resort, the sign marking the entrance into Franconia Notch and the Flume Visitors Center. Continue past the Flume Visitors Center and you'll soon see signs that will say "Trailhead Parking" on the right. We’ll be driving a blue Toyota Tacoma truck.
I enjoy hiking Mount Liberty as a winter dayhike since it's a good distance for days without too much daylight and only has a short section of trail exposed to the elements. For this trip, Jim and I used MicroSpikes from start to finish since the trail surface was pretty hard packed despite the record breaking warm temperatures. I was wearing my Sorel insulated winter boots and Jim was using his summer hiking boots. I carried trekking poles. I met Jim at the trailhead at 9:00 AM; there were about a dozen vehicles in the parking area at the Whitehouse Trail parking area. We packed up and started with MicroSpikes on the Whitehouse Trail, joined the bike path and then reached the true beginning of the Liberty Springs trail.
The first stop we took was at the trail junction with the Flume Side Trail. The trail remained hard packed however prior to reaching the junction there were sections of trail with running water and we had to skirt off the trail to avoid them. After some water, we pushed on. The woods were gorgeous with a slightly overcast sky but it didn't dampen our spirits at all. As we gained more elevation things got a little colder, something we'd have to keep an eye on. The major brook crossing of this trip was a bit tricky due to all the snowmelt. Jim opted to sit and cross a log while I rock hopped. After this crossing the trail gets a little steeper.
It was a long, steady slog up the west slope of the mountain so travel remained fairly slow. We reached Liberty Springs Campsite and settled on having lunch here since high winds were forecasted for the summit. We cooled off very quickly, so lunch was short and cold. We added some more clothes. There are no views here. After only a 15 minute break, we were back on the trail for the .3 miles to the ridge. As we approached the ridge, the hanging moss on the trails was beautiful. The snow was still nearly reaching the signs and blazes at this higher elevation. The route up to Liberty looked in fine shape. At the sign we put on our face protection, put in some hand warmers and then headed for the summit.
It's only .3 miles from there to the top, and you quickly come out of the trees. I love that feeling, of coming out on top of the world. Jim and I passed a group of women at the sign on the ridge and they were following behind us. We reached the summit around 12:45PM and there were others taking in the views. The winter views were wonderful, and I shot a bunch of pictures in all directions. We had the full Pemi laid out in front of us, although we could not see as far as Washington. The Franconia Ridge was clear. The summit of Mt. Liberty was in the clear, and mostly free of wind. We hung out on the summit and enjoyed the fruits of our labors.
After our rest, we headed on down; and our speed was pretty good. We came down the steep section at a rapid pace. The rest of the trip out was a nice walk in the snowy woods. We only met one group of younger folks who sped past us on the descent; other than that, we had the woods all to ourselves. Aside from the few snowmobiles on the short stretch of the bike path, it was a quiet and enjoyable hike out. We made it to our vehicles around 3:30PM.
Thank you Jim for joining me it was a delight catching up with you. We’ve not hiked since Mt. Moosilauke last winter; good to see you on the trail. Hopefully I’ll see you on an upcoming adventure. Cheers – a brilliant day all around!!
Report and pictures by Mike Boisvert
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What Members Are Saying About This Trip/Event
Gandalf May 6, 2017 at 3:25 PM
Comment: Thanks for the kind words!
jrenren Feb 27, 2017 at 10:27 AM
Comment: It's so refreshing to the spirit to be with kind people and surrounded by nature's beauty. Really spectacular on the summit. Thanks again, Mike. JIm