North Uncanoonuc Mountain Loop Hike
Hiking/Walk DATE: 04/28/2018 - 04/28/2018
Trip/Event Location: Goffstown, NH
Max # People: 15
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money
Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate
Well known for being the closest mountains to New Hampshire's largest city, the Uncanoonuc Mountains (North and South Uncanoonuc Mountain) are known for completely contrasting each other....
The trailhead can be challenging to find! Look for our blue Toyota Tacoma truck off Mountain Road.
Traveling south from Nashua take Everett Turnpike north. When nearing Manchester, take Route 101 west. [If taking I-93 north, bear left to I-293 when nearing Manchester and then continue straight to Route 101 where I-293 bears right.]
- Follow Route 101 west (for 2.1 miles) [At the traffic light, Route 101 turns left. Keep straight for the start of Route 114 west]
- Follow Route 114 west (for 7.4 miles) to Goffstown.
- At the traffic circle in Goffstown, turn south onto Mountain Road. [Mountain Road is left right after a gas station.] Take Mountain Rd. After 0.9 mile, the road forks. Turn left. You soon pass a farmhouse and large barn on your right. Just beyond and at 1.4 miles from NH 114 or just when the woods begin there will be a small gravel parking area [dirt road that has been blocked off] on your left. The White Circle Trails starts on the other side of the road.
From Manchester, a couple of small mountains that look like mirror images of each other [with the exception of multiple radio towers planted on the southern peak], always come into view. They are the north peak and south peak of the same mountain. Uncanoonuc, a Native American term named for women’s breasts, was given to those two mountains because of the how symmetrical they are to each other. These mountains have a decent trail network over each peak as well as a little history associated with it.
The southern peak, which has "probably the finest forest of communication towers in New Hampshire", as the AMC Southern New Hampshire Trail Guide puts it, used to actually have a trolley that ascended its northeastern slope. This railway has since been removed and is now a trail. There is a viewpoint to the Boston Skyline 51 miles away, although this can only be observed on a very clear day. There is also an auto road that does up to the top and open to the public. This summit is 1.321 feet.
The northern peak has history as well. It's the first hike Jon and I did together...in the winter...with snowshoes! It remains less touched by man-made structures. The summit sits at 1,324 feet.
On Saturday, twelve of us set out for the summit of North Uncanoonuc Mountain along with Soleil, Rob's Greyhound. We decided to ascend the White Dot Trail. The trailhead fro the White Dot Trail was fairly easy to find. This trail ascends 700 feet in just 0.6 miles, so it was pretty steep the whole way up. The traihead parking was just off the side of Mountain Road in Goffstown, across from the trailhead. There is actually an Uncanoonuc Mountain kiosk after this parking area about .25 miles on the left [if driving from Goffstown].
The White Dot Trail is marked with a trail sign, however, it is hung quite a few feet from the road in the woods, so it is not viewable from the roadside. The trail was blazed with white painted tin can tops, nailed to the trees. They were certainly easy to follow aned visible for a great distance in the woods.
We found the trail to be steep. it started with a mixture of rocky sections and root exposed sections. Very soon after emerging into the woods, some very nice rock caves were on the left. They were certainly large enough for someone to spend the night in. You could build up on side of the cave with rocks it more of an enclosed shelter.
The trail continued on pretty relentlessly with its steepness. On the ascent we met a friendly women with her dog who was descending. Her dog and Soleil got certainly were happy meeting each other. We chatted with her for a bit and then continued straight up the mountain. The trail didn't do much turning or meandering through the hemlock filled forest. Near the top, at about 1,200 feet, the trail did start to level off a bit. The view behind us opened up to the north at a couple of points. We could see all the way to Kearsarge South and the Lakes Region Mountains. An eastern view opened up to the Pawtuckaway mountains and slight peek below into Goffstown.
The summit was pretty wide and flat. There was an impressive view over to Manchester where we sat on a ledge for lunch. There were a number of people besides us on the summit...a family with their kids...and a few couples.
We could also see South Uncanoonuc Mountain peak. It was as we expected it to look, a huge forest of radio towers and antennas. Not the nicest view...but a view nonetheless.
After lunch and exploring the summit for a bit, we decided to make our way down the southern slope of this peak, taking the Red Dot/Blue Trail. We were in search of the Mount Monadnock view!
The slope down the southern slide was not steep at all. It was fairly flat. We continued down the path and the Red Dot Trail exited to the left and we kept going on the Blue Trail. Soon, both North and South Monadnocks came into view on the skyline. This was followed with Mount Monadnock a bit later. It wasn't the most wide open view, but nice regardless.
After snapping a shot of Mount Monadnock, we continued our descend down the Blue Trail which is less steep than the White Dot Trail. We then took a Class 6/snowmobile road. This brought us back to Mountain Road that we followed back to our vehicles to make this a loop hike.
We came out of the woods around 1:30pm. The impressive views of Manchester makes the effort worthwhile. We were able to explore some forest, got a little exercise, enjoyed each other's company, and the view to Mount Monadnock wasn't that bad either.
A fantastic hike up an urban mountain on such a picture perfect day! A really nice group of guys who made everyone feel welcomed. We are looking forward to members joining us on our other hikes in the White Mountains that is posted on the GO events calendar.
~ Mike and Jon
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