NH is home to many mountains, and with many mountains different groups and organizations have created “Hiking Lists” to entice hikers. The most popular list in NH is the NH 48 4,000 footers by the AMC. This list challenges hikers to climb all of the 48 4,000 foot mountains that have over 200ft prominence over neighboring mountains. But there are also lesser known lists and as Aubrey and I work on them I will add them here.
The first hiking list we completed was the easiest of them all. Offered by the NH Division of Forest and Lands this lists asks hikers to visit 5 out of 16 Fire towers across the state. Some of these hikes are extremely easy, such as the Warner Hill Fire tower are as easy as walking up a driveway, yet others are more challenging and require more elevation and more miles.
The hikes Aubrey and I completed for this challenge are-
Pitcher Mountain-Stoddard NH- Less than a mile round trip with a longer loop option possible, bring you up to the fire tower. The tower is surrounded by blueberries so try to do this hike in July! This tower I have deemed “safe” to climb. This is also the only tower I have ever seen a warden in, that has invited us into the top look out.
Federal Hill-Milford NH- Again this is an easy less than a mile hike round trip, up an access road. The tower site appears to be a party location and there is broken glass around the bottom. A small grassy area is good for picnics. No views unless you climb the tower. I deemed this tower “unsafe” as it was in disrepair and no safety fencing was present.
Mount Kearsarge-Warner and Wilmont NH- There are two different approaches (each with multiple trail options) to climb Kearsarge. The “hard” side is from Wilmont at Winslow State Park and is a 3 mile round trip hike. The “easy” side is in Warner at Rollins State Park. Rollins has an Auto Road that goes mostly up to the top, and then at the parking area the hike is a short half mile scramble up. We did both sides, and never climbed the tower either time. I would say its a “safe” one to climb.
Pack Monadnock-Peterborough NH- This hike I have done numerous times so I felt confident that Aubrey could do it. It is approx 3.2 miles round trip with multiple trail options to the top. We have climbed this tower a few times and there is a new sign stating the risk and the top platform needs repair down to the fencing.
Red Hill-Moultonborough- This was probably the hardest one. The books say the hike is 1.7 miles one way with 900 feet gain, but it definitely felt like a 5 mile hike which is what our GPS said. The views from the top are gorgeous over Squam Lake, and features a picnic table for snacking. We didn’t climb the tower since it lacked safety fencing.
For more details and to print your tracking form visit http://www.nhdfl.org/fire-control-and-law-enforcement/fire-towers.aspx