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Took left at the fork and did Avalon and Fields first and then swung around and did Tom. The A-Z trail leading down from Tom is tricky in that the trail is covered by snow drift and it being next to a steep slope doesn't help - watch your footing. Else it's super fun and a easy 6 hour hike. No views worth talking about - it was snowing. Snowshoes only, microspikes kept ice balling up making them useless.

Also be ready to shed layers - I changed into just a base layer and a raincoat (snowing) because the trail is steep on the way up and you WILL sweat and get wet from the inside if you don't take care. Pit zips on jackets sure help.

Go up Avalon and Fields because these are more steep and then go down the A-Z trail (very small stretches of steep trails). For those inclined to get down on your butt and slide, this is going to be super fun since it presents plenty of opportunities to do so. Let the kid in you out and slide down - you won't regret it. :)

The Basin and the first cascade you encounter are nice, definitely worth a stop. However, I would not recommend going beyond there. The trail becomes steep and eroded, with bad footing, there is also a very difficult brook crossing. Neither Kinsman Falls nor Rocky Glen Falls seemed particularly amazing.

The first mile or so is gradual, mostly on old logging roads. After that there is a fairly steep section, about one third of a mile long. The remaining mile to the summit is moderate, and there is good footing for nearly all of the trail, almost no rocks. Black Mountain’s location on the far western side of the White Mountains means that it not only has vistas of New Hampshire peaks, but also long range views into much of Vermont. Less popular and easier than the Chippewa Trail, the Black Mountain Trail is truly an undiscovered gem.

The first 3.5 miles are very friendly, and then you are faced with a decision: ascend North or South Hancock? We chose to ascend South and go down North. The steeps were very slick as butt-sledding activity was at an all-time high. We wore microspikes for the whole hike except for the descent down the North peak--we wore snowshoes. All in all, a great winter hike! 9.1 miles in 8 hours...lots of stopping. From the trailhead to the loop split took us ~2 hours, and same on the return. So trail-math-wise, we spent just as much time doing the summit loop as we did on Hancock Notch Trail/Cedar Brook Trail.

Toughest hike for me so far... I loved It! The views are absolutely amazing. Weather was clear and partly sunny as I walked up but you could see the clouds blowing over the ridge line like something out of a movie. Bring your ice cleats or crampons. plenty of places to slip and fall. Especially climbing back down. There was a decent amount of wind the walk up but nothing crazy.

16 days ago

Beautiful winter hike for a breath of fresh air! Scenic!!
Been going here for years and it never gets old! A wonderful spectre of nature and I love the changing scenery during each season! You won’t be disappointed!

24 days ago

second time hiking the greely pond trail to East Osceola Summit on a day in February it was 55 ° on the summit! we got a late start (started at 11 am) with it being so warm the river was really high, lots of ice covered in slushy snow. mono rail was this and slushy so.we stuck with micro spikes and trecking poles we're life savers. we started to head over to Mount Osceola but opted to turn around after a few hundred yards of us and the dogs post holing, we didn't post hole at all up to that point - plus rain was coming in. by the time we got back down to the river crossing it had doubled in size making it impossible to cross without getting our boots soaked. we hike very often and this trip took us 6 hours with maybe a total stops of 1 hour (had to make some jet boil coffee at the summit!) fun hike with great views but with the warmer weather approaching be prepared!

I would have given this 5 stars if I was fully prepared for how hard this hike was going to be for me. I did this hike in late August, 2017, on a BEAUTIFUL day. Cold but manageable. One thing that I was unprepared for was the sections of the ascent and descent that were either climbing hand over foot, or literally sliding down on my butt. Would recommend but would say that if you're not EXPERIENCED, it could be a challenge.

wild hike. 40 to.50 mph with some bigger gusts. The ridge didnt dissaspoint. spectacular views and the weather added that little bit of excitement that gets the blood pumping! Do this hike now!!

Amazing hike. Set off around 8am to leave plenty of time and ended up getting back to my car at 1pm. Spent about a minute at the summit due to very strong winds, very cold, and it being socked in. Mother Nature decided to reward me on the way down and things cleared for a beautiful bluebird sky complete with birds serenading me. Used microspikes the entire hike and without them, it would have been much more difficult in a lot of places. Had the entire mountain all to my self. All in all a great time.

Tough in the winter but still a great hike! We left the lower parking lot (sawyer river rd is un-plowed) at 9am and got up to the trail head at 10:15am. Made it up to the switchbacks right before the ridge around 2:30pm and decided to turn back. Got back down to the parking lot at 6pm. The snow made it very strenuous and we definitely made the right choice to turn back. We will definitely be back in the spring to get to the summit!

1 month ago

Awesome hike!! Would hike again for sure

1 month ago

Incredible open summit views of Mt Moosilauke, Franconia Ridge, and the Green Mountains.

Warning: much of the trail is currently a thick sheet of ice with an inch of soft snow covering. Extremely slippery even with crampons. Recommend waiting for heavier snowfall to better cover the ice.

on Hancock Loop Trail

1 month ago

Incredible summer hike. We got off trail, but bumped into a kind fellow biker and his dog who got us back on track again. Spent 2 wonderful days on the mountain.

Hiking this in the winter is a must. Don’t forget microspikes!

Awesome loop but be prepared for snow in June. best done when days are long and no chance of lightening.

on Mount Osceola Trail

1 month ago

A long and beautiful trail. Much of the start is flat, but then the other half is full of switchbacks and steep climbs. The summit offers exceptional views of the presidentials, but it’s a bit tricky to navigate. Very few flat areas and the the routes to the top above the tree line aren’t clear, but doable. .

I did this today(MLK day) and it was amazing! The weather could not have been better and the winds were not that high at all plus I had the entire ridge to myself for most of the hike! The three challenging/dangerous parts are the river crossings on the fallings water trail, patchy ice on the ridge trail and some ice on the descent from Lafayette, otherwise, it was very easy and I only used microspikes and some trekking poles. The river crossings are possible, but you need to take your time following previous tracks to find a crossing, including one log walk/schooch. The ridge trail as of MLK day has almost zero snow and little ice, just some patches here and there which can be avoided or tackled with microspikes( you dont need them for the rest).


I love the Bridle Path. Not very steep and a great way to access or exit the Franconia Ridge. Minus one star because the descent seems endless every time. Longest 3.4 mi trail around on the way out.

My first longer hike and the one that got me hooked. We hiked with our blue heeler/Hound and she did really well.

2 months ago

Not sure how far we went, but we had a great time exploring this trail. Once the trail started heading uphill along the river, rather than sticking to the trail, we mostly hiked up the various exposed rock faces in the river. This is probably an option whose availability depends on the water level, but we lucked out and the kids loved it! At one point, there was even a huge tree trunk that we used to cross the river. For safety and speed, we descended on the trail.

For winter snowshoe this is close to 5 star, depending on conditions.

The trail was packed down almost the entire way, and temps were cold (5F), with 15" base. That meant trail was broken, and microspikes held firm. If you're breaking trail with snowshoes, this would be a very, very challenging loop. If snow conditions were messy, and microspikes couldn't hold, it would be tough as well.

There are some truly steep ups and downs. I had to rotate snowshoes and micro spikes. Several of the steep downs are so steep that I had really no choice but to slide down sitting. I took off micro spikes so they didn't catch. 20 yards later I had to put them back on because uphill was so severe. For other parts of the terrain, primarily Avalon turn off until end of Field Mountain descent, snowshoes were the right equipment due to more variable conditions, and drifting snow.

Heat management is important for this loop. The Avalon access trail is very steep start to finish. So be ready to shed gear. And climbing continues all the way to top of Field. It would be easy to get hot, and then freeze in sweat on the way down. Start cold, with thin layers, and a shell. Given all the up, that will be fine. As usual, protect extremities in colder weather.

Lastly, I found navigation from top of Field down more difficult than expected. Snow had drifted, and I didn't see any blazes. I didn't get lost. But be handy with a map and compass, or have GPS with back-up if you are doing the first run after a major snowfall, where snow might cover blazes.

This is a challenging loop in winter that rewards good heat management, decent fitness, and a willingness to wait until a few strong trekkers have broken trail first.

I did this with a friend in 3 days in September staying at Greenleaf and Galehead hut for the two nights. That made the pack lighter. Gorgeous views. We hit 10 4000' peaks and the last day had a super clear view for the three Bonds. Fantastic 360 views. I would definitely hike this again. It's hard. Lots of rock scrambling, not for the faint of heart. Great elevation gain & loss over the three days. Start early each day and go go go cause it's hard terrain to cover each day. I loved running into the thru hikers on the AT. Got a bad calf cramp on the last day & a few blisters but overall a wonderful experience.

A tough hike but an excellent one. One of the best loops in NH.

2 months ago

Rocky Glen Falls is a special place! You have to cross the river and continue about 0.2 miles to find it. Don’t miss it!

In the winter Sawyer River Road is generally closed, adding 2 miles each way to the hike. Pretty challenging ascent in snowshoes, will definitely be feeling it tomorrow.

Beautiful woods with a long, gradual approach in. Didn't summit today, made it about 2.5m in. Fresh snow, some ice, lots of animal tracks, few human tracks, and multiple (still unfrozen) stream crossings. Didn't need spikes or poles, but it was slower going and slippery in places.

Hiked this on 11/24/17. Beautiful hike and definitely worth it in winter IF you are prepared. If you hike in winter you will be exposed to very cold temperatures and very high winds. Dress appropriately.
-Crampons/Microspikes are absolutely necessary. The entire trail is snow/ice.
-Waterproof hiking boots are absolutely necessary.
-Hiking poles are recommended to aid in stability on the ice
-Bring 1.5+ liters of water per person
-You should be in good shape. This is 4k feet of climb over 9 miles.
-Try to pick a sunny day so you get the views from atop
You should always end a hike with extra water/food. If you were to get stuck out there you would need it.

That being said- this hike is well worth it and the views are amazing!

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