Icy surface, micro spike needed. Not as hard as initially thought, took decent 4 hours 40 min to complete the loop. The view at the top/Firetower is very nice. The ranger trail down was following a stream first and then trail. Difficult to see marker but you get a sense where the steam is heading do.

Took us four hours to complete the loop. It was moderately difficult and pretty steep for most off it. Lovely views and many camping spots. Poorly marked at points but we never found ourselves off the trail. Overall we would do it agian, and I defiantly recommend it as long as you pack appropriately.

Smart's is one of the excellent hikes on the western fringe of the White Mountains. The hike wastes no time engaging the hiker in a rigorous four mile hike that is enhanced by many sags of up and down climbing and a relentless climb at the end. Some look outs along the way, the first opens to the south, the second look out affords an unobstructed view of your destination, the full face of Smart's Mountain crowned by the fire tower that, at the end, provides panoramic views. To the west, the full spine of the Green Mountains, from Mansfield to Bromley, to the north, Mt, Cube, Black Mountain and Mount Moosilauke, to the south, Mt. Kearsarge and Cardigan. To the east, many of the southern White Mountains, to the north and east, the Franconia range.

Ranger Trail is less travelled it seems and was very rocky near the top, caution slippery when wet! But over all the loop was great!

Solid hike. Did it pretty unconventional and thus did not make it to the tower...

Started up the Smart's Ranger Trail and got along as far as the garage. From that point could not discern where the trail was. There were no markings and no obvious broken trail. I went just after the snow melt and and there were a lot of rotted fallen trees and mud. Plenty of opportunity for marking to have vanished and trails to be obscured. Doubled back to the trail head (3 mi out and back) and continued up the Lambert's Ridge Trail (AT) which also takes you to the Smart's Mountain summit and fire tower. Steep initially. Once you get up to exposed rock on the ridge it evens out a bit and you can get some stamina back. After crossing the ridge it drops into a lowland area before the final push up to the fire tower (this is where the Ranger Trail eventually joins up). This is where I turned back - I was at the three mile mark before the last climb up to the top of Smart's Mountain and pretty tired, and it was getting later in the day. Prudence prevailed. Including the out and back on the Ranger Trail and as far up as I went on the AT and back (about 9 miles) I was at 6:45 total time including some breaks. I was carrying approx. 20lb of gear as practice for some upcoming trips and just good old fashion preparedness.

Hiked in late April, very slippery on rocks and. Snow melt created streams down larger parts of the trail, so very muddy. Little snow in spots higher up. Foggy, and misting, temperatures in the high 30s / low 40s depending on where you are on the mountain. Brought ice cleats but did not need them. When moving at a good pace on ascent was down to short sleeves, on descent kept the jacket on all the way.

hiking
Saturday, October 01, 2016

Thursday, September 01, 2016

hiking
Saturday, August 27, 2016

This is a RUGGED trail. The first section (going up the Smarts ranger trail) is gradual and easy, and then you get to a small building (called the "garage") on the map. If you are not in great shape or not up for a long and arduous hike, stop here! The remainder of the trail is steep, rocky and slick. I would definitely recommend hiking polls and microspikes (if hiking in the spring). We tried once before to hike in the spring and ended up having to turn around because it becomes glare ice at the top. Once you finally reach the top you'll be slightly disappointed to see that there are no spectacular views, but a trip up the fire tower will fix that. There's also a nice tent site to sit and relax at to catch your breath. We met some hikers at the top who said they came up the AT instead of the ranger trail because it has nicer views. So, we took the AT down and they were so right! It was much more up and down and gradual for the first large chunk of the way down though, which through us off a bit. But, there are awesome rock face views and a nicer trail. Eventually it drops right off and brings you back to the parking lot. Beware: if you have a dog with you, know that there are barely any places for them to drink on the AT, which differs from the ranger trail which has a lot of creeks for them to drink from. All in all it was a 4.5 hour hike and we were beat by the time we came down. We'd definitely do it again, but only via the AT next time. Happy hiking!

I don't think we took the "moderate" trail!! The hike was more like a mountain climb. Whewww!! If you want a good workout, I highly recommend it. Wear waterproof boots though. We did this hike in Spring and it was very muddy. All in all it was a good day.

hiking
Wednesday, September 23, 2015

hiking
Saturday, April 25, 2015

hiking
Sunday, April 27, 2014

I disagree; I found this hike to be very anticlimactic. The first half of trail is beautiful but after you descend down a while to a somewhat flat and sightless hardwood forest. From there the trail heads upwards through the balsam fir in its steepest fashion where soon you arrive at a somewhat sketchy tower, climbing it appeared to be the only means of taking in any summit views. Marginal views, but overall a beautiful, diverse, and challenging trail that The Dartmouth Outing Club seems to be doing a great job of maintaining.

Awesome hike and views