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Owl's Head Trail is a 17.2 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Lincoln, New Hampshire that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 17.2 mi Elevation gain 2,995 ft Route type Out & Back
Dog friendly Backpacking Hiking Nature trips Bird watching Forest River Views Wildlife Over grown Rocky
Description
Waypoints (3)
Tips
Getting There

Note: Although some hikers choose to take the bushwhacking route, these shortcuts violate the forest's rules. Hikers must stay along designated trails.

Take Route 112 East from I-93 past Loon to the Lincoln Woods WMNF fee parking area on the left side of the road.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (377)
Photos (686)
Recordings (345)
Completed (564)
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Matt Kuruts
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Hiking
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Rick Sinopoli
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 25, 2020
BackpackingGreat!

The long trail to the peak is very enjoyable. Especially in the Fall with the foliage back drop. The last mile to the top is very difficult. What makes it hard is it is very steep, loose rocks (I guess it’s called scree), and the straight up nature of the hike. Very glad I did it and it was a very unique hike

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Paul Rollins
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Hiking

Nice Hike. Tough last mile

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Scott Lindblom
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 25, 2020
HikingGreat!Off trailScramble

Awesome day Sept 24 - not as rigorous as I though it would be - the Black Pond "bushwack" cut off .5-.7 miles each way I figure, and was a pretty defined, non-bushwacking path - this Fall anyways. Nice cairns but no sign for Owls Head path entrance (lat: 44.1380 lon: 71.6154). That section was steep and slow but not as bad as I had feared. Took Brutus bushwack on way down which was so much nicer & easier than scrambling down the loose scree. Trail was mostly dry and stream crossing easy. Not 5 stars just because there's no view from summit.... and pretty busy & at the bottom. Garmin odometer said 16 miles. Did it in 8.2 hours, including some decent breaks. I do recommend bringing a good map or a GPS with good maps.

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Joseph Cohen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 24, 2020
HikingGreat!Scramble

Really enjoyed this hike: essentially a Wilderness hike with a 4000 ft summit mixed in. Chose the Black Pond Trail from Lincoln Woods. The pond is very tranquil in the mornings. Came across two noisy fisher cats beyond the pond. The slide was not as strenuous as expected and nowhere near as challenging as Flume Slide Trail or parts of Wildcat Ridge Trail. Only came upon fellow hikers near the summit. Nice views from the scree, otherwise a great 'stroll' through the Wilderness. For us, about 9 1/2 hrs moving time for the 18 mile trek.

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Jay Erb
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 23, 2020
HikingScramble

Great hike. We took the black pond bushwhack on the way up. It’s not really a bushwhack anymore. The herd path is easy to follow. It has a more remote feel and the black pond is beautiful. Not that it matters this year, but there are less river crossings using this route. While the levels are extremely low in Lincoln brook and Franconia brook, there was still plenty of water if you needed it for drinking. We took the slide up and the Brutus bushwhack down. I would recommend that as the slide is very steep and loose. Alltrails was very helpful for validating where the bushwhacks were. There are no signs for the bushwhacks or owls head path. The Brutus bushwhack from the Lincoln brook trail is marked by a couple of birches lain on the ground about 4 feet apart. The start of owlhead path from Lincoln brook trail is marked by two cairns a few hundred yards past the Brutus bushwhack. We somehow walked right past it and had to turn around.

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Ryan Gorman
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John Lee
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Hiking
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Scott Patterson
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Hiking

First 8 or so miles are easy. The last mile is crazy!

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Danny Bernier
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Hiking
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Christina Lent
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HikingBlowdownFeeMuddyRocky
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Bob Cotton
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Hiking

A wonderful hike. The first 7 miles out are some of the most pleasant in the White’s that I have experienced. The last 1 1/2 up the Slide Path is brutal. Make no mistake, this is not a trail or a path. It is a rock slide with loose rock that you get to scramble up. Took the bushwhack down which was much better. Again, the remaining 7 miles back was quite pleasant. We had an amazing day. I wouldn’t do the Slide when it is wet.

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Ryan Ferguson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 14, 2020
Hiking

Trail was beautiful! The bushwhack trail was great and Black Pond was awesome in the early hours of the morning.

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Dan Dahlberg
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HikingFeeGreat!RockyScramble

A pretty decent hike all things considered. This is a fascinating trail because most of it is built on top of the old logging rail road infrastructure that is heavily, but subtly, scattered throughout the Pemi. You will clearly experience this once you set foot on Lincoln Woods trail just shy of the parking lot and see a long line of railroad ties. Since slightly over half the trail along this entire route uses old railroad routes, the trail is wide, flat, straight, and free of small obstacles. You will remain on the trail for about 3 miles when you will be greeted by a stone wall that was one end of an old railroad bridge, with the other end and support infrastructure still clearly visible. Shortly after you'll veer left onto Franconia Brook Trail -- yet another rail road trail although with far fewer ties. You can see the remnants of an old suspension or trestle bridge after the second river crossing along Lincoln Brook Trail. You'll also be constantly bouncing between meandering trails and the old rail road routes. At that stage there are several old routes adjacent, parallel, and crossing the paths that may catch your eye. Eventually you'll get to the foot of Owls Head. If the base of the mountain just short of the slide to the top of the mountain was a cocktail, then the first third would be an experience like South Tripyramid slide, the second third would be some wooded scramble that reminded me of the Presidentials, and the last third would be a taste of the wooded Hancock ridge. The slide not difficult to descend, and was pretty quick, although where the scree intermixes with loose dirt for a brief period during the bottom third is the most tricky and slow going. I would not recommend descending the slide if the rocks are wet or raining. Go for the bushwhack in that case. All said and done, did the normal trail back to the parking lot. Moving time shy of 6 hours, total time about 6 hours 50 minutes.

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Kit Kat
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 13, 2020
HikingFeeGreat!MuddyOff trailRockyScramble

Lots of space in the Lincoln woods parking lot at 6:30am ($5). Picture this...a crisp clear morning with a kiss of clouds touching the tips of the surrounding mountains. Hiking along side wonderful people geocaching with a sweet pup named Fritz. Seeing the rolling river throughout the beginning flat entrance of Lincoln woods. It was a magical hike. We decided to take black pond bushwhack- the trail was clear and easy to follow to the pond (a must see attraction). Once past the pond the bushwhack gets a little creative (it could have been us though because on the way back it was super clear). It opens up at Lincoln woods right near a clearing n/nw of the pond. I can see how with more water or a wet season this hike would be sloppy. For us it was very clear with some muddy easily passable spots. We went up the slide (there are only two cairns that mark the entrance. It’s straight up from there. The skree becomes constant and its a total cardiofest as you climb your way to the top. Once you get footing turn and look around (The views as you climb up are awesome). Once past the slide and a bunch of scramble - there is a big rock in the middle of the path that you go around with a cairn on top - (this is the intersection for the bushwhack If you choose to take it down). Continue up to the top. It feels like it goes on for a hot second but then you are back on solid soft ground and the path meanders to the top marked with a cairn. Bask, then we headed down the bushwhack which when going down is a left at the big rock. The bushwhack is steep but so much better then going down the slide (for me at least). It empties you out near a water crossing on the Lincoln woods trail. Good to note if you want to go up it. We met this amazing 9 year old who was shear delight and accompanied us for a portion of the hike. It’s funny that a quick moment can be very special. On the way back we took the bushwhack which was SOOOO much easier to follow this direction. This hike is wonderful. Each mountain has a story and I am happy to learn it’s secrets. A day on the mountains is always a good day. 6:15 moving time.

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Faye Palm
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Hiking

just the slides. it is more fun and dangerous than I imagined.

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