South Mountain Lookout Tower Trail

MODERATE 87 reviews
#3 of 15 trails in

South Mountain Lookout Tower Trail is a 5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Nottingham, New Hampshire that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

5.0 miles
803 feet

dog friendly

kid friendly



nature trips





wild flowers


3 months ago

Great trail, I’m a beginner and the last 0.6 of the trail to the top was some serious exercise! Beginning mile or so had some muddy spots. Great views from the top! Some trails at the top could use a little better marking, but other than that great! LOTS of black flies, bring bug spray or black fly repellent!

3 months ago

Hiked today on Mother’s Day and the weather was perfect. Started a bit overcast but it burned off quickly. We parked in the main lot by the gate, but could have knocked off the road walk in, and out, by driving to the trail head to park. The trail was mostly dry, with a few pockets of mud. Bugs were only bothersome at the summit as you really aren’t above tree line. Its good to remember that it is in proximity to marshes and ponds, so you’re going to have bugs. It’s a solid hike and marked fairly well, but could use a few more blazes at the top. Some decent views at the top. I’d do it again.

3 months ago

A friend and I decided to go for a hike here after we were in the area for an hour class of Goat Yoga...Theres a parking lot first thing to your right next to the check-in building (which has some basic necessities like Tylenol, bugspray, shirts, etc for sale). We checked in for the day ($5). All though now I'm wondering if it was really for campground visitors

5 months ago

Great hike! Virtually no ice but lots of mud. Normal for this time of year. Easy start leading into a slightly more challenging end at the summit. Great view from the fire tower. I will definitely do this one again.

6 months ago

Gently rolling hills for the first two miles. Nothing that special, but not boring. Most of the elevation is gained in the last 0.5 miles, which is surprisingly steep for such a small mountain. I didn’t climb the fire tower due to the fact that some wasps had made a nest up there. However, some more courageous people climbed it without getting stung. There were some decent views to the north and northwest from ledges around the summit.

7 months ago

A fairly standard hike through the woods. There were a few tiny scrambles, but nothing too difficult. There were periodic ledges with nice views, but mostly just a lot of woods.

11 months ago

Wonderful trail, but quite trafficated on weekends. Pets are allowed but you cannot access the trail from the main park entrance. Use Reservoir Rd. I posted an alternative loop with pets that is about 4mi and easy.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Hard to know where the summits it's not marked. Trails are all marked with the same markings got a little off track... AllTrails works great!!!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Nice trail, easy at the beginning, moderate at the end. But lot of bugs.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

We were looking for something moderately long. 5 miles was at the edge of what we wanted, but since we had to park at the park headquarters and walk to the trailhead we added a mile to that including a pretty good hill at the end. I did see some kids at the top but I don't think the outing is for most little ones, unless they are hiking pros.
The view from the top was OK, but not great. There is a fire tower up but they were working on it so it was not open.
Be careful because the park seems to blaze everything in white and we started off the summit on the wrong trail and had to backtrack.
In general I would rate this hike poorly on the effort to reward ratio.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Nice trail for a stroll, but there was not much of a summit. If you are looking for a hike with a great view of lakes and mountains-this is not the trail for you. This is a nice trail, but a little on the longer side. I probably woukd not do this trail again.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Beautiful forest, marshes, and these amazing boulders. We did a 10.5 mile trek on various trails, leading up to, and down from, fire tower summit. Lots of easy terrain, but pretty steep final approach to summit. Very peaceful.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

If you have pets do not go through the main entrance during peak summer time. Youu have to go to the main office and have them show you the trails that are accessible during summer. We hiked a total of 7 miles that day with our small dog. Wonderful views once you hit the top! Most definitely will come back here again.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Not a pet friendly. we had to turn around!!!!

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

You have to cut through the State Park and there you have to pay a day fee to get to this area.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Mosquitos are bad on some stretches. Nice little hike, first five mile hike for my kiddos, 8, 7 and 2 (carried most of the way). View is pretty incredible, nice little overlook before the tower (marked orange) with a great view of Pawtuckaway Lake.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Beautiful hike! Just long enough and challenging enough but not too hard. Trails were well marked. Summit isn't amazing but the view from the tower is pretty good. Bugs were TERRIBLE!!! (Early May) Dogs loved it, but be careful on the rock ledges near the summit if you have a clumsy crazy dog. Mine fell off a ledge and scraped his chin. Lightly trafficked on a Tuesday afternoon, but I would imagine it gets pretty busy on the weekends. Would do this one again... With bug spray! :)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Excellent view from fire tower, well maintained trails. Heavily trafficked is my only complaint, however it's understandable given the gorgeous views and excellent hiking.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Interesting site and hike, got me huffing and puffing. It is interesting to see the volcanic caldara that these mountains form.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

The bugs will eat you alive on a hot muggy day, but I love both North + South

Thursday, October 24, 2013

This hike is part of the Pawtuckaway State Park this trail is one of several you can do a longer version coming in from the camping area side or a another side trail on the way to this base. At this one you can drive right to the base area so the hike is right up the mountain. It is short but there are many interesting spots going up with Big rocks and ledges to explore, The road to this base was very rough and somewhat flooded due to Beaver activity on the waters near the roadway,so if you don't have a 4 wheel drive you might want to stop and walk in some of the way . There are several old home sites and Grave yards to explore dating back to the late 1700's and early 1800's when this area was lived in .

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Not manned anymore but super easy hike great for the kids and dogs. It took us about 25 minutes to get up and 12 to get down only .8 of a mile

Monday, March 05, 2012

I have climbed this several times, The easy way is up and back but there are several other trails in the area and a longer hike can be done as a loop. Check the NH DRED website for maps. Great views from the top and an easy hike. Can be busy at times but never crowded. Not sure if it is still manned but a few years ago it was and you can go into the tower if there is someone there.

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