South Mountain Lookout Tower Trail

MODERATE 166 reviews
#3 of 21 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 bird watching and is best used from April until October.

Distance: 5.0 miles Elevation Gain: 803 feet Route Type: Loop

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

bugs

Note: Pets are allowed through the main gate for hiking before Memorial Day weekend in May and after Columbus Day weekend in October.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

We did this trail in the pouring rain so it was understandably muddy and puddled and the tower was socked in with fog. That being said, we loved the trail anyways—the wooded areas were beautiful with all of the fog. At the loop portion, we took the Mountain Trail up and the South Ridge Trail down. This is definitely the best route if there is rain (South Ridge is rockier and less muddy than Mountain). The trail is pretty easy—mostly flat, with a small section of uphill at the end. The trail could definitely be ranked “easy” rather than “moderate.” There was a partially fallen tree near the beginning though it isn’t hard to navigate under/around.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

Nice little trail. Went up early and saw no one. Views from the tower were nice but windy and cold.

hiking
3 months ago

We did this trail on Sunday, but instead of taking the Mountain Trail at the junction with South Ridge Trail, we took South Ridge Trail directly up to the fire tower and then came back down via the 0.2 mile loop (blazed in red/orange) that connects back to South Ridge Trail. Beautiful day to be out. Nice colors still visible from the tower - although beware: bees are out right now around the tower and in the rocks around the tower. Otherwise, trails were in great condition. Dogs are allowed through the main entrance during this time of the season.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful fall hike without seeing another person until we were almost finished! Markings going north up the South Ridge trail were sketchy at times, but still easy enough to follow. Followed over South Ridge Trail and had some beautiful foliage after the boulders.

Parked at the visitor center but could have driven through lot and parked closer to trailhead. Bathrooms inside and an outhouse. Went up Mountain Trail (which was really steep the last half mile) and came down South Ridge Trail. Views at the top were great. Fire Tower was open but there were lots of bees and ladybugs.

hiking
5 months ago

great little trail for workout. bugs were biting where plenty of feet.

hiking
bugs
5 months ago

lot of fun, especially at top

hiking
bugs
6 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

sweet bouldering and great view from atop

hiking
6 months ago

Conditions were perfect for this hike...sunny and low 80s. The trail was still a bit muddy in a few locations but easily manageable. For those hiking this for the first time, the shorter route to the top is a tough climb compared to taking the route around the back of the mountain. Some bugs were still around, more on the back side of the mountain near the lake. Do not underestimate the hike back up the hill from the trail head along the road. I found the shorter hike could use some more trailblazers up near the top. Overall a very pleasurable hike.

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
6 months ago

a lot of bugs in the beginning to when you're getting close to the top. Some areas were incredibly muddy. Beautiful views. Before you head to the firetower continuing with the white trail markers (more heading towards the left), look for the red trail markers that go to the right, and there's more beautiful views on that side as well. I saw so many dragonflies all throughout the trail. I saw quite a few frogs more towards the water and muddy areas. Saw a lot of butterflies and a hawk once I reached the firetower. Tons of birds. Edible wild blueberries and checkerberries were there, and yummy!!! I took photos, will post in a few days. Enjoy your hike, folks!!!!

hiking
bugs
7 months ago

Hike was great, lots of bugs but gorgeous views! Bug spray is a must, also lots of muddy sections

hiking
bugs
7 months ago

bugs
muddy
7 months ago

wicked buggy, bring extra bug spray, you're going to need it. All things considered, it was a good first-of-the-season hike; a warm up for more strenuous climbs in the coming months. And not a far drive from Northshore Massachusetts

hiking
bugs
muddy
8 months ago

This loop is closer to about 6 miles round trip for the hike we did. For the time being (I don’t know how much longer) you have to check in at the visitor center and pay - normally, I think the pay station on the road is open during busier seasons. It is $5 per adult to access the park (or free with a NH state parks license plate). We were told to park at the visitor center parking lot and walk the 1/4 mile down the road to the trailhead. This was a great hike to get in some mileage on some easy/gradual trails. Some good patches of mud along the way. Views from the tower were beautiful, even with the clouds today. Only a couple of areas where the incline was more moderate, but brief. Followed the Mountain Trail (blazed in white) up to South Ridge Trail (also blazed white) to the tower for the ascent. Took a small detour on the decent via a trail blazed in orange from the summit that met up with the white blazed South Ridge Trail - not sure if this orange blazed trail has a name. Quite buggy.

hiking
bugs
8 months ago

Always a great hike! Very buggy but still enjoyable. The views at the top are great. If you look north you can see a couple of the peaks in the White Mountain national forest off in the distance. I’m not sure which ones they are. Anyone know?

Great trail, definitely a good work out. About 6.3 miles from where they make you park to the tower and then back. Saw lots of people. When people say the last .6 is tough, they aren't kidding. You will definitely need water and good boots.

8 months ago

9

hiking
8 months ago

Southern New Hampshire’s hidden gem.

hiking
muddy
off trail
rocky
9 months ago

Great hike for some good views

Thu Sep 06 2018

На и

hiking
Thu May 17 2018

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!

hiking
Sun May 13 2018

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.

hiking
Fri May 11 2018

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

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