Hiking in Northern NH & VT
Beautiful views to Maine, Canada and Vermont abound from Magalloway’s summit. Maps are available at the front desk for Magalloway Mountain and other hikes in Pittsburg including Little Hellgate Falls, Garfield Falls and the Fourth Connecticut Lake, the very beginning of the Connecticut River. Advice and information on more treks in northern New Hampshire and Vermont can also be found at the front desk.
We also have recommendations at the front desk on several day hikes that utilize the Cohos Trail, a hiking trail spanning the length of our county. Please visit their informative website for more information on hiking the Cohos Trail.
Being prepared for any circumstance is essential for having an enjoyable experience on New Hampshire’s hiking trails. Though neither Magalloway Mountain or Garfield Falls require full day packs to be brought on trail, it is recommended that hikers bring water, a lunch, and proper clothing in the event of a sudden change in the weather.
Please remember to respect Pittsburg’s wilderness by acting responsibly and courteously while enjoying the area. Help to keep Pittsburg beautiful. In other words, "If you pack it in, pack it out." Proper behavior will help future hikers appreciate northern New Hampshire’s natural beauty as much as you have.
At 3360 feet in elevation, Magalloway Mountain provides a spectacular view of Pittsburg and the surrounding region. Taken from the Abeniki word "Malecite", meaning "dwelling place of moose", Magalloway is home for many other species of birds and animals besides moose. Though moose markings and sign are common around the mountain, meetings with moose will be few and far between. Encounters with moose and other wildlife are more likely to occur on the road from Route 3 to the mountain.
Upon reaching the parking area, the trek to the fire tower can be made in one of two ways. Two trails, known as "Coot" and"Bobcat", lead to the summit of the mountain from the Magalloway Road parking area. Although the trails are separate from each other, they do originate from the same parking area and ascend the mountain parallel to one another. While Coot provides a swifter means to the top, a less strenuous ascent can be obtained by following Bobcat. For the average hiker, the Coot and Bobcat trails require forty and sixty minutes each, respectively.
Upon arrival at the summit, the fire tower provides impressive vistas of Pittsburg and the mountains of Maine, Vermont, Quebec and central New Hampshire. While access to the fire tower cannot be guaranteed, there is a good chance that the fire tower could be available for hikers. The tower is often manned by a ranger during dry weather conditions and serves as the only means of detection for forest fires in the Pittsburg area. If you are fortunate enough to get into the tower, you may sign your name in the log to confirm your endurance in climbing Pittsburg’s highest peak. The ranger will be very helpful in pointing out many of the distant peaks on the horizon. Even Mt. Washington, 56 miles to the south, can be seen from Magalloway on a clear day. In addition to the tower, the scenic "Overlook" trail on the summit presents hikers with panoramic vantage points to the north and east. One of the interesting features of the Overlook trail is its windswept fir trees. Just imagine what a typical winter day on Magalloway would be like.
When it comes time to descend Magalloway, we recommend taking the Bobcat trail, due to Coot’s steep pitches and rocky terrain. However, caution should be taken regardless of which trail is used to come down.
Fourth Connecticut Lake
The hike to the Fourth Connecticut Lake is slightly more than a half mile and can be accomplished in about 30 minutes. The elevation gain is approximately 400 feet and at times very steep and rocky.
The Fourth Connecticut Lake is by no means a lake. It is not much bigger than a beaver pond and a surrounding bog located in a natural bowl. The outlet, or very beginning of the Connecticut River, is reached by hiking around the east side of the pond. There you can easily step across the river, as it is but a small brook when it begins its long journey to the sea.
It is interesting to note that the elevation of the Fourth Lake is 2,600 feet and that the elevation of Lake Francis, which is also in the town of Pittsburg, is 1,380 feet. The drop in elevation is 1,220 feet. The Connecticut takes another 380 miles to reach the sea and drop a similar distance.
Little Hellgate Falls
To get to the trailhead, take Magalloway Road and travel 3.1 miles; turn right on to the Buckhorn Road and travel 3.4 miles; stay right on to Cedar Stream Road and travel 2.2 miles and you will see a snowmobile trail marker - 20W and 137E. The trailhead is across the road from the trail marker. Mileage is approximate.
Located on the East Branch of the Dead Diamond River, Garfield Falls is a natural attraction known for its scenic observation points and cold swimming holes. A forty foot drop off to the pools below defines Garfield Falls, where years of erosion have worn down many of the rocks and boulders in this section of the river. After the falls, the river continues onward through a rocky passage to a series of small rapids. This section of rapids offers hikers their only chance to cross the river by "hopscotching" the exposed river boulders. Access to the upper portion of the falls and its numerous pools can be achieved by crossing the river at this point. Since footing in the Garfield Falls area can be treacherous, proper footwear and extreme caution are recommended at all times.
A short and relatively easy hike from the parking area leads to Garfield Falls. Though it is in a remote location, the path to the falls is in good condition and will offer little trouble for the average hiker. The trail to the falls presents numerous opportunities for viewing the various flora and fauna of Pittsburg’s wilderness. Plant and tree life common to New Hampshire’s northern coniferous forest will be found here as well as ample evidence that this area is a haven for many species of birds and animals. While actual encounters with wildlife around the falls may be rare, caution and common sense are suggested in the event they occur.
According to historians, Garfield Falls proved to be one of the major obstacles on the East Branch during the massive northern New Hampshire log drives down the Androscoggin River. Log jams were common at Garfield Falls due to its unique formation of rock walls. Often, men would be lowered to cut the jam loose and if necessary, dynamite would be used to blow the jam. Sadly, some of these men lost their lives in their attempts. For this reason, Garfield Falls became known as one of the more perilous portions of the East Branch.
To get to Dixville Notch, head south on Route 3 to Colebrook, then take Route 26 east and travel about 10 miles to Dixville Notch. Park in the gravel area on the right, about 150 feet prior to reaching the top of Dixville Notch, as the trail ascends almost vertically from the parking area. The trail starts almost directly behind the big sign"Entering Dixville Notch State Park". This trail is steep and rocky and should NOT be attempted when wet. The trail is 0.3 miles from the parking area to Table Rock.
The alternate route is accessible from a trail originating on Route 26, 0.2 miles east of the junction of the access road to The Balsams/Wilderness Ski Area and Route 26. Park off the road shoulder in the grassy clearing on the right. The trail starts 70 feet before the yellow caution diamond road sign with the profile of a person. This trail is well marked, with many small signs. The alternate route is the safest way to climb up!
Location: Lemington, VT. South of Canaan, VT and West of Colebrook, NH.
Elevation: 3140 feet
Travel Distance & Time from Tall Timber: 21.8 miles,
30 minutes to trailhead
Trail Length: 2.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 2120 feet
Time Range: 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 hrs up, 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 down
The starting point of the
Brousseau Mountain trail
An interesting boulder along the way - “The Old Toad”
Location: Averill, VT. West of Canaan, VT
Elevation: 2714 feet
Travel Distance & Time from Tall Timber: 27 1/4 miles,
40 minutes to trailhead
Trail Length: Unknown, estimated 5/8 mi.
Elevation Gain: Unknown, estimated 500 feet
Time Range: 1/2 to 3/4 hrs. up, 1/2 hr. down
This mountain has a gradual ascent with a vertical rise of 550 feet from the trailhead. The trail is well marked, meandering through a mostly hardwood forest with abundant moose sign. Upon reaching the summit, hikers have great views of Table Rock in Dixville, NH, Mount Washington, Monadnock Mountain in Lemington, VT and Jay Peak from several rocky promontories.
To get there, take Route 3 south to West Stewartstown and take a right on to VT Route 114 south. Proceed past the Averill Lake View Store, and 0.5 miles after the store, there is a small white sign on the right for the trailhead of Averill Mountain. Pull well off of the road for parking.