Mount Roberts

What a difference a week makes!

It’s Thursday, and that means it is time for another outing. I was constrained today by a need to be home in time for a meeting at noon, so I selected one of the New Hampshire “52 with a view” peaks that is new to me and yet not too-far of a drive: Mount Roberts. It turns out to be a great destination… and the conditions were radically different than last week. Read on…

The summit of Mount Roberts includes grand views of the White Mountains, including Mount Washington in the center distance.

Today, the temperatures were above freezing throughout the day, and indeed (at home) reached into the high 50s. Quite a difference from our hike last week, when it still felt like winter!

The surface snow was thus quite soft, though this popular trail has been kept well-packed all winter so the footing was easy; untouched off-trail areas near the summit (in areas sheltered by spruce trees) allowed one to sink in a foot or two. What I found most interesting, though, was that the trail appeared “dirty” while the surrounding forest floor remained pristinely white. There is no dirt to be seen – everything is covered in snow. What happens is that the footpath is slightly lower than the surrounding snowpack, and the leaves and tiny bits of bark and other windblown debris settle into the footprints and footpath, giving the appearance of a dirty trail. It certainly makes this trail easy to follow!

Debris fills the trail tracks along the route to Mount Roberts.

My early start (8am) meant I saw no other hikers on the trail, except a woman out for a stroll with her dogs across the farm fields and, on the way down, one lone hiker and his dog. I enjoyed the open hardwood forest as the trail climbed to the ridgeline, then a view-laden traverse of the rocky ridgeline. Here the windwept south-facing ridge had thin snow cover but grand views to my rear across Lake Winnipesaukee.

The trail to Mount Roberts offers grand views of Lake Winnipesauke and the Belknap range beyond.

The sky was partly cloudy in a diffuse, hazy sort of way, but one could still pick out the ski trails of Gunstock mountain at center.

Soon I was on the summit – not a particularly high or grand peak, but with impressive views north into the heart of the White Mountains. Mounts Whiteface and Passaconaway, with a hint of the Tripyramids and Carrigain, are visible at center. Prominent in the right foreground is a local bump called Black Snout, and just over its shoulder to the right is the brilliant white peak of Mount Washington. At far right is the rocky white peak of Chocorua.

The summit of Mount Roberts includes grand views of the White Mountains, including the white peak of Mount Washington in the distance at right.

You may be able to see that photo better by clicking on it, or visiting it (and other photos) in the gallery.

Hike stats:
distance: 7.5km
time: 2:00h
gain: 395m

start/end at lower-right. scale in meters, elevations in feet 🙂

Author: dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, husband, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

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