Located in Franconia in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Owl’s Head is a favorite with hikers. The actual trail to the summit is not maintained, but is easily found from the years of passage from other adventurers before you. The maintained parts of the trail make this an accessible hike but it is considered to be an intermediate class. Don’t be fooled by the wide and easy trail that leads in, once the first 3 miles are over you will be climbing up and up until you reach the top.
Best time of the year to go hiking
What you are going to hear about which is the best season to go will vary on the person you are talking to. For some, the early spring with its rawness and the bright life just beginning is awe-inspiring. Some like the deep lush growth of the summer. Still others prefer the riot of fall. One consideration you should have is whether or not you will be staying in the area to do other things after you have completed your hike. There are festivals and fairs all year round that can keep your weekend full and fascinating. One thing you don’t want to do is wait too long to do the trail. Once late October comes, it can be too cold and dangerous to attempt the peak.
Mountain biking and Owl’s Head
The first 3 miles or so of the trail into Owl’s Head is as wide and flat as a road. Many people choose to bike in the first leg to save time so they are not rushed on the trail. There are many different options for mountain biking on the trail, you can bring your own with you or rent a bike locally. When you reach the neck of the trail where you have to proceed by foot, secure the bike to the provided rails or a tree and it will still be there for you when you return. You won’t be able to bike the entire trail, as it becomes too steep and rocky for passage. This can also be a good way to make progress during the early spring season as the wide and flat entrance of the trail system is prone to becoming muddy with the melt and rains.
Finding the real summit
If you just go by the map and the trail you can find the named summit with ease. However, if you are hiking Owl’s Head as part of your 4,000 list you should know that a recent discovery has found that the real summit isn’t the one shown on the map at all. Once you reached the summit listed on the map, turn north and go a little less than a 2/10 of a mile and you will find what the recognized 4,000 peak of the mountain is. It is about 20 feet in difference from the summit listed on the map, but if you are a dedicated 4000er, then you need to climb the additional height in order to check Owl’s Head off your list.