From the summit, looking north to the Presidential Range and the Carter-Moriah Range.
Photo by Ryan Linn
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Mt. Chocorua

Last weekend had much better conditions than the previous one, so I tried to make up for the few days I’d taken off in the poorer conditions by doing two great day hikes. The first was a late start to the iconic (and difficult to pronounce) Mt. Chocorua.

Ryan Linn       Trip Report       02/23/2015
Ryan Linn
Trip Report
02/23/2015

Last weekend had much better conditions than the previous one, so I tried to make up for the few days I’d taken off in the poorer conditions by doing two great day hikes. The first was a late start to the iconic (and difficult to pronounce) Mt Chocorua.

Chocorua is one of the southernmost peaks in the White Mountains, and not particularly tall at only 3500 feet, but it has one of the most distinctive shapes in the area, with a snaggle-tooth rocky peak jutting up from the ridge. That rocky peak, battered by high winds and totally exposed, is similar to many much higher summits, which makes it a great place for epic views and some exciting scrambles.

Two hikers stand in front of a view of a snowy mountain and evergreen forest.
The first open ledge with a clear view to the summit.
Photo by Ryan Linn

Hiker Box, Badass, Siren and I set out late in the morning on the Piper Trail, which is one of the more popular trails up the mountain. For winter, the trailhead isn’t plowed, but an old couple who share a driveway with the trailhead allow hikers to park in their yard for $3 per car.

I’m happy to pay the small price, since they’re friendly folks and seem perpetually amused by the crazy people walking up the mountain behind their home.

Despite the clearly broken-out trail, the low temperatures and frequent powdery snow from this winter kept the ground soft, making snowshoes a must for the entire ascent.

In most winters, microspikes would have been more than sufficient, but they work best after a few freeze/thaw cycles turn the packed trail into something between ice and snow. There hasn’t been any thawing this winter, which is just the way I like it.

A hiker climbs up a snowy slope with a valley visible in the background.
Arriving at the tree line, with North Conway in the background (Cranmore Ski Area is an easily visible landmark).
Photo by Ryan Linn
Two hikers climb through a snow field.
Epic climbs!
Photo by Hiker Box

Walking through the woods for most of the approach, we could see the jagged summit through the trees most of the way. The sky was mostly overcast, but once we broke above tree line the clouds proved to be just high enough to allow some grey views of several mountain ranges, from the Sandwich Range to the Presidentials.

The last half mile to the summit is entirely exposed ridgeline, walking on rock and ice. We probably should have switched to microspikes or crampons for this section, but rugged snowshoes worked well enough if we slowed down and took care in our footing.

There were plenty of other hikers out this day, though no one spent more than a few minutes getting buffeted by wind on the summit.

We snapped a few pictures, then booked it down the trail for dinner at the Yankee Smokehouse in West Ossipee. It was a late night once we included the drive back from the trail, but even with a 11 AM start on the trail, we managed not to hike in the dark at all. A great start to a great weekend!

A hiker on snowy ground stands next to an imposing cliff.
Beginning the walk along the cliffs and ledges near the summit.
Photo by Ryan Linn

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White Mountain National Forest

White Mountain National Forest is home to New Hampshire’s highest peaks and over a thousand miles of hiking trails!

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Presidential Range, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire
Photo by Ryan Linn
Presidential Range, White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire
Photo by Ryan Linn

White Mountain National Forest

White Mountain National Forest is home to New Hampshire’s highest peaks and over a thousand miles of hiking trails!

250+ miles of trail (400 km)
$29.99 full guide
Learn more
Get our trail guide for this area!
About the Author
A man wears a blue shirt, blue backpack, and a tan baseball cap.

Ryan Linn

Ryan is also known as “Guthook”, which is where our apps get their name. Already an avid hiker, he hiked the Appalachian Trail, New England Trail, and Pacific Crest Trail before joining forces with Paul to create the Guthook Guides apps. Ryan handles iOS development for our apps from his office in Maine, and usually runs away to the forests and mountains throughout New England. He also volunteers with the Maine Appalachian Trail Club and the Natural Resources Council of Maine. Baxter State Park in Maine is his happy place.