Hiking: Bald Mountain via Bald Mountain-Artist's Bluff Path | 5/17/2014 | White Mountains, New Hampshire

The view from the summit of Bald Mountain
Bald Mountain is a small, double summit mountain near the northern end of Franconia Notch in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  The mountain offers great views of the notch, Cannon Mountain and Mount Lafayette without much effort and is a great quick hike for those who do not have a lot of time when visiting the Franconia Notch area.

The Bald Mountain-Artist's Bluff Path leaves from one of the Cannon Mountain Ski Area parking lots that located on the north side of New Hampshire Route 18.  The parking lot may or may not be open to parking when the ski area is closed.  If it is, you can park along Route 18.  However when we were there, the parking lot was open and we were able to park right at the trailhead.

The trail follows the remnants of an old carriage, though it is quite eroded in places.  It is also quite wet in places.  That said, the grade is relatively easy to hike.  In about a third of a mile, the trail climbs to the top of the ridge, where there is a trail junction.  To the left the trail climbs to the summit of Bald Mountain and to the right, the trail goes to Artist's Bluff and then loops back to the trailhead on NH 18.

For our hike we turned left and followed the spur trail to the summit of Bald Mountain.  This relatively short trail quickly ascends through the woods and then climbs the open summit of Bald Mountain.  As you begin to leave the trees behind, views are pretty much available in all directions.  From the summit itself, you have an at least 270 degree view of Cannon Mountain, Franconia Notch, Mount Lafayette and the surrounding mountains.  The only area you don't get much of a view is to the north and to the northeast.

For a hike of only half a mile in one direction, this is probably one of the best view you can get in the area (the only better one I can think of is riding the tram up Cannon Mountain and then doing the short walk to a vista up there).  The trail is not difficult and while the last bit of the trail climbs the bare rock cone of Bald Mountain, in most conditions, this is not hard a hike.  In very wet or icy conditions, some extra caution would be required, but in those cases, it's likely there won't be a view, so there wouldn't be a reason to be on Bald Mountain.

Bald Mountain won't be winning any awards for toughest trail!
Bald Mountain doesn't have a loop trail, so the way that you came up, is the way to head back down.  When you reach the intersection at the saddle between the two summits, you have the option of either continuing back down to the Trailhead as we did, or going out to Artist's Bluff and then following the trail down the bluff and out to the Trailhead.  The trail over Artist's Bluff and back down to the Trailhead is about a mile in length.






AMC White Mountain Guide, 28th: Hiking trails in the White Mountain National Forest (Appalachian Mountain Club White Mountain Guide)For more information on Hiking, Climbing and Skiing in the White Mountains
We have produced a short guide to the recreational opportunities available in Franconia Notch State Park.  If you are looking to hike, the best guide to the trails of the White Mountains is published by the Appalachian Mountain Club.  The White Mountain Trail Guide provides descriptions and maps for all of the hiking trails of the White Mountains.  AMC also produces a map for the trails in the Franconia Notch Region, as does National Geographic in their Trails Illustrated series.




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