All across New Hampshire, small communities flourish in the shadows of majestic mountains. For people who live in the small towns along the corridor of Interstate 89, south of Lebanon, New Hampshire and north of Concord, the summit that dominates their landscape is Mount Kearsarge.
image courtesy of: Robbie Shade
With an elevation of just 2,100 feet, Kearsarge is not the tallest summit in New Hampshire—that title goes to Mount Washington—but since Kearsarge is a relatively isolated peak, it still provides breathtaking views. From the fire tower at the summit, the horizon opens up all the way to Massachusetts.
Mount Kearsarge spreads out across two New Hampshire towns, Warner and Wilmot, and is accessible from two state parks.
- Rollins State Park. On the south side of Mount Kearsarge, you’ll find Rollins State Park, located in Warner, New Hampshire. If you love the views from the top of Mount Kearsarge, but aren’t able to hike the entire distance to the summit, Rollins is where you need to go. The park offers a 3½-mile scenic road for vehicles that leads to a parking and picnic area. Views from the picnic area stretch as far as the Boston skyline and the coastal plain of New Hampshire. If you can handle a half-mile hike, a trail from the picnic area leads to the summit.
- New Hampshire Telephone Museum. While you’re in Warner, take some time before or after your excursion on Mount Kearsarge to visit the New Hampshire Telephone Museum. Plan to spend about an hour viewing thousands of artifacts that tell the story of telecommunications from start to finish. Hours of operation vary throughout the four seasons, so call ahead to know when they are open. The museum is located on Depot Street, just off Main Street in downtown Warner.
- Winslow State Park. The northwest slope of Mount Kearsarge is home to Winslow State Park, in Wilmot, New Hampshire. The picnic area in Winslow is a plateau that rises to an elevation of 1,820 feet and offers views of the White Mountains of New Hampshire to the north, as well as views of taller peaks of mountains in southern and central Vermont. A 1-mile trail from the picnic area takes you to the summit, and there’s also a loop trail to explore.
- New Hampshire Mountain Inn. If you like to pair your outdoor adventures with comfort, luxury, and history, consider spending a night (or two) at New Hampshire Mountain Inn in Wilmot. Join family and friends around crackling fireplaces, take a dip in the heated pool, share a drink in the tavern, and get a good night’s rest in individual rooms or suites that combine the rusticity of the past with the amenities of the present.
- Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway Hiking Trail. Shorten that imposing title to SRK Greenway, and what you’re left with is a 75-mile loop trail that links together four state parks—Winslow, Rollins, Sunapee, and Wadleigh—and nearly a dozen New Hampshire towns. Maintained by a nonprofit organization that was created in the 1980s, the SRK Greenway Coalition sponsors group hikes, potluck dinners, hiking safety classes, and more. You’ll find trail maps and more information at their website.