Summit Mount Chocorua This Fall

Mount Chocorua reflected in Chocorua Lake, NH

Reflection of Mount Chocorua in Chocorua Lake [Image: www.mountainsummits.com]

If you’re looking for a hike with waterfalls, rocky scrambles, and outstanding views, you have to check out Mount Chocorua in New Hampshire. While not one of New Hampshire’s 4,000-footers, Mount Chocorua’s steep ascension from much lower elevations make it a rugged hike in the White Mountains. After clambering over bare rock to reach the summit, the mountain’s open, rocky top gives way to spectacular views of the Southern Presidentials, including Mount Washington.

A fateful legend surrounds the mountain. It’s believed that Chocorua was the name of an 18th century Abenaki man who threw himself from the summit after cursing the surrounding land and settlers there. Called to a tribal meeting, Chocorua had left his young son, Tuamba in the care of local settler and friend, Cornelius Campbell. While in Campbell’s care, Tuamba died from accidental poisoning. Grief-stricken, Chocorua killed Campbell’s wife and child, and in retaliation, Campbell chased Chocorua over the summit of what is now Mount Chocorua. The story goes that two years later, Campbell was discovered dead on Mount Chocorua, partially eaten by wolves.

Hikers on the Champney Falls Trail on Mt. Chocorua, NH

Hiking by Champney Falls [Image Credit: Jessica Feldman]

Mount Chocorua is a popular hike, and there are many trails to the top. Favorite trails include the Piper Trail, the Champney Falls Trail, and the Liberty Trail. Be sure to take the Champney Falls Loop to get a good look at the waterfalls. The falls look especially incredible after a couple days of hard rain, but that may also mean that some of the trail gets a bit flooded. Due to Chocorua’s popularity, those seeking a more secluded hike up Chocorua should hike earlier in the day to beat the crowds. Download Pocket Ranger®’s Official Guide for New Hampshire State Parks for easily cachable trail maps with Advanced GPS Mapping technology.

View of the Presidential mountains from the summit of Mt. Chocorua, NH

View of the Presidentials from the summit [Image: Kayleigh Yandow]

Since Chocorua’s summit is sans trees, it can get very windy up there. Make sure to pack a fleece or a light jacket, maybe even a hat. From the summit of Mount Chocorua, hikers can easily ridgewalk over to First Sister. The summit of First Sister is oftentimes much less windy and less exposed, so it can be worth the 0.4 mile journey to First Sister to break for lunch. If you’d like to continue soaking up all the fantastic ridge views, continue ridgewalking from First Sister onto the summit of Middle Sister.

Hikers atop Mount Chocorua eat lunch on a fall day

Nestled inside a nook for lunch atop the Chocorua summit [Image: Jessica Feldman]

Spending the weekend in the area? Mount Chocorua is located near a multitude of great outdoor attractions. Close by, the Madison Boulder Natural Area is home to the largest known glacial erratic in New England. The boulder measures 23 feet above the ground and weighs upwards of 5,000 tons! The park is open to leashed pets and is a great place for a picnic.

Moose on the Kancamagus Highway (route 112), during the spring months. Located in the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA

Moose crossing “the Kanc” [Image: weeksactlegacytrail.org]

Mount Chocorua is located off of the beautiful, 34-mile-long Kancamagus Scenic Byway, or what is locally known as “the Kanc.” With its many scenic pullovers, getting just the right White Mountains selfie is a sure bet. The Kancamagus Highway also includes opportunities to drive through historic covered bridges and swim in the mountain spring-fed Swift River. Remember to keep a lookout for moose!

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