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Mount Chocorua

by | Jul 4, 2021

The perfect hike on your way to, from, or during your stay, at The White Gables Inn

The White Mountains are full of gorgeous settings, babbling brooks, and staggering peaks but close to home, one stands out unlike any other. If you’ve made the drive-up Route 16 from Southern New Hampshire, Massachusetts, or beyond, Mt. Chocorua is a mountain that can’t be missed. While not the tallest of the White Mountains, its physical separation from other mountains and rocky peak that towers over the valley and Lake Chocorua, makes it appear as it extends into the heavens.

Here is why this hike cannot be missed:

#1. The View!

Exposed rock top with picture-perfect 360° views of the White Mountains and Lake Chocorua.

The video to the left is from the highest point of Mount Chocorua, standing on the elevation marker.

#2. No Seriously, Have You Seen the View?

Beautiful year-round and enhanced by the fall foliage.

#3. Proximity to The White Gables Inn.

Ok, maybe this should have been #1 but picture this: You make one of the most brilliant decisions you’ve made in a long time and decide to spend a long weekend at The White Gables Inn. Again, kudos on your exceptional life choices. You wake up early Friday morning, pack your clothes, and start your drive from MA, NH, VT, really anywhere. You arrive at Mt. Chocorua still in the AM and begin the hike. By early to mid-afternoon, you’ve made it to the top and realized the pictures Mike and Steph posted in their epic blog do not begin to capture the serenity nor moment of the scene in front of you. You sit there for a while enjoying the moment more than you ever thought you could, take a thousand pictures, and head down. With a sense of fulfillment, you get in the car and grab some dinner as you finish the last 25 mins of your drive and arrive at The White Gables Inn. Steph shows you around the inn, you eat your dinner on the deck while watching the sunset over the mountains, go to your room and take a shower (it’s about time… seriously, you reek), and then the best thing happens. You realize it’s only Friday night and you still have 2 more days of adventure, not to mention amazing breakfasts, ahead of you.

#4.  A variety of trails offering different lengths and features.

There are multiple trailheads, all of which are close to The White Gables Inn and offer different hiking experiences. My 2 personal recommendations are listed below but there are many other ways up especially for those who want greater hiking distances.

The Piper Trail:

4.3 miles and 2700 feet of elevation gain to the summit,
8.6 miles round trip
15 miles from The White Gables Inn

Reasons you may want to choose this particular trail:

  • You are visiting us from Southern, NH; Eastern Massachusetts, or elsewhere on the East Coast and want to do this hike on the way to/from The White Gables Inn
  • You prefer longer, more difficult hikes (The 8.6 miles roundtrip is the longest of the direct routes up/down the mountain)
  • You want to maximize your time above the tree line and enjoy views of Chocorua Lake prior to reaching the summit.

Parking for this trailhead can be found on Rt 16 behind Davies General Store. Unfortunately, this really cool store is no longer open which is even sadder than this moose we got there years ago.

Roughly 2/3’s of the hike occurs in the woods, with the last 1/3 being on exposed rock. The hike is a good challenge and will require some scrambling (use of hands) towards the top. It has been 10 years since I’ve hiked this trail and I cannot find any of my old photos but is something I remember fondly and will always highly recommend.

Champney Brook Trail:

3.7 miles and 2240 feet of elevation gain to the summit
7.4 miles round trip
19 miles from The White Gables Inn

Reasons you may want to choose this particular trail:

  • You are visiting us from Northern NH; Vermont, or perhaps parts of Upstate NY or Canada and want to do this hike on the way to/from The White Gables Inn
  • You want to see Champney Falls and many other worthwhile water features on the way. Note, if you think summiting the mountain may be too difficult or you don’t have enough time this trip, the ~3.3 mile round trip hike to see the falls is a great way to spend 3-4 hours.

Parking for this trailhead is found on the Kancamagus Highway next to a very large sign that reads Champney Brook Trail pictured to the right. This picture was taken early in October and you see how stunning the foliage in the area can be, even before you’ve started your hike.

This trail crosses back and forth over and along the brook through the first 1.6 miles. At this point, you will find yourself at Champney Falls. The cascading falls are a great place to take a break and enjoy a snack. 

Much like the Piper Trail the last 1/3 of the hike will be on exposed rock and will require some scrambling. Again, great views will be had not just at the summit but the entire time you are above the tree line. 

When you reach the top you will have clear views of Chocorua Lake, the White Mountains, and the beautiful Maine & New Hampshire countryside.

This is one of my all-time favorite hikes. The views, trail variety, and proximity to The White Gables Inn are among the reasons I keep going back. In fact, let me know when you’re going next and I just might go with you.

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