My last visit to Mt. Kearsarge in Warner, New Hampshire was a few years ago, as the fire tower was being rebuilt. I recently decided to go back for my first uphill walk since the virus-in-the-news laid me low earlier this year. From the upper end of the auto road in Rollins State Park, which is a treat in itself, I hiked the half-mile-long Rollins trail to the Kearsarge summit.
It was a splendid morning at the end of August. A muggy summer heat wave had just broken, giving way to clear dry air and brisk breezes. As self-imposed rehab assignments go, this hike was unbeatable.
The hills and trails of southern New Hampshire spell home to me. I looked south from Kearsarge’s summit cairn and scanned the horizon: the Uncanoonucs in Goffstown, Joe English hill in New Boston, a view of the Wapack Range from the north – is that Crotched Mountain ski area nearby? – and aloof and stately Monadnock.
The ledgy summit features a 360 degree view, in case someone finds the view of the southern hills unsatisfactory. My advice is to soak it all in.
At $4, park admission is a bargain. See nhstateparks.org for up-to-date information on fees and maps for this and other state parks. Kearsarge is home to two of those parks. Rollins from the south features the auto road and a short hike; Winslow from the north offers longer trails. The Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway makes its way over the summit as well.
The auto road closes to motor-vehicle traffic in November and usually re-opens on Memorial Day weekend. I enjoy walking on the auto road in the off-season when the weather allows, sharing the road with other walkers and ambitious bicyclists. The summit is out of reach for the likes of me until the snow and ice are gone, but there are a few vistas along the auto road that make an uphill walk worthwhile.
3 thoughts on “Short climb, grand view: Mt. Kearsarge via Rollins State Park”
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Rollins Trail is maintained by Cardigan Highlanders Volunteer Trail Crew (cardiganhighlanders.com). Since 2018, we have added some rock steps and pavers, dug out and restored older drains built by Trailwrights in 1987, and blazed the trail in the color WHITE per the NHSP this July. Work continues, and we welcome willing workers.
Thank you for your writings, they are always interesting.
Thank you for the information, Craig! I’m glad to share the word about the trail crew. I appreciate your work.
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