Bald eagle (photo by Mark Malnati)

Hibbard Mountain

Mountain:  Hibbard Mtn. (2940')
Trails:  Old Mast Road, Wonalancet Range Trail, The Short Cut
Region:  NH - Central East  
White Mountain National Forest, Sandwich Range Wilderness
Location:  Albany, NH
Rating:  Moderate/Difficult  
Features:  Summit, views
Distance:  4.8 miles  
Elevation Gain:  1800 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Typical: 3:25  
Outing Duration:  Actual: 4:45   Typical: 4:45  
Season:  Winter
Hike Date:  03/14/2009 (Saturday)  
Weather:  Clear, 45 degrees
Author:  A Seacoast Dayhiker
Companion:  Six SDHers

Dennis at a brook (photo by Mark Malnati)


Route Summary   

This is a hike to Hibbard Mountain in the Sandwich Range Wilderness and offers views into The Bowl between Mount Whiteface and Mount Passaconaway.

It is possible to also summit Mount Wonalancet by varying the route a bit and adding a steep 0.4 mile to the outing; this option is very feasible in the summer but probably best avoided in the winter.

  • From the Ferncroft parking area, walk on Old Mast Road (a trail) for 0.1 mile, bearing left at the first fork.
  • Turn left onto Wonalancet Range Trail just before the bridge over Spring Brook, leaving Old Mast Road behind.
  • Climb for 1.4 miles which will bring you to the lower junction of Wonalancet Range Trail and The Short Cut.
  • If you wish to traverse Mount Wonalancet's summit including a ledgy area with good views, then bear left to stay on Wonalancet Range Trail which will bring you first to the ledges, then to the summit after 0.4 mile and finally to the upper junction of Wonalancet Range Trail and The Short Cut after an additional 0.4 mile. To simply summit Hibbard Mountain, bear right onto The Short Cut.
  • After 0.4 mile, The Short Cut will end and rejoin Wonalancet Range Trail.
  • Turn right to continue on Wonalancet Range Trail towards Hibbard Mountain. (Turning left would bring you to Mount Wonalancet's wooded summit after 0.4 mile.)
  • Continue climbing on Wonalancet Range Trail for 0.5 mile which will bring you to the wooded summit of Hibbard Mountain. En route, look for a short spur on the right which provides an outlook to the south. And before reaching the summit, you will pass by an outlook to the west.
  • To return to the trailhead, retrace your steps being sure to take a left onto The Short Cut after descending for 0.5 mile. Near the very end of the hike, you will need to take a right onto Old Mast Road which will lead you back to the parking area after 0.1 mile.

Sally and Brian on the trail (photo by Mark Malnati)


Place         Split
Miles
     Total
Miles
Ferncroft parking area (1140') 0.0 0.0
Lower jct. Wonalancet Range Trail/The Short Cut (2350') 1.5 1.5
Upper jct. Wonalancet Range Trail/The Short Cut (2600') 0.4 1.9
Hibbard Mtn. summit (2940') 0.5 2.4
Upper jct. Wonalancet Range Trail/The Short Cut (2600') 0.5 2.9
Lower jct. Wonalancet Range Trail/The Short Cut (2350') 0.4 3.3
Ferncroft parking area (1140') 1.5 4.8

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Trail map of hike route to Hibbard Mountain (map by Webmaster)


Trail Guide   

On Saturday, March 14th six dayhikers met at the Ferncroft Road trailhead to hike up Mount Wonalancet (2780') and Mount Hibbard (2940'). Before heading up the trail at around 10 a.m., there was much discussion about the best kind of traction to wear for the icy conditions. We settled on a little of everything: Microspikes, Stabilicers, crampons, snowshoes, and eventually bareboots for some.

The weather was spectacular–not a cloud in the sky all day, with moderate temps and a light wind. Shortly after getting on the trail, the climbing started and continued to get steeper the higher we went. Apparently the Wonalancet Range Trail doesn't get much traffic. It hadn't been broken out since the rain and freeze earlier in the week, making for difficult travel in places. Without the blazes on the trees to follow, we might have lost the trail entirely several times.

Dennis at an icy boulder (photo by Mark Malnati)


We followed the "The Short Cut" trail, hoping to avoid the icy ledges on Wonalancet. Punching our way up through the icy crust we still managed to be confronted with a steep wall of ice that required some navigating to get around. We all decided that the club that maintains this trail (Wonalancet Outdoor Club) must have a different meaning for the phrase "gradual climb" and View (photo by Mark Malnati) maybe a different measuring system for miles, as well. We reached the saddle between Wonalancet and Hibbard and took a much needed lunch break. After lunch we decided to forego Wonalancet and head up Hibbard for the view.

Once at the summit of Hibbard, the view of "The Bowl" between Mounts Whiteface and Passaconaway was impressive. While standing, sitting, and/or lying there we heard and watched a raven circling around. Then we spied a much larger bird coming up out of the valley below. We watched as it soared higher and higher, riding on the thermals. We were all trying to figure out what kind of a bird it could be, when, almost simultaneously, several of us said, "Bald eagle!" With its bright white tail and head and dark wings, what else could it be? The photos confirmed it. It was a special moment to be sure.

The trip down went much quicker–the trail had been broken out nicely, having been tramped on by us six on the way up. We reached the very muddy parking lot at around 2:45 p.m. and had 45-degree temps.
 


 

View (photo by Mark Malnati)

 


NH - Central East


  Driving Directions   

The trailhead for this hike is accessed via the Ferncroft parking area which is located in Albany, New Hampshire, indirectly off of Route 113A.

Sally (photo by Mark Malnati) From I-93:
  • From I-93, take Exit 24 and follow Rt. 3 South to Holderness.
  • From Holderness, get on Rt. 113 and follow it east through its many curves and turns for about 15.5 miles until reaching the junction with Rt. 113A in North Sandwich.
  • Follow Rt. 113A northeast, for 6.7 miles, to Wonalancet.
  • Where Rt. 113A turns sharply right in Wonalancet village, turn left onto Ferncroft Road.
  • Follow Ferncroft Road for 0.5 mile.
  • Turn right onto a gravel road (FR 337) and travel for 0.1 mile.
  • You will arrive at the Ferncroft parking area and kiosk.

From Rt. 16:
  • From Rt. 16 in Chocurua, take Rt. 113 West and follow it for about 3 miles until reaching the junction with Rt. 113A in Tamworth.
  • Follow Rt. 113A northwest, for 6.6 miles, to Wonalancet.
  • Where Rt. 113A turns sharply left in Wonalancet village, turn right onto Ferncroft Road.
  • Follow Ferncroft Road for 0.5 mile.
  • Turn right onto a gravel road (FR 337) and travel for 0.1 mile.
  • You will arrive at the Ferncroft parking area and kiosk.

More Hibbard Mtn. Trail Reports   

  Trail signs (photo by Mark Malnati)

 

View (photo by Mark Malnati)

 

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