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The 52-With-a-View: An Introductory Guide

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For you hikers who aren't allured by the famous 4000-footer list's required 18-mile+ treks to Owl's Head and the Bonds or who just don't see the point in hiking to viewless Mt. Hale and the other few peaks with only minor viewpoints, the 52-With-a-View list is suited just for you. Well-known but far less popular than the 4000-footers, 52WAV claims many of the essential New Hampshire mountains outside of the 4Ks. Originally created in 1991 by a club of seniors enjoying spending all their time on the mountains and calling themselves the "Over the Hill Hikers", 52-With-a-View was first conceived as extension to the 48 4000-footers. The leader of the Over the Hill Hikers, "Lib" MacGregor, set out to design a version of the NH 100 Highest specifically tailored for her club, as opposed to the 100 Highest list already in existance. The Over the Hill Hikers clearly did not want to climb a 100 highest list that required wilderness navigation skills to reach fierce bushwhack peaks with no reward. Thus, they selected the next 52 highest mountains under 4000 feet that had both a maintained hiking trail and a good view. The first completers of the list received a "100" patch for completing both the 4000-footers and the Over the Hill Hikers' 52, but now, those folks who appreciate the solitude and vistas of the bottom 52 only will be awarded a patch. Of course, the basis for the list is entirely subjective and it does not quite achieve its goal of being the 52 highest peaks under 4000 feet that have a trail and view. There are plenty of quirks in the design of the list, first being that there is no prominence requirement. This means that what is chosen as being a "mountain" is completely arbitrary - the list includes Hibbard Mountain, a flat spot on a ridge which is by no definition a mountain and excludes the magnificent Zeacliff, which has spectacular views and is just as little a mountain as Hibbard. A second oddity is that some nearby mountains are included in the list in pairs and some are separated. For example, Mt. Meader and Eagle Crag, 2 miles apart, are one entry in the list while Mt. Chocorua and Middle Sister, well under 2 miles apart, make up two separate entries. This makes for some funny counting to get to 52. One peak on the list, North Doublehead, almost seems to be in error, since it is South Doulbehead that has the view; North Doublehead is higher, but has only limited views compared to the multiple expansive viewpoints on its south peak. One more note of interest - to honor the recent death of MacGregor, the 52WAV list will never be updated in the future (two peaks - Carr Mountain and Mt. Wolf - were previously replaced due to diminishing views). This means that the nearly viewless Black Mountain Middle Peak in Jackson will stay a 52WAV mountain forever. Despite its shortcomings and the fact that many mountains of lower elevation have better views than the 52, the Over the Hill Hikers' enduring list will continue to be a respected reference for less-known mountains with good views. Climbing the entire list is a joy for newcomers and 4000-footer achievers both, and we would highly recommend it to any hiker who wants to get to know the White Mountains better.

You can find all of the lookouts on 52-With-a-View here on NH Family Hikes (*a few are coming soon*), but you will find them grouped in a neater arrangement on this page. In addition to our suggestions on how to get started with your quest, you will find three tables with varying information on each mountain. The first table lists statistics for each hike required to collect all 52 and has clickable rows to bring you to each one's separate guide. This is by no means a complete reference, but we think it's a suitable reference for beginners. Please note that you may fashion nearly unlimited different routes to each peak, but we present our one recommended route for each one.

Working on the list

The biggest thing to be aware of about the 52WAV list is that lower elevation does not mean lower difficulty. There are many peaks on the list, such as the Baldfaces or Mt. Chocorua, that are absolutely as difficult or more difficult than many 4000-footers. For those inexperienced hikers who want to start with this list, be sure of your ability by visiting one of the easier places on the list, such as Mt. Kearsarge, Mt. Willard, or Mt. Roberts. All three of these are excellent places to start. They offer excellent views for minimal effort, pulling your attention toward climbing the rest of the list, where more effort is required to get the best views. Once you are ready to see all that the 52-With-a-View has to offer, get to know the tables below and the locations and characters of each mountain on the list. Although mainly clustered in the White Mountains, some peaks on this list are quite spread out, ranging from far southern, civilized Mt. Monadnock to Magalloway Mountain in the logging wilderness of Pittsburg. Also, see the following tips, copied from our 4000-footer list page: Know the most difficult peaks, and determine what path you will use to prepare for them. Use the chart and our descriptions to decide which intermediate hikes will challenge you to step up your ability to reach closer to the hardest ones. To keep your quest varied and exciting, remember to select peaks from different ranges and areas in turn, rather than visiting nearby peaks consecutively. You will enjoy rotating through various regions and experiencing what each one has to offer. Be aware of the driving time for each general area and plan accordingly. Know which mountains are best for certain times of year. You will want to plan for peaks which require large water crossings for late summer when water is low, for example, or save a lower peak surrounded by river valleys for autumn foliage viewing. Save one for last. Don't use up all the most exciting peaks first; save some for later and remember to keep one special one for last.

Completion

The 52-With-a-View list itself does not have an actual website to visit for information; the most official resource is their Facebook Page. It includes a welcome at the top with a link to an official list with instructions for submission to recieve a patch.

Tables

The following table lists route statistics for each hike to one or more 52-With-a-View peaks. Everything listed here describes the particular routes we recommend for climbing each one. Each combination of mountains or route to such can always be altered by consulting other guides. Difficulty listed here is subjective and relative to the set of 52WAV's; it is not a general classification. Click on any row to view our guide for that hike.

Mountains Round-trip Distance Elevation Gain Difficulty Special/Unique Features
Sandiwch/Jennings8.7 mi2850 feetHardBrook scenery. Scenic sub-alpine ridge. Multiple ledge viewpoints. New England's tallest sub-4000 foot mountain.
Webster6.5 mi2550 feetHardBugle Cliff. Cascades. Scenic loop with 4000-footer Mt. Jackson. Gray Jays!!!
Starr King7.2 mi2600 feetEasyGentle and scenic forest climb. Visit to 4000-footer Mt. Waumbek is a must for better views.
Horn8.4 mi2150 feetModerateBrook walk. Beautiful birch glades. View of summit from Unknown Pond Rocky pinnacle with near-360 view.
Shelburne Moriah11.4 mi3100 feetHardCascade chute on Rattle River. Ridge walk over open alpine area. Alpine bogs and open ledges.
Sugarloaf4.2 mi2200 feetModerateOld fire warden road and cabin. Beautiful open summit.
North Baldface/South Baldface9.9 mi3600 feetHardEmerald Pool. Vast expanses of steep ledges. Long open ridges. Two huge open peaks. Eagle Cascade.
Success5.5 mi1950 feetHardWild remote trail. Extra cliff views from The Outlook. Summit bog.
Martha & Owls Head6.4 mi2450 feetHardBeautiful forest. Open ledge on Owls Head.
Chocorua/Three Sisters8.3 mi2250 feetHardSeveral waterfalls. Scenic ledges. Unique rocky pinnacle summit. Old fire lookout.
Stairs/Resolution/Crawford10.8 mi3250 feetHardTrio of summits with spectacular views. Wild sub-alpine ridge
Avalon3.7 mi1550 feetEasyBrook and cascades. Sharp rocky peak.
North Percy4.4 mi2200 feetHardExtremely steep ledges. Beautiful flat open summit.
Magalloway1.8 mi800 feetEasyFire tower with unequaled view of Pittsburg.
Tremont5.6 mi2550 feetModerateBrook and cascades. Best foliage view in NH (in our opinion).
Kearsarge North6.2 mi2600 feetModerateOpen ledges on trail. Open summit with fire tower.
Smarts7.5 mi2440 feetHardLedges on Lambert Ridge. Long wooded ridge. Fire tower.
West Royce6.4 mi2450 feetHardCascade. Better views from East Royce in Maine.
Paugus8.4 mi2100 feetModerateSeveral viewpoints from ledgy knob south of actual summit.
North Moat/South Moat10.4 mi3250 feetHardMany ledges. Long interesting ridge walk. Wide open summits.
Imp Face4.4 mi1850 feetModerateCascades. Ladder. Sharp drop off ledge to brook valley.
Monadnock5.6 mi1700 feetEasyHistoric road. Spring. Multiple extra viewpoints. Huge expanse of ledges. 3rd most hiked mountain in the world.
Cardigan5.7 mi1900 feetModerateSemi-open ridge traverse from Firescrew. Open ledges. Fire Tower.
North Doublehead------COMING SOON
Eagle Crag & Meader------COMING SOON
Parker------COMING SOON
Shaw7.3 mi2750 feetModerateUnique trail network. Cascade. Additional viewpoints from Big Ball Mountain. Lake views. Grassy road on summit.
Eastman8.4 mi2600 feetModerateNice sub-alpine summit.
Hibbard5.2 mi1980 feetModerateMany boulders. Good ledge view from Mt. Wonalancet.
Kearsarge2.9 mi1100 feetEasyShort rocky ascent. Expansive ledgy summit with fire tower.
Cube7.4 mi2100 feetModerateTwo summit knobs with interesting rock and wide views.
Stinson3.6 mi1400 feetEasyShort forest climb. Rocky summit with good views and fire tower footings.
Willard3.2 mi900 feetEasyEasiest hike on 52. Small Waterfall. Incomparable view through Crawford Notch.
Black3.6 mi1550 feetModerateHistoric lime kilns. Many nice ledge viewpoints.
Middle Black3.2 mi1020 feetEasySki trail and cabin.
Welch & Dickey4.4 mi1800 feetModerateHuge extended ledge walk and climb with constant views.
Iron3.4 mi1100 feetEasyViews at bottom of trail. Ledge viewpoints on ascent. Fire tower remains on summit. Expansive south ledges with best views.
Potash4.4 mi1400 feetEasyRiver crossing. Many ledges with wilderness views.
Blueberry5.0 mi1400 feetEasyLogging roads. Mossy ledges with good views.
Israel4.4 mi1700 feetEasyLong ledgy summit. Views in a few different directions.
Square Ledge9.1 mi1750 feetHardLong river walk in wilderness area. Huge cliffs and boulders. Multiple small viewpoints. More views from nearby landslide.
Roberts5.5 mi1350 feetEasyLake views from extended ledge walk. More views from grassy road at summit.
Pemigewasset3.6 mi1250 feetEasyFamous "Indian Profile". Easy forest climb. Open ledges.
Hayes5.0 mi1650 feetEasyPond and cliffs. Ledges with view of Gorham.
Middle Sugarloaf3.4 mi1100 feetEasyRiver walk. Split rock. Ladders. Walk-around ledgy summit.
Hedgehog4.8 mi1400 feetEasyGood views from three ledgy areas. Cliffs and boulders.

This table provides an overview of the character of each 52WAV peak's summit.


Mountain View Type View Rating Summit Type Summit Structures/Markings
Sandiwch DomeStand-up directional7/10Forested and ledgyA cairn
Mt. WebsterThree-directional9/10Forested and ledgyNo markings
Mt. Starr KingVery limited directional3/10Forested and grassyA small cairn
The HornThree-directional8/10Forested and rockyNo markings
Shelburne Moriah MountainThree-directional9/10Sub-alpine and ledgyA cairn
Sugarloaf MountainTwo-directional8/10Forested and ledgyA sign
North BaldfaceOpen in all directions10/10Sub-alpine and ledgyA cairn
Mt. SuccessStand-up directional8/10Sub-alpine and ledgy/boggyA trail sign
Cherry MountainThree limited directional views (Summit); Two-directional view (Owl's Head) 8/10Forested and grassy (Summit); Forested and ledgy (Owl's Head)Fire tower footings (Summit)
South BaldfaceOpen in all directions10/10Sub-alpine and ledgyA cairn
Mt. ChocoruaOpen in all directions10/10Open and ledgyA benchmark
Stairs MountainWide directional7/10Forested and ledgyNo markings
Jennings PeakTwo-directional7/10Forested and ledgyNo markings
Mt. AvalonDirectional6/10Forested and ledgyNo markings
North Percy PeakWalk-around view in all directions7/10Sub-alpine and ledgyA sign
Mt. Resolution (south knob)Two-directional8/10Sub-alpine and ledgyNo markings
Magalloway MountainOpen in all directions (from tower); directional view (from cliffs) 9/10Forested and grassyA fire tower
Mt. TremontWide directional9/10Forested and ledgyNo markings
The Three SistersOpen in all directions10/10Sub-alpine and ledgyA stone foundation
Mt. Kearsarge NorthOpen in all directions (from tower); walk-around three-directional view (from summit) 10/10Sub-alpine and ledgyA fire tower
Smarts MountainOpen in all directions (from tower)7/10Completely forestedA fire tower
West Royce MountainStand-up directional5/10Forested and ledgyNo markings
Mt. Paugus (south knob)Directional7/10Forested and ledgyA trail sign
North Moat MountainOpen in all directions10/10Sub-alpine and gravellyA cairn
Imp FaceTwo-directional8/10Forested and ledgyNo markings
Mt. MonadnockOpen in all directions7/10Open and ledgySigns
Mt. CardiganOpen in all directions9/10Open and ledgyA fire tower
Mt. CrawfordWalk-around view in all directions9/10Sub-alpine and ledgyNo markings
North DoubleheadVery limited directional (two wide directional views from south peak)9/10 Completely forested (south peak is ledgy)A cabin
Eagle Crag and Mt. MeaderThree-directional (Eagle Crag); Multiple directional views (Meader)8/10 Sub-alpine and ledgy (both)A No markings
Mt. ParkerDirectional7/10Forested and ledgyNo markings
Mt. ShawDirectional8/10Forested and grassyA bench and loop road
Eastman MountainDirectional7/10Sub-alpine and ledgyA cairn
Mt. HibbardLimited directional5/10Completely forestedNo markings
Mt. KearsargeOpen in all directions8/10Open and ledgyA fire tower
Mt. CubeTwo wide directional views from two summit knobs8/10Forested and ledgyNo markings
Stinson MountainDirectional6/10Forested and ledgyFire tower footings
Mt. WillardWide directional8/10Forested and ledgyNo markings
Black MountainWalk-around three-directional7/10Forested and ledgyNo markings
South Moat MountainOpen in all directions9/10Open and ledgyNo markings
Black Mountain, Middle PeakVery limited directional3/10Completely forestedNo markings
Welch and Dickey MountainsOpen in all directions9/10Sub-alpine and rockyNo markings
Iron MountainMultiple directional views, two-directional view from South Cliffs 8/10Forested and ledgyFire tower remains
Potash MountainMultiple directional views8/10Sub-alpine and ledgyA metal post
Blueberry MountainMultiple limited directional views5/10Sub-alpine and ledgy/td>No markings
Mt. IsraelWide directional7/10Forested and ledgyA cairn
Square LedgeTwo limited directional views4/10Forested and ledgyNo markings
Mt. RobertsWide directional view from ledges and directional view from summit 7/10Forested and grassyA sign
Mt. PemigewassetWide directional7/10Forested and ledgyNo markings
Mt. HayesDirectional6/10Forested and ledgyA trail sign
Middle Sugarloaf MountainWalk-around three-directional8/10Sub-alpine and ledgyNo markings
Hedgehog MountainDirectional view from summit; wide directional view from east ledges 6/10Forested and ledgyNo markings

This table provides quantitative information about the mountains. Note: Double entries are listed as the higher peak only.


# Mountain Elevation Prominence* Isolation** Range Town
1Sandwich Dome3993'1213'4.9 miSandwichWaterville Valley
2Mt. Webster3910'170'0.8 miPresidentialBeans Grant
3Mt. Starr King3907'157'0.7 miPlinyJefferson
4The Horn3905'255'0.5 miPilotKilkenny
5Shelburne Moriah Mountain3735'445'1.1 miCarterShelburne
6Sugarloaf Mountain3710'600'3.3 miWestern Nash StreamStratford
7North Baldface3610'1260'3.6 miBaldfaceBeans Purchase
8Mt. Success3565'675'2.8 miMahoosucSuccess
9Cherry Mountain3554'1555'4.3 miCherry-DartmouthCarroll
10South Baldface3570'300'1.0 miBaldfaceChatham
11Mt. Chocorua3500'1280'5.2 miSandwichAlbany
12Stairs Mountain3468'528'1.9 miPresidentialSargents Purchase
13Jennings Peak3460'160'0.6 miSandwichWaterville Valley
14Mt. Avalon3442'100'0.2 miWilleyBethlehem
15North Percy Peak3430'800'1.4 miEastern Nash StreamStratford
16Mt. Resolution3415'355'0.6 miPresidentialSargents Purchase
17Magalloway Mountain3383'1013'3.9 miNorthern LakesPisstburg
18Mt. Tremont3371'1591'4.0 miMoatBartlett
19The Three Sisters3354'174'0.5 miSandwichAlbany
20Mt. Kearsarge North3268'1758'6.7 miKearsarge North AreaChatham
21Smarts Mountain3238'2188'10.0 miMiddle Connecticut RiverLyme
22West Royce Mountain3210'1340'4.9 miBaldfaceBeans Purchase
23Mt. Paugus3198'978'2.1 miSandwichAlbany
24North Moat Mountain3196'1176'4.4 miMoatBartlett
25Imp Face3165'55'0.2 miCarterBeans Purhcase
26Mt. Monadnock3159'2149'41.2 miMonadnock AreaJaffrey
27Mt. Cardigan3123'1890'13.4 miCardigan AreaOrange
28Mt. Crawford3119'259'0.8 miPresidentialHadleys Purchase
29North Doublehead3053'963'2.5 miBaldfaceJackson
30Eagle Crag3030'80'0.3 miBaldfaceBeans Purchase
31Mt. Parker3004'184'1.2 miPresidentialBartlett
32Mt. Shaw2990'2340'14.1 miOssipeeMoultonborough
33Eastman Mountain2939'369'0.9 miBaldfaceChatham
34Hibbard Mountain2940'40'0.3 miSandwichWaterville Valley
35Mt. Kearsarge2930'210'18.5 miKearsarge AreaWilmot
36Mt. Cube2909'859'3.6 miMiddle Connecticut RiverOrford
37Stinson Mountain2860'1470'3.9 miStinson-Carr-KineoRumney
38Mt. Willard2865'285'0.5 miWilleyHarts Location
39Black Mountain2830'680'2.4 miBentonBenton
40South Moat Mountain2780'80'0.4 miMoatAlbany
41Black Mountain, Middle Peak2757'167'0.6 miBaldfaceJackson
42Dickey Mountain2734'154'1.1 miLincoln-Waterville AreaWaterville Valley
43Iron Mountain2724'946'2.9 miPresidentialBartlett
44Potash Mountain2700'240'0.7 miSandwichWaterville Valley
45Blueberry Mountain2662'52'0.4 miBentonBenton
46Mt. Israel2630'1200'2.8 miSandwichSandwich
47Square Ledge2620'40'0.1 miSandwichAlbany
48Mt. Roberts2582'112'0.5 miOssipeeMoultonborough
49Mt. Pemigewasset2557'137'0.6 miKinsmanLincoln
50Mt. Hayes2555'605'1.3 miMahoosucShelburne
51Middle Sugarloaf Mountain2539'279'0.7 miLittle RiverBethlehem
52Hedgehog Mountain2532'472'0.8 miSandwichAlbany


*Prominence is a measure of how much a mountain stands out. If a mountain has a prominence of 500', that means if you are standing on the summit and you want to walk to a higher place, the very minimum vertical distance you must descend in order to climb up to another place higher than the summit is 500 feet.

**Isolation is a measure of how alone a mountain is. If a mountain has an isolation of 0.5 miles, that means the nearest place that is higher than the mountain is half a mile from the summit.

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