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Mt. Passaconaway

Length: 9.3 miles out-and-back

Difficulty (click for info): Hard

Elevation Gain: 2950 feet

Rating (click for info): 7/10

Elevation: 4043'

Prominence: 823'

Best Time to Visit:
Mt. Passaconaway is a good choice on a day that's too windy for open summits, since its viewpoints are very sheltered. Visit on a fairly clear day.

Driving Directions:
Trailhead and parking area are on Ferncroft Road in Albany, NH. Ferncroft Road leaves Rt. 113A at a sharp curve in the road, 6.7 miles north of its western junction with Rt. 113 and 6.5 miles north of its eastern junction with Rt. 113. The large dirt parking area is half a mile down Ferncroft Road, on the right.

About the Hike:
Although renown for its viewless summit, Mt. Passaconaway actually possesses many fine viewpoints around its summit cone. It is in the center of the Sandwich Range, on the north side of the great cirque known as The Bowl. It is most easily accessed via the Dicey's Mill Trail, which runs through the center of The Bowl. Unlike the treacherous trails on nearby Mt. Whiteface, Dicey's Mill Trail climbs for most of the way at easy to moderate grades. It begins at the parking area at the place called Ferncroft. From the parking area, walk out to the road and follow it for 0.3 miles (to the north - opposite the direction you drove in from), then continue straight where Blueberry Ledge Trail crosses a bridge on the left. Follow the road up a driveway and into a field, then finally enter the woods at the end of the field. The trail soon approaches the Wonalancet River, and 0.3 miles after entering the woods, passes a bridge over the river on the left. The trail then travels at mostly easy grades for 1.1 miles into the floor of The Bowl to a junction with Tom Wiggin Trail on the left. In another 0.4 miles, the trail crosses a tributary of the Wonalancet River, passes by an open grassy area, and runs beside a large boulder. It soon begins ascending the east side of a ridge in the middle of The Bowl. Grades are easy to moderate and the trail is never very rocky for the duration of the climb. After an uneventful 1.4 miles, pass a junction with Rollins Trail on the left. In another 0.2 miles, turn left to stay on the trail as East Loop (marked by a sign for the summit) continues straight, just after crossing a tiny stream. It then passes a former campsite, and begins ascending more steeply by switchbacks. After 0.7 miles of rocky climbing, the most difficult part of the trail, the main outlook is reached.

Here, there is a restricted directional view to the northwest. Mt. Tecumseh is seen through the trees to the far left. Next over are the Tripyramids, seen from the "back" side (the east side - opposite the famous slides), with the tip of Mt. Moosilauke peering over the pass between the middle and south peaks. The Franconia Ridge is seen in the distance along with Mt. Garfield. Mt. Hancock and Mt. Carrigain are seen closer by, with South Twin Mountain between. This viewpoint has the distinction of being one of the very few perches from which you can see The Captain, a little rocky bump on the connecting ridge between Hancock and Carrigain.

Continue a short distance to the junction with Walden Trail and turn right onto a spur path to reach the viewless summit of Mt. Passaconaway, marked with a tiny cairn. Continue onto Walden Trail to make a short loop around the other summit viewpoints. A 0.3-mile spur path on the left descends to a better northern outlook. The trail passes an eastern viewpoint, then a southern viewpoint, then descends back to the Dicey's Mill Trail.

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