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Piper Mountain

Length: 4.0 miles out-and-back

Difficulty (click for info): Moderate

Elevation Gain: 950 feet (-150 feet)

Rating (click for info): 5/10

Elevation: 2044'

Prominence: 244'

Driving Directions:
Trailhead and parking area are at the end of Belknap Mountain Road in Gilford, NH. To get there, take Hoyt Road from Rt. 11A, 1.6 miles northeast of its junction with Rt. 3. Drive 1.8 miles to the end of Hoyt Road, then turn right onto Belknap Mountain Road. Continue 1.6 miles, turn left to stay on the road, then continue 0.4 miles to the end of the road. Park on the roadside.

About the Hike:
South of the ever-popular Belknap Mountain lies Piper Mountain, a smaller and quieter place with good views. It offers a glimpse of Lake Winnipesaukee from near its summit and wider views to the east from the Vista Trail ledge. You can hike it alone or with its lower neighbor, Whiteface Mountain, a grassy summit with even better views. From the end of the road, walk down the gravel extension of the road, passing one house on the left. At the end of this house's yard, turn left onto the Whiteface Mountain Trail at a sign for "Piper/Whiteface Trail". After leaving the house behind, the trail passes a kiosk. It now climbs easily through the forest, soon going by the remains of a cabin. After crossing a small brook, it ascends to the top of the ridge between Piper and Whiteface Mountains, where it reaches a trail junction after 0.7 miles. Here, the Whiteface Mountain Trail bears right to follow the ridge to Whiteface Mountain, a very worthwhile detour with views that exceed Piper's. Turn left onto Piper-Whiteface Link as it continues climbing gradually though the forest, following bright green blazes. Soon, the trail enters open ledges. As you climb, look back for views to the south and west. Just before the trail ends, it leaves the rock and heads back into the forest. In 0.6 miles from the trail junction, Vista Trail turns right. For now, bear left to continue along the trail to the summit for a short distance to reach a good viewpoint toward neighboring Belknap Mountain and part of Lake Winnipesaukee. The viewless summit is just a short walk further up the trail. Back at the junction, take the Vista Trail to get to the best viewpoint. This trail meanders 0.4 miles down over expansive ledges to an east-facing viewpoint, identified by a rock bench. Here, you look over the eastern Belknap Range and nearby lakes. Swett Mountain Trail continues straight to access Swett Mountain. Turn around and return the way you came.

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