White Mountain National Forest
The trailhead, at 1506 feet, is located 3 miles east of Twin Mountain, New Hampshire, on Route 302 in the parking area 200 yards beyond the entrance to Zealand Campground. The loop is 25 miles long and traverses a number of woods roads. Three waterfalls, a number of spectacular views, and the highest state highway in New Hampshire are all major attractions along the Cherry Mountain Loop.The trail follows the Lower Falls Hiking Trail, which leaves from the east side of the trailhead on Route 302 (left side of the bulletin board), paralleling a beautiful stretch of the Ammonoosuc River. At 0.5 miles, you reach the Lower Falls of the Ammonoosuc River. Rock strata here attract geologists and photographers. At 1.0 mile go left (north) onto the Cherry Mountain Road. This unpaved road offers great views (part of it follows the Deception Brook Esker, a sand and gravel deposit left by the retreating glaciers.) At around 2200 feet the Cherry Mountain Hiking Trail diverges left. A 3.5-mile side trail to the summit of Mt. Martha (3554 feet) is suitable for mountain bikes. The views are well worth the trip.
The main loop trail continues on the Cherry Mountain Road past several private cabins, turning right on the gravel Mill Brook Road marked FR93. Follow this road for about 1 mile until you reach the gated Mt. Mitten Road on the left. The gate is closed to block motor vehicles, but foot travel and mountain bikes are welcome to pass. The Mt. Mitten Road continues through remote country for several miles, ending at the Jefferson Notch Road. Turn right (uphill) and be prepared to meet cars. Jefferson Notch is 3007 feet in elevation, making this road the highest state highway in New Hampshire.
The Caps Ridge Hiking Trail starts at the trailhead located in Jefferson Notch, but it is unsuitable for mountain bikes. The road follows Jefferson Brook and passes by Bretton Woods Cascades before meeting the Base Station Road (paved). Take a right (west) on the Base Station Road for approximately 5 miles to Route 302. At the junction of Route 302 and the Base Station Road turn right. Travel west along Route 302 back to the starting point.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication