White Mountain National Forest

Mt. Hedgehog Trail
Mt. Hedgehog at a Glance
Trailhead : The trail leaves from the parking area opposite Passaconaway Campground, 13.5 miles west of Conway on the Kancamagus Highway.
Length : A total loop distance of 5 miles takes you to the summit of Mt. Hedgehog (2520 feet). Plan for about 3 hours.
Difficulty : Moderate
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Beginner hikers or those short on time will enjoy this hike. The grade is moderate and onlythe final sections require a little extra effort. The advantagein taking the loop in a clockwise direction is the view of the Presidentialsand Mt. Washington you get when you reach the summit from the south. Thegrade remains fairly constant for the first two miles, passingthrough birch and hemlock, then dropping in and out of aravine with a small brook nestled along the bottom. Take a minutehere to stop and listen for water, wind, and the beeping of nuthatchesand chickadees, the most common forest birds in this area. Continueclimbing until the trail narrows and emerges out on the East Ledges.From here it's one mile to the exposed rock of the main summit. Be careful near the edges once you reachthe top, especially if conditions are wet or icy.Mt. Hedgehog is located just north of Mt. Passaconaway in theSwift River Valley. Hedgehog separates the valley of OliverianBrook on its east from that of Downes Brook on the west. Mt. Hedgehog,Mt. Potash, and Mt. Whiteface surround Passaconaway Mountain,one of the area's peaks above 4000 feet. Hedgehog is strikinglyshaped, with Allen's Ledge on the north and the huge East Ledgeson Little Hedgehog.

The vantage point from Allen's Ledge, located 1.1 miles upthe west fork of the trail, affords a remarkable view. You cansee Passaconaway, Chocorua, the Moats, the Presidential Range,Carrigain Range, and other eastern peaks. On clear days even theobservatory on top of Mt. Washington is visible.

Mt. Hedgehog in Winter

Although summer is traditionallythe best hiking season, winter in the White Mountains is no timeto put away your pack. Hiking Mr. Hedgehog during the winter monthsis quite nice, and recommended for winter hikers wanting to gainsome elevation. Take the weather into consideration before headingout and make sure your daypack is stuffed with extra dry clothing,high energy food, and waterproofed matches. Be sure to carry amap and compass, as winter trails can be harder to follow whencovered with snow. Be aware that conditions can change rapidlyin the mountains, especially at higher elevations. Snowshoes formountain country need to be of the short and sturdy variety. You should also be able to strap them to a pack. Ski poles often make steeper sectionseasier.

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Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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