North Mountain
Pawtuckaway State Park

Mountain:  North Mtn. (995')
Trails:  North Mountain Trail, North Mountain By-pass, Boulder Trail, Round Pond Road
Region:  NH - Southeast  
Pawtuckaway State Park
Location:  Nottingham, NH
Rating:  Moderate  
Features:  Summit, views, boulder fields, slab caves, loop hike
Distance:  5.2 miles  
Elevation Gain:  700 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Actual: 2:26   Typical: 3:00  
Outing Duration:  Typical: 5:00  
Season:  Summer
Hike Date:  08/20/1999 (Friday)  
Last Updated:  07/04/2012  
Weather:  About 80 degrees overall
Author:  Webmaster

Route Summary   

This is a loop hike that summits North Mountain and then explores the wonderful Boulder Trail. Next it goes by Round Pond before returning to the start of the loop.

  • Start from the eastern end of Boulder Trailhead and follow it for 0.2 mile until it meets with North Mountain Trail.
  • Turn left to follow North Mountain Trail, ignoring Boulder Trail which continues to the right.
  • After 1.2 miles you will reach the summit of North Mountain.
  • Continue down the other side of the peak, still on North Mountain Trail, for 1.0 mile.
  • Turn left onto North Mountain By-Pass and follow it for 1.4 miles until its end on Round Pond Road. Note that the junction of North Mountain Trail and North Mountain By-Pass may not be signed. As you're heading down from the summit, the junction occurs where the trail levels out and there is clearly a four-way intersection: turn left to get onto North Mountain By-Pass Trail (North Mountain Trail goes straight).
  • Turn left and walk along Round Pond Road for about 0.1 mile and then hook up with Boulder Trail... where you started this hike.
  • Follow Boulder Trail for 0.2 to its junction with North Mountain Trail but this time instead of heading up the mountain, go right to check out the rest of Boulder Trail.
  • After 0.7 mile, Boulder Trail ends at Round Pond.
  • Turn right onto Round Pond Road and walk 0.6 mile back to your vehicle.

Place         Split
Eastern end of Boulder Trailhead (450') 0.0 0.0 0:00 0:00
Jct. Boulder Trail/North Mountain Trail (400') 0.2 0.2 0:06 0:06
North Mtn. summit (995') 1.2 1.4 0:46 0:52
Jct. North Mountain Trail/North Mountain By-Pass Trail (700') 1.0 2.4 0:33 1:25
Jct. North Mountain By-pass Trail/Round Pond Road (500') 1.4 3.8 0:30 1:55
Western end of Boulder Trailhead via Round Pond Road (450') 0.1 3.9 0:03 1:58
Eastern end of Boulder Trail via Boulder Trail (350') 0.7 4.6 0:18 2:16
Western end of Boulder Trail via Round Pond Road (450') 0.6 5.2 0:10 2:26



Click for a larger trail map (it will open in a new window).   

Map of hike route to North Mountain in Pawtuckaway State Park (map by Webmaster)

Trail Guide   

All the trails I followed today were great. Boulder Trail starts right off with cool-looking boulders strewn alongside a wide pine-needle covered path. Right by the junction of Boulder and North Mountain Trails are even more neat boulders: big, neat shapes with some slanting onto each other to form a "cave".

Slab cave along Boulder Trail near swamp (photo by Webmaster) North Mountain Trail starts climbing up. There are lots of big cliffs and boulders most of the way. The trail was really buggy (mosquitoes and black flies) until reaching the first boulder cliff, then they weren't bad. The lookout point is great. I could see the fire tower off to the southeast on South Mountain which is beyond Middle Mountain. It looks like the tower is on Middle Mountain, but that's just because Middle Mountain is blocking the view of South Mountain (for all but the fire tower). In the northerly direction the close view was of marshy areas, the middle view of powerlines, and the far view of mountains. If you could ignore the ugly powerlines that was a cool view.

The AMC guide had mentioned a "large green Public Service Company communications reflector" at this bluff. In my ignorance of what a communications reflector is, I pictured a round, 3 foot in diameter, shiny, green reflector - similar to the type found on bicycle tires. How wrong I was! This monster was green, matte, metal, approximately 20 feet by 16 feet and raised up off the ground about a dozen feet.

Anyway, this outlook was quite choice and I spent about an hour there hanging out and delighting in the never-ending breeze.

The summit of North Mountain was a few minutes beyond this outlook. It is marked by a pile of rocks, forming a cairn about four feet in diameter. There is also a survey marker embedded in the rock near the cairn. There's a clearing due to a large area of rock forming the ground; but trees are surrounding the rock so you don't really get much of any outlook here. However, continuing along the trail, just a short ways, there's a great outlook to the left about fifteen yards off the trail on a large expanse of boulder.

Almost all the way down to the junction of North Mountain By-pass Trail, there are several good outlooks from the trail itself; and others that can be obtained by going just a short distance off to one side.

Both approaches to North Mountain are great. On the northern segment, the rocks are awesome; and on the southern segment, the views are great.

Once hitting North Mountain By-Pass Trail, it was a mostly wide, level trail. I walked through pretty woods, but there was an absence of neat boulders. One uphill led to a good outlook.

After reaching Round Pond Road, I turned left to get back to the western end of Boulder Trail.

Boulder Trail is a real treat. Lots and lots of time could be spent here exploring and admiring all the neat rock formations! Be sure to check out the spur trail that the park no longer officially maintains - there are more awesome rock formations and boulders.

After reaching the end of Boulder Trail, I walked back from the eastern end of Boulder Trail to the car, along Round Pond Road (dirt road).

The trails are well marked throughout (except for the trailheads) with white blazes. And at points that may be confusing, there are also small, brown signs with yellow arrows painted on them to indicate the correct direction. Several offshoot trails (snowmobile trails?) leave North Mountain By-pass Trail.


NH - Southeast

  Driving Directions   

The trailhead is located in Nottingham, New Hampshire.

  • From Rt. 101 West, take exit 5 (Rt. 107/Raymond).
  • Follow Rt. 107 North. After Rt. 107 splits away from Rt. 27 and Business Loop 101 (stay on 107), go 3.2 miles, then turn right onto Reservation Road.
  • Bear right at 1.2 miles (there's a small white sign pointing right, labeled "State Park").
  • At 2.3 miles, turn left onto Round Pond Road (there's no sign; going straight will lead around to Tower Road and eventually to the other end of Round Pond Road).
  • Follow this road for 1.2 miles, then bear left in order to stay on Round Pond Road and avoid Tower Road.
  • After 0.5 mile, the western end of the Boulder Trailhead will be on the left, just after a hairpin turn. There is small brown sign marking the trail. Continuing on this road for another 0.6 mile will bring you to the eastern end of the Boulder Trailhead. Shortly after the western end the road branches in two directions - take either one; very shortly they rejoin each other.
  • The road (dirt) was pretty rough as I approached the trailheads. I ended up parking in a little pull-off near the western end of the Boulder Trailhead.
  • Note that you cannot drive past Round Pond to access the campground area (it is not a through road).

Other Notes   

I'm told the bugs I experienced were mild compared to normal. I guess they start in about April and don't let up until fall. In the fall, hunting is allowed in the park so make sure you know the hunting dates and stay clear (or wear bright orange and take your chances).

The eastern end of the North Mountain By-pass Trail is about 0.1 mile before (south of) the western end of the Boulder Trailhead. It is marked by a small, plastic, orange sign with the trail name hand-written in black marker on the left-hand side of the road.

Dogs are not allowed in the park.

More Pawtuckaway State Park Trail Reports   



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