West Rattlesnake Mountain

Mountain:  West Rattlesnake Mtn. (1260')
Trails:  Old Bridle Path, Ridge Trail
Region:  NH - Central East  
Armstrong Natural Area, Lakes Region
Location:  Holderness, NH
Rating:  Easy/Moderate  
Features:  Views, summit, ledges
Distance:  2.0 miles  
Elevation Gain:  450 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Typical: 1:10  
Outing Duration:  Typical: 2:15  
Season:  Fall
Hike Date:  10/04/2009 (Sunday)  
Last Updated:  07/23/2021  
Author:  Lisa Sprague

Route Summary   

This hike goes to the summit of West Rattlesnake Mountain and offers fantastic views of Squam Lake and its many islands at the foot of the mountain.

  • Follow the yellow-blazed Old Bridle Path for 0.9 mile to its end which will lead you to rocky outcrops with fantastic views.
  • Shortly before the end of Old Bridle Path, Ramsey Trail will leave to the right. Then a bit farther along, Pasture Trail will veer to the right and Ridge Trail will go to the left. Go left to reach the summit of West Rattlesnake in less than 0.1 mile.
  • Return via the same route or look at the map below for options on making a loop and/or extending the hike.

Place         Split
Old Bridle Path Trailhead on Rt. 113 (810') 0.0 0.0
West Rattlesnake Mtn. summit (1260') 1.0 1.0
Old Bridle Path Trailhead on Rt. 113 (810') 1.0 2.0
Map of Rattlesnake Mtn. (map by Ben Kimball for NH Natural Heritage Bureau)

  Trail Guide   

You get a lot of bang for your buck on this trail. The views of the lakes are just incredible. Since the trail is easy and the location is close to town, this is a very populated hike. Mothers bring their young children for a quick walk after school.

The trail is wide and well maintained. There are several sets of stairs to assist in the walk. You may even help in the maintenance of the trail by carrying in a bucket of stones.

The woods contain many species of birds and plants. It's great for those seeking a little bird watching with a view.

Once at the top, which is a quick one-mile walk, you will know that you are not alone. The sound of the highway can be heard and the noises from multiple other groups are there.

After doing many trails in the White Mountains, I was amazed at the ease of the path and the views. I was also disappointed in how short the climb was and how crowded it was. I kept looking for a Starbucks along the path to cater to the crowds. I think it is just a sad sign of how the New Hampshire wilderness is being overpopulated.


NH - Central East

  Driving Directions   

The trailhead for Old Bridle Path is located in Holderness, New Hampshire along Route 113.

  • From I-93, take Exit 24 and follow Rt. 3 East to Holderness (about 4.5 miles).
  • From Holderness, turn left (north) and follow Rt. 113 (a slow, curvy road) northeast for 5.5 miles.
  • At the top of a hill, just past Pinehurst Road on the right, park in the large lot on the right-hand side of the road. It will look like you are turning into a private driveway, but then you will immediately bear right to enter the parking lot.
  • Old Bridle Path starts from the back of the parking lot.
  • There is also a smaller parking area on the opposite side of the road that is intended for hiking Mount Morgan Trail.

Note that there is no parking at the trailheads for the Ramsey Trail or the Five Finger Point Trail. If parking in this vicinity, vehicles should park off the road before the gate on Pinehurst Road (about 1/4 mile east of trailhead), taking care to not block the gate.

Other Notes   

Note that this trail may be closed during mud season.

Property Use Guidelines   

This property is open to the public for recreation and education. Please, for the protection of the area and its inhabitants, and for everyone’s enjoyment:

  • Foot travel only; please stay on the marked trails
  • No horses, bicycles, or motor vehicles allowed
  • No camping or fires
  • Do not collect or disturb plants or animals
  • Please respect private property
  • Carry out all trash and litter


This property is owned and managed by The University of New Hampshire Office of Woodlands and Natural Areas.

The University of New Hampshire owns and manages a portion of this site as a natural area. In keeping with the educational and research goals of the University, natural areas are intended to remain kept in a natural state for the purpose of study. Recreational activities are promoted on all UNH lands.

The trails at the Rattlesnakes are maintained by the Squam Lakes Conservation Society.

More Rattlesnake Reports   


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