Mount Sunapee

Destinations:  Mt. Sunapee (2726'), Lake Solitude (2510'), White Ledge
Trails:  Andrew Brook Trail, Lake Solitude Trail, Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway, Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway
Region:  NH - Southwest  
Mount Sunapee State Park
Location:  Newbury, NH
Rating:  Moderate  
Features:  Summit, views, lakes, brooks
Distance:  6.0 miles  
Elevation Gain:  1650 feet (cumulative)  
Hiking Time:  Typical: 3:50  
Outing Duration:  Typical: 5:30  
Season:  Fall
Hike Date:  10/07/2000 (Saturday)  
Last Updated:  05/03/2009  
Weather:  Sunny, clear, 50 degrees
Author:  Webmaster
Companions:  SDHrs: Rachel B, Sal S, Dave S, Rich S, Greg B, Greg C, Faye, Bob, Dennis M, Anne H, Tom H, Marj W, Ed T, Cheryl M, Monsie D, a couple from Florida, + 3 more

Route Summary   

This hike takes you to Lake Solitude, White Ledge, and Mount Sunapee. There are great views from both White Ledge and the summit.

  • Start on Andrew Brook Trail and follow it for 2.0 miles until it ends at Lake Solitude.
  • Then pick up Lake Solitude Trail (also part of the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway and the Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway).
  • After 0.2 mile on Lake Solitude Trail, take the spur path on the left, following it for 60 yards which will bring you to the top of White Ledge where there are great views down to Lake Solitude and out to the east.
  • Return to the main path and keep hiking up Lake Solitude Trail which will bring you to the summit after another 0.8 mile. Walk all around the summit to enjoy the views in various directions.
  • Return via the same route. Note that on the way down, somewhere below Lake Solitude, we encountered a fork in the trail that we didn't notice on the way up – bear left to stay on the trail.

Place         Split
Andrew Brook Trailhead (1330') 0.0 0.0
Lake Solitude (2510') 2.0 2.0
Mt. Sunapee summit (2726') 1.0 3.0
Lake Solitude (2510') 1.0 4.0
Andrew Brook Trailhead (1330') 2.0 6.0

  Trail Guide   

The Old Man on the Mountain was seen on Sunapee last Saturday. While hiking up Andrew Brook Trail in Newbury, we encountered an enthusiastic group that wanted to know our "trail" names and shared theirs with us. There was "Vulture" who consumed a ton of food; "Mule" who never listened; and "Bathing Bear" who fell into a stream. Us SDHers haven't made a habit of assigning trail names but it was at this point that Dave divulged he had been dubbed "Old Man on the Mountain". Well, I won't go so far as to mention his age but he's definitely on a mountain much of the time and undisputably old, so it's an apt designation.

There were a total of 21 SDHrs that showed up for this 6-mile jaunt, and hike leader, Rachel Bowles, delivered on her promise for great scenic vistas. The temperature hovered around a comfortable 50 degrees with clear, sunny skies. The first couple miles of the trail were wet and rocky with Andrew Brook cheerily babbling away nearby. It even sported a mini waterfall – only a drop of a couple of feet but very picturesque. Young beech trees were gently arching over the trail with the dappled sunlight filtering through their yellow and green foliage, and illuminating the more intense red and orange maple leaves littering the forest floor. There were lots of beech and maple trees and hobblebush (Viburnum lantanoides) and we saw a skinny snake that was only four inches long.

Lake Solitude (photo by webmaster)

Continuing up a mixture of easy and moderate grades, we passed by several large boulders and rock hopped over stream crossings – in fact at times it seemed the trail was the stream. After 2 miles we arrived at Lake Solitude, nestled amongst many conifers. It supported a smattering of lily pads on its smooth surface and reflected the tall ledge that rises 300 feet above its far shoreline. A welcoming campfire was burning nearby which allowed us to stand stationary and drink in the peacefulness while still keeping warm. There was a mallard duck swimming in the lake.

Trail (photo by webmaster) Sunapee Lake (photo by webmaster)

Our next scenic stop was from atop the cliff that we had viewed from the lake. It is called White Ledge and provided us with an excellent outlook to the east, including the neighboring Mount Kearsarge. Above this point, the grades were more gentle and we soon found ourselves breaking out of the woods onto a gravel road and looking down onto a sparkling Sunapee Lake. From here, there was just a short, moderate section of climbing left to achieve the summit. We were teased by the running chairlift in front of us, effortlessly delivering people to the top as we conquered the 3 miles on foot.

Sunapee Lake (photo by webmaster)

The summit was a medley of green grass, woods, and chairlifts, and even included a small lodge. There were views to be had in every direction – but not all at once – we had to move around to check out all the vistas. On the back of the lodge was a high deck that looked out towards Mount Ascutney in Vermont and had a great radial chart labeling all the mountains that were visible from Sunapee's peak along with their distances from Sunapee. Down on the lower deck, we could see Mount Monadnock and the Uncanoonuc peaks. From next to the chairlift, we saw Mount Kearsarge. There was an abundance of beautiful mountains but we failed to name most of them since that helpful chart was located at a spot where there was a biting wind cutting short our studies.


NH - Southwest

Cliffs over Lake Solitude (photo by webmaster)
  Driving Directions   

The Andrew Brook Trailhead is located in Newbury, New Hampshire.

  • From the junction of Rt. 103 and Rt. 103A in Newbury, head east on Rt. 103 for 0.8 mile.
  • Turn right onto Mountain Road.
  • After 1.2 miles, the trailhead will be on the right just before Mountain Road crosses a bridge.
  • There is limited parking here; do not block the woods road (trail). There is a sign for the trailhead but it isn't readily visible from the road.

About Mount Sunapee State Park   

Mount Sunapee State Park's 2,893 acres, located in Newbury, New Hampshire offers outdoor activities of hiking, swimming, picnicking, fishing, boating, snowshoeing, alpine skiing, camping, and mountain biking. In the summer, there's the option of taking an arial ride up to the summit of Mount Sunapee.

Nestled in the woods is the tiny and peaceful Lake Solitude. And the Mount Sunapee State Beach on Sunapee Lake is a popular spot. Sunapee Lake covers 4,090 acres.

About Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway   

The Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway is a 49-mile hiking trail that runs between Mount Monadnock and Mount Sunapee. It is located in southwestern New Hampshire and traverses mostly rolling hills and ridges that divide the Connecticut and Merrimack River drainages.

The Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway route was laid out in 1921 by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. The trail runs through three New Hampshire state parks, and over 80 private land owners voluntarily agree to host the trail, and in some cases, campsites on their land.

A few favorite dayhikes on the Greenway are climbing Mount Monadnock, hiking through the Andorra forest at Pitcher Mountain, or moose watching in and around Pillsbury State Park. There are five campsites along the Greenway for those thru-hiking the entire trail; it normally takes 3–4 days to complete the full length.

Hiking trails should always be respected, but this is especially essential when private lands are involved because landowners can revoke trail-use privileges at any time. Leave no litter, pick up any litter you see left by others, stay on the trails, and don't light campfires (portable stoves are okay).

The Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Trail Club (MSGTC) was formed in 1994. The club's mission is to continue trail maintenance efforts, support the volunteers and trail adopters, and promote awareness of this beautiful, remote, well-kept secret.

You can purchase the latest edition of The Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Trail Guide, (which includes a map) or just map from the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Trail Club.

The Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway connects to the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail to the south which in turn connects to Metacomet and Mattabesett Trails in Connecticut further south. The linked trails collectively cover about 240 miles running from Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire south towards Long Island Sound in Connecticut.

About Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway   

The Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway (SRKG) is a 75-mile "emerald necklace" (in the words of the SRKG Coalition) hiking trail located about 25 miles northwest of Concord, New Hampshire. This route forms a big Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway logo (photo by Webmaster) loop that can be hiked via fourteen point-to-point dayhikes ranging from 4–9 miles.

The name of the greenway comes from the fact that the trail hikes over the summits of Mount Sunapee (2726'), Ragged Mountain (2225'), and Mount Kearsarge (2930'). Lake Sunapee is completely within this "necklace" and one section of the SRKG passes by its southern tip. The "Greenway" part of the name comes from the fact that the trail passes through forests and areas that for the most part have seen little development.

The Greenway was first conceived in 1990 and relies heavily on the goodwill of the private landowners whose property it passes over. Please respect their generosity by parking responsibly, staying on the trail, not littering, and picking up any stray trash you happen to see during your walk. The SRKG passes through ten New Hampshire towns: Andover, Danbury, Goshen, Newbury, New London, Springfield, Sunapee, Sutton, Warner, and Wilmot.

Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway Property Use Guidelines   

  • Dogs are not allowed.
  • Camping is not allowed.

More Mount Sunapee and Greenway Trail Reports   


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