Saturday, January 16, 2010

Red Hill 1/16/10

Scott & I had planned on hiking Israel Mt. on this unseasonally warm day and headed to Center Sandwich under blue sky's. I wasn't sure how far in Sandwich Notch Rd. was plowed but was hopefull we would make it to the Wentworth trail head. Well, the plowed road stopped at Diamond Ledge Rd. and a sign stating no motor vehicles beyond this point so we contemplated our options. I estimated a 2 mile road walk down what looked like a busy ski mobile area, "pass"! I pulled my map out and just at the bottom of my map I saw a sliver of Eagle Cliff Trail and I said, "Oh, ya" Red Hill is nearby. I have wanted to check this peak out for some time now since I had been reading in many WMNF history books of this being a usual stop for those traveling the (then) carriage road to Mt. Washington and the notches. The views were wonderful as I have read. So a quick road detour, a pass by (book & map out), we found the Teedie trailhead almost at the center of the Squam Lake frontage and just a shy West of the town line sign. The entrance to the parking wasn't plowed but just a small snowbank blocking it (nothing the 4-wheel drive couldn't handle).

Parked under the pine trees, our bags on our backs, we headed up the Teedie Trail at 11:00am. The trail makes it's way next to and through rock walls and an interesting section of some sort of tree vine which has taken over the area. Bare berry bushes were ubundant and many different kinds of animal and foul tracks, particularly of deer who have heavily burrowed this area. Careful to follow the yellow blazes so as not to confuse ourselves with the deer paths which blended with the trail at times, we quickly began a steep climb. Limited views were seen through the trees the entire time of Squam Lake. Once to the Eagle Cliff junction we took a left and made a simple .4 miles to the Eagle Cliff summit 1,270' at 12pm. Not much, other than a bald rock knob now mostly overgrown, it was more of a ledge than a cliff. We continued on past this for another .2 miles or so just to make sure we weren't missing anything...and perhaps we did. Back on the top we had a break, climbed back down to the junction and decided to carry on to Red Hill.

The Eagle Cliff Trail continues from the junction and drops down to a col. than rises steeply again up what we thought was the summit of Red Hill (I had no map of this section and didn't really retain much of what I quickly read in the book in the parking lot). Limited views again through the trees adding Eagle Cliff Knob below and Sandwich Dome to the North. Once atop this and across it's wooded summit we saw the true summit much further on and the Fire Tower came into view. Back down into another col. then back up again...this was really tiring us out!

We dragged ourselves on reaching the summit cabins and fire tower of Red Hill 2,030' at 1:30pm. A group of about 8 were chatting by the fire wardens cabin and a man was answering questions about the tower and telling stories. He turned out to be a fire warden apparently doing a guided hike/tour of some kind. We made our way up the tower to the observation deck where views opened up 360* across to Lake Winnipesaukee, Squam Lake, the entire Sandwich Range (except the Osceolas), and the Bald Mt. Range (as I called it). It was spectacular! Views past these ranges were hazed/clouded in and I can just imagine what you can see on a crystal clear day. We ate lunch, explored a little more than headed back down the way we came at 2pm.

Going down was easy, with an exception of the cols. that we had to go back up. The snow on Teedie trail was now pretty mooshy and slippery from the warm temps. and the sun shining on it all day but was not all that much of a hinderance. We made it back to the parking area at 3pm.

Total trip time - 4 hrs.
Total Milage - about 6.9 miles
Total Elevation Gain - about 2500 ft.
Weather - Great temps. in the mid-upper 40's, mostly sunny only distant cloud/haze cover. Thin snow pack, no traction needed. Light wind at summits.

Eagle Cliff, unless we were missing something not really worth the visit unless you are hiking this side of the mountain. Red Hill, views from the fire tower some of the best! A great hike overall, a steep climb with rewarding views all in a half day. Take Red Hill trail if you want an easier more direct approach.


  1. Two quick notes...
    The Wentworth Trail (to Mt. Israel) often has a plowed parking lot at Mead Base Camp. When that is not plowed, one can still park fairly close (3-5 minute roadwalk) - the road is plowed beyond the Sandwich Notch Road junction. Diamond Ledge Road is the next road over, and doesn't lead to the trailhead.

    In regard to Eagle Cliff, there are spectacular views, but they're a bit below the Teedie Trail junction. Views Range from Mt. Chocorua to Lake Winnipesaukee.

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