"Hedgehog Packs a Punch" (pictures)
What a hike! It had been well over a month since Scott and I had done a substantial hike, so we opted for something on the smaller side. After seeing a segment of Hedgehog Mt. on TV we thought it would be a good choice. We began our hike at 10:00 am at a half full parking lot off of the "Kanc" highway. The UNH Loop trail begins left a short distance from the parking lot. Trails started off smooth, wide and easy to walk on. But once you break off the cross country ski trail section the trails become riddled with roots.
We took another left to take the loop in a clockwise direction so that we could hit the main ledges first than work our way up to the summit. You pass through a small boulder field and pine area before making the climb to the first set of ledges, which we arrived to at 11:45 pm. The views first open up partially to Mount Chocorua than on the East Ledge opens to a 180 degree view of Chocorua, Paugus and Passaconaway mountains as well as what I believe was Mount Roberts or Shaw poking up in the distant horizon.
There is plenty of ledge here to hang out on as well as a granite "couch" you can sit and relax on. We dropped back in the trees briefly before arriving at the next ledge area with a view up to the main summit and ledges of Hedgehog. We entered the forest again and passed by an impressive boulder field. Then began the climb around and up hedgehog mountain. Near the summit there are several small ledges for lunch. We dropped down for lunch at 12:15 pm on the North facing ledge. Here there is a 180 degree view of most notably the TriPyramids, Hancock's, Mt. Tremont and the impressive mass of Carrigain and it's counterparts.
After a quite lunch on this beautiful day we began our hike down. The trail is more steep and direct on this side. At one point we were given a view across the Dry River Wilderness to Mt. Washington! We made quick time coming down, passing all but a handful of hikers coming up. We arrived back at the parking lot for I believe about 1:15 pm. What a great hike, on the smaller side but still a good work out with impressive views. We saw maybe a handful of other hikers on the trail but had the ledges all to ourselves which was surprising! I am guessing this is a popular winter snow shoe hike, might have to give it a try this winter!