Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Hedgehog Hike

I was looking for a short hike today with a good view...and I found it! The plan for today was to hike Hedgehog Mountain with the possibility of adding Potash Mountain afterward. It was a cold, clear morning on the drive through Pinkham Notch and down to the Kancamagus Highway. I was surprised to see there was some snow on the ground south of the Notch.

Reaching the parking lot I found only two other vehicles and one more pulling in after me. After a late start I was anxious to get on the trail. This would be a loop hike on the UNH Trail. I reached the junction that splits the trail in two directions and decided to go around clockwise.

This is a well-maintained trail and has an easy grade. The one unique feature of today's hike was that every step was a noisy crunch when breaking through the one inch of frozen snow. There were occassional patches of ice but the microspikes were never needed.

As I approached the east ledges the trail cleared of snow and ice and the granite ledges were bare. The sun was warm and I enjoyed the views while I took a break. After a snack and some photos I continued on to the summit. There was one unnerving stretch of trail on these ledges that did not allow any room for a misstep. The trail narrowed to about two feet and there was a very long drop on one side.

It was a steady ascent to the summit. There were great views to the west. I kept moving over the summit and soon started my descent. It was a pleasant hike down.

Back at the parking lot I took a break and made the decision to start up the Mt. Potash trail. I noticed that there were no footprints on this trail and was wondering why. It wasn't long before I got my answer when I reached Downes Brook. This proved to be a formidable obstacle. All the rocks were ice covered, even the ones that just looked wet had a film of ice on them. I had my microspikes but decided to turn back.

I would have to be satisfied with one hike today...and I was. The weather was fantastic and it was a great day to be outside! 

Panoramic view from the east ledges

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!


  1. I like hiking this trail in the clockwise direction as well. The descent is so pretty, and offers additional (unexpected) views.

  2. I agree Steve...and it was a stellar blue-sky day!