Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Exploring Rock Rimmon Hill - Kingston, NH

I’m on vacation this week and had some free time on Tuesday. I decided to stay in the seacoast region as I didn’t feel like a long drive up north. I headed over to the Danville-Kingston area to explore Rock Rimmon Hill which is located in New Hampshire’s Rock Rimmon State Forest. The hill is 345 feet at the summit and is a pretty steep drop off or cliff on the southern side. It can be accessed from both Kingston and Danville depending on where you are coming from.

Based on my findings, there is really minimal information out there on the short hike to this summit. The AMC Southern New Hampshire Trail Guide (2nd Ed.) has an outdated explanation on the trailhead description…and I’ve heard through the grapevine that they have removed it from AMC’s 3rd Edition all together, although, I cannot confirm this. A fellow VFTTer gave me pretty detailed directions on how to access this hill from the Kingston side, but also warned me that where you leave your vehicle is pretty susceptible to break-ins, so that way was out for me. I found on another blog a way to get to the trail network from Danville, so I opted to go that way!

I parked on the corner of where Emerald Drive and Opal Drive meet. At this corner, there is an old Jeep road that heads into the woods…you can’t miss it. Just as an aside, the USGS maps do not show this corner, as (I assume) the area was not developed at the time they were mapped out. It looks like Emerald Drive may have actually been an extension of the old Jeep road at one time.

Old Jeep Road at the corner of Emerald and Opal Drive

Since there is no good trail maps or trail descriptions of the area, I was pretty much winging how to get to the top. I knew I was in the right area, and if whatever way I chose to go ascended, I figured I must be going the right way. After heading down the Jeep road for about 50 feet, I hung a right. This trail was also wide enough to be an old Jeep road. I passed through some boulders blocking the road and soon saw a small swamp to left. The trail curved to the left, right after the swamp area and started to climb gently. I noticed while climbing, there was a foot trail that crossed the trail (or Jeep road) I was on. I figured I better stay in the direction I was headed and would explore this trail on my way back down.

Gate on the old Jeep road to the summit

 Small icicles forming on some rocks on the banking of the trail

Further up, I found an old gate that looked like it hadn’t been closed in years. I also found some recent deer rubs on some small trees off to the side. There was a lot of standing water that had frozen over higher up on the trail and I need to bushwhack to the side of the trail for much of the way. Soon, the trail turned to rocky slabs and the view opened up. The view to the south was very nice. Long Pond was easy to make out and I’m sure if it had been a clear day, I could have seen quite a ways further. I noticed right away that the area had been quite abused. There was broken glass and spray paint markings all over the ledge. There were also quite a few empty beer cans. I hate seeing such a nice place littered so badly.

Fresh buck rub on a small tree on the trail

 Walking onto the summit of Rock Rimmon Hill

View to the south, with Long Pond in the center through the trees

More views

After taking in the views, I headed over to the western part of the ledges where four fire tower foundation pillars were still securely in place. The foundation pillars still had the steel flange brackets that secured the legs of the old fire tower. The fire tower that stood here was in service from 1928 to 1982 and was removed in 1989. Below is an old photo of this tower standing on Rock Rimmon Hill and it was taken from FireLookOut.org.

 Rock Rimmon Fire Tower, 1928-1982, courtesy of FireLookOut.org

Old Fire Tower Location on the summit

Fire Tower Flange, still mounted to pillars

What I think is an old guide wire eyelet for the fire tower

On the west side of the fire tower location, I found what appeared to be a foot trail leading off the hill. It was steep and somewhat easy to make out for a bit. I soon came to a small rock cave where the trail appeared to end. I could not figure out for the life of me where it continued after exploring for a bit. I took a quick rest at the rock cave and heard an odd sound. It sounded like small rain drops on the fallen leaves just before a shower hits. But, there were no drops coming from the sky. I looked down and saw millions of snow fleas starting to migrate for the winter. It reminded me of the many winters I used to see these same types of snow fleas in my backwoods at my home in South Hampton while growing up. I observed the snow fleas for a bit and then headed back up to the summit.

 Small rock cave on the west side of the hill

Look closely...Snow fleas!!!

Back at the top, I headed north and back down the old Jeep road I ascended from. Around the old gate that I had passed on the way up, I noticed a foot trail, blazed in orange, to the left. I decided to take this path to see where it went. I continued down the hill, through a beech wood forest, and came to an area in the woods that looked awful. It had been ridiculously blazed with blue, orange and pink paint and flags. Now, I understand the need for trail blazes and boundary markers, but this was ridiculous. It completely took away the natural look of a beautiful forest. The foot path soon crossed the Jeep road, at the spot where I had noticed a trail crossing during my ascent.

A very ugly portion of the woods, blazes and flags everywhere...all different colors

 I finally came to the swamp that I had passed on the way up, but this time, it was on my left. It was a very nice maple swamp, frozen over with white ice. It had a small foot bridge which was a bit altered and disfigured due to previous winter’s ice movement. I really thought this spot was peaceful, but I’m really not sure why. Again, I think this area reminded me of the maple swamps behind my folks house, where I spent a lot of time, cutting wood and walking through the forest with my father. I snapped a few shots and continued on.

Nice looking maple swamp!

Bridge through the swamp

Finally, the trail dumped me off at the original old Jeep road, a bit further up than where I turned in at the beginning of my trek. I noticed that there was a trailhead sign which said Rock Rimmon Access Trail. I assume this is the “official” trailhead for Rock Rimmon Hill. At this point, I noticed some nice, old stone walls off to the side. I explored them a bit, snapped some shots and headed back out to where my truck was parked.

Rock Rimmon Access Trail Sign

Information regarding the trail and landowners

Some nice stone walls

All in all, I’m guessing I only covered a mile or two, but I had a fun time not really “knowing” where I was going. I felt a bit blind, but it made the exploration more enjoyable that way. I still had more of the afternoon ahead of me, so I decided to head to the Lamprey River Floodplain to check out some beaver activity. I’ll save that trip report for my next posting!



  1. Karl, excellent adventure! One of my favorite adages states that given the choice, I'd rather fail at an attempt of doing something new rather than succeed in repeating something I've already done.

    I love doing new things and reading about new things done by others.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. You spent your free time wisely! New sights never hurt.
    Great post, and take care -

  3. Replies
    1. Fleas that like...Snow. On certain snowy days, you may see them swarm (tiny black specks) on shallow crusty-ish snow. They don't bother anybody. Cool. I'd like to learn more about them.

  4. Very nice Karl. I really like how you point out the different articles that you find on local trips like this, such as the gate, stone wall, and buck rub on the tree.

  5. Karl,
    Nice post! It is always good to see trip reports from parts of NH that few hikers go to. It is a shame that careless people trashed part of this trail. I especially love the old fire tower pic and what it looks like today. I don’t know why but I am fascinated by areas that have some historical significance!

  6. Nice outing! I like the swamp and footbridge photos - very peaceful and quiet.

  7. @1HappyHiker - I agree 100%. I always like to try new treks and new things over what I have already had the chance to do.

    @Casey - Thanks! I can't think of a better way to spend my free time!

    @The Diabetic Camper - Check out this website: http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/eek/critter/insect/snowflea.htm Apparently, they are not "really" fleas, but do jump around like fleas. I remember seeing so many of them when I was younger that they could cover a white rock and make it look black!

    @DMOutdoors - Thanks Dan! I always try to keep my eyes open for the little things. It makes the journey that more exciting!

    @Stephanie - Thanks...they are my favorites too.

    @Grant - I know, people trashing such a nice place is very unsettling. I'm sure it's mostly kids who don't understand the extent of the damage they are doing to these beautiful places. Someday, they'll grow up and realize it. I'm with you on the historical significance factor...it's my favorite part of my hikes!

    @Summerset - Thanks! They are my favorites too. It was very peaceful there.

  8. Thanks. Enjoyed the article. I have been there on several occasions. I moved to Kingston in 1986 and did see the tower before it was removed.

  9. This post is awesome! I have lived in Danville for most of my life and was never sure how to find this spot. I have been wanting to check it out so bad and now I can thanks to you!!

  10. This article is so informative for us. We can get to know about the exploring rocks. Similarly, I am make your easy life in summer, to providing the Air Conditioner Repair in Fort Worth TX. I am give you rapid response on your call.

  11. I first encountered Rock Rimmon in the summer of 1963. Our scout troop had a camp several miles away and one day we hiked up the Hill trail to the still active fire tower and we were allowed up into the map room to speak with the Rangers on duty. It was beautiful back then.

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