Friday, May 5, 2017

Great Hill in Bow, NH

Last year, I spent a lot of time during my work week lunchtimes exploring the woods in the greater Manchester area. With my new job located in Concord, I plan on doing the same thing in this area. My very first lunchtime excursion landed me in southern Bow, NH exploring Great Hill!

Great Hill is bound within the Nottingcook Forest which is a town forest and considered conservation land within Bow, NH. From the trail map, which can be found here, it seems there are a few ways to get to the summit of Great Hill. I chose to use the Hamilton's Path Trailhead on north side of South Bow Road just east of the powerline crossings. This trailhead allowed for parallel parking on both sides of the road, had a very visible kiosk (with a map) and a trail sign.

Kiosk on South Bow Road

The Hamilton’s Path Trail meandered through the woods on a nice trail which was also clearly marked with yellow markers. They were very well maintained with roots and rock exposed. Some very short sections were a little wet with mud, but it easy to rock hop to get around them. The beginning was flat but did start to climb gently. At about 0.25 miles, an old woods road entered the trail from the right but there were arrows keeping you on the main trail north.

 Wildflower...couldn't identify???

Just past this intersection, there was a small clear with some boulders. It served as a really nice view point to the southwest where Mount Monadnock was clearly identifiable. Also, you could see a ski mountain just north of Monadnock which I believe to be Crotched Mountain.

View to the west, Mount Monadnock on the left and Crotched Mountain on the right. 

Zoomed in Mount Monadnock 

Zoomed in Crotched Mountain

After taking a short break at the viewpoint, I continued north on flat terrain through a crossing snowmobile trail. Soon after the snowmobile trail, the trail split and a sign pointed me to the left in the direction of the summit. This trail was called Walter’s Way and seemed to be a loop that went up the west side of the summit and most likely exited down the east side. I took this branch both ways. It was blazed with orange markers.

After climbing a short distance on Walter’s Way, I came to a large, clear cut summit area. It was a mess and was disheartening to see. I understand the need to harvest the forest but the condition that some logging companies leave these areas in are frustrating.

Clear cut summit with some seed trees still left. They left a mess!

After walking through the mess the skidders left behind, I came to a trail sign that read “NCF Great Hill Summit Elevation 879 Ft”. There were great views to the north all the way to the White Mountains. There was also a nice bench pointed in the direction of the mountains with a view finder on a pedestal. I could not find a benchmark of any kind.

Summit Marker Sign

 Wide view to the north. Many mountains are recognizable from the view finder at the summit.

Summit features

It was a bit hazy up there but I could make out Mount Washington with its white cap and Mount Lafayette. Some peaks that were easier to make out were closer ones such as Belknap Mountain and Mount Chocorua.

Mount Washington through the haze

Mount Chocorua through the haze

Belknap Mountain, a bit closer than the Whites

In the far, far distance, you can barely see Mount Lafayette's snow covered peak
poking up in the Franconia Notch

After enjoying the views for a bit, I continued on the Walter's Way Trail clockwise and came to a nice viewpoint to the northeast. Soon after the viewpoint, there was an intersection that looked like, based on the trail signage, would connect you to the rest of the Hancook Forest trail system. Soon after this intersection, the trail dropped me back on the Hamilton's Path Trail and I made my way back the way I came.

This was a great little hike and I think I’ll be back to explore a bit more since it’s so close to my office. It was about one mile round trip which makes it the perfect distance for a lunchtime excursion. I would highly recommend this hike for anyone in the Concord area looking for a quick trek as the rewarding views at the summit are plentiful!



  1. Hi Karl - thanks for posting! FYI, I think you might have identified Crotched Mountain as Ragged by mistake. I was just starting at Crotched from Weare and it looks very similar. :)

    1. You're absolutely right! Thank you, I've corrected it. Thanks for reading!