The highest peak of the Pawtuckaway Mountains in Pawtuckaway State Park is officially Mount Pawtuckaway, but is often called North Mountain to distinguish it from the lower South and Middle Mountains. North Mountain has the hardest and most spectacular trail with rocky footing similar to much higher mountains, but its ledge views are inferior to those from the fire tower on South Mountain.
Although park headquarters and the campground are located off NH Route 156, the mountains are most easily reached by Reservation Road off NH Route 107 in Deerfield.
Distance: Reservation Road to summit, about 1.4 miles
To Boulder Path, about 2.5 miles
Elevation gain: Reservation Road to summit, about 600 feet, about 100 feet on return
To Boulder Path, about 600 feet, about 700 feet on return
The North Mountain Trail follows a woods road used as a snowmobile trail N from the road, dipping across a brook and ascending slightly to a junction at .4 miles, where a snowmobile trail goes L and the North Mountain Bypass follows a snowmobile trail R. The North Mountain Trail follows white blazes straight ahead, and begins a steep rocky ascent to the ridge. It then runs near the ridge over several ledge bumps to the highest summit of Mount Pawtuckaway at 1.4 miles, marked by a large cairn. If the rock scramble to the cairn looks too difficult, there is a bypass route to the R.
The trail now descends near the ridge, soon reaching a ledge to the R with views and a reflector panel variously attributed to Public Service of NH and Pease AFB. The trail switchbacks to the L in large softwoods, then zags R to near the bottom of the cliff. After some up-and-down on a minor ridge, the trail descends to the L of another cliff in which crevice caves can be found at several levels. The trail passes Dead Pond which is becoming more of a marsh, then runs down a gully to end at the Boulder Path at 2.5 miles.
If you have a map, you can return by the North Mountain Bypass which comes out at the junction previously mentioned. This route is about the same distance as retracing your steps but with easier walking and less elevation gain. Turn R on the Boulder Path, R where you come to the road, then R again at snowmobile signs for North Mountain Bypass.
Maps: USGS Mount Pawtuckaway
AMC Southern NH Trail Guide, page 194 in 1999 edition
Pawtuckaway State Park hiking map
Location: Merrimack Valley Region
NH 2004-2005 map N/O-8
DeLorme NHA&G 29-H8/9 - Deerfield/Nottingham
Nottingham is between Concord and Portsmouth, but the road access is from NH Route 107 in Deerfield
State park fee charged for areas near Pawtuckaway Lake but traditionally not collected entering from NH Route 107
Trailhead: Reservation Road about 1.8 miles E of NH Route 107, elevation about 525 feet
43.1050°N, 71.2051°W (WGS84)
From I-93 exit 15, go E on I-393 for 4.6 miles until it ends, then continue E on US Route 4/202 passing the Epsom traffic circle at 10.1 miles. At 13.8 miles, turn R on NH Route 107, proceeding S and passing the first junction with NH Route 43 at 19.9 miles and the second at 23.6 miles. At 24.3 miles, turn L on Reservation Road which in summer has a sign for the fire tower.
* This point is about 7.9 miles N on Route 107 from NH Route 101 exit 5 in Raymond for those coming from the SE.
Go E on Reservation Road, angling R at 1.2 miles at sign for fire tower and climbing over a ridge. At 1.8 miles from NH Route 107, look for woods road on the L with trail sign. Limited roadside parking.
Highest Point: Summit of Mount Pawtuckaway, elevation about 995 feet
North End: Boulder Path about .2 miles from Round Pond Road, elevation about 400 feet
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