Dad did Chocorua solo on August 30 and then came back with daughter on September 2, 2017 to do it again. This hike was suggested by friends, and planned using the AMC White Mountain Guide, making it part of the “and beyond” part of our stated “Pine Tree state and beyond” header, as the mountain is in Albany, NH.
There are several loops up and down this beautiful mountain, and dad took the Piper, Nickerson Ledge, Carter Ledge, Middle Sister, and Piper Trails up, then descended via the Liberty, Hammond, Weetamoo, and Piper Trails (9.6 mi). This trailhead is accessed from NH 16. Dad and daughter ascended on September 2 via the less challenging but equally scenic Champney Falls and Piper Trails (7.6 mi), accessed from the Kancamagus Highway. Both parking lots can be crowded in the summer, so we got an early start. From either starting point, there is a small cash use fee to the White Mountain National Forest, payable with cash at a kiosk (and bring a pen).
The trail climbs steadily up past Champney Falls and Pitcher Falls, which were not running with much force at this time of summer, but still worthwhile to see.
After the intersection with the Piper Trail, the vistas opened up, and we had fun making our way up to the windy summit in the morning sunlight.
The last scramble to the top involved some steeper climbing, which we enjoyed. We didn’t spend much time at the summit, as the wind was powerful. After the climb up, our descent was pleasant and uneventful. We did notice that the volume of hikers headed uphill increased dramatically as the day wore on, and felt good about getting an early start. Many people brought their dogs, and this seemed like a good hike with a pet, as long as they were careful near the top.
We enjoyed a great post-hike pizza at Brothers Original Pizza in Albany, NH, which has an outdoor deck, if you are so inclined. The air was chilly on this trip, but if you take the Champney Falls route, a short distance down the Kancamagus Highway is the Lower Falls Recreation Site, where you can cool off in the Swift River after the hike.
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