Skip to content

Mt. Roberts

February 24, 2018

Special: New Hampshire Edition

Introductory Guide to Visiting the White Mountains

This 4.9 mile hike was such a pleasant surprise. Our hiking guide said there were views, but didn’t really mention how nice they were!  The route had moderate grades and the most blueberries we’ve seen on any of our New England hikes.

View the Full Album of Photos From This Hike

Views from the Mount Roberts Hike

While Mount Roberts is a small peak, it offers great views of Lake Winnipesaukee. Below: The hike sets out on the grounds of Castle in the Clouds; Trails are well marked; The early part of the trail is very rocky!

Castle in the Clouds Mount Roberts Hike Rocky Mount Roberts Trail

Adam Says…

Since we did our big backpacking trip earlier in Vermont, we decided we would do a lot of easier hikes for the remainder of our trip to New England.  We had been to Castle in the Clouds on a previous trip and there are a good number of hiking trails there that are maintained by the Lakes Region Conservation Trust.  We saw a write-up about this hike in one of our hiking books, 50 More Hikes in New Hampshire, and decided to give it a try. We parked near the stables at the Castle in the Clouds. Walking up the road past the stables, the sign for the Mt. Roberts Trail was clearly labeled.  We followed the trail which led us quickly into the woods and leads along the back side of the fenced-in stable property.  The trail takes a sharp left and then a sharp right before you feel like you are really on a trail that is leading up a mountain.

In 1.2 miles you reach a side path that leads you to an area that is called Sunset Hill. It provides a great panoramic view of the valley below you, Lake Winnipesaukee, and mountains that range from the Belknap Range, Mount Kearsarge, Mount Cardigan, Squam Range, and Mount Moosilauke among many others.  We talked to an older couple that were taking in the view and were local to the area.  The husband talked about how he had been visiting this view for many years – its nice to have this as a place you can revisit.  If you want to take a short hike or have small children, this may be a perfect family short out-and-back to do.  After enjoying the view, we pressed on to the summit.

Ridge Walking

Most of the hike up Mount Roberts follows a ridgeline. Below: Adam makes his way along the granite ridge; Near the summit the trail goes back into a pine canopy; The summit.

Mount Roberts Mount Roberts Mount Roberts

The trail from this point began to be a little more steep, but overall we found it quite moderate.  There were many times that the hike was in the open as we walked along rocky ridgeline, so keep an eye on the orange blazes painted on rocks to point where to go next.  On the climb up, we noticed that most of the views were behind us, so we thought we would just press on and then enjoy most of the open views on the way back.

We reached the summit at 2.4 miles, which was marked by a sign in a cairn.  The views from the summit were limited due to overgrowth around, but stepping on to the rocks gets you more of a view.  As soon as we got to the summit marker, a snake darted out from the rocks so be careful where you step and place your hands.  The view wasn’t as spectacular as what we had passed, so we made our way back after a short stay at the summit.

We noticed on our climb up, the abundance of blueberry bushes that were on the trail.  We decided we would pick some to eat as a snack on the way back.  I have never seen so many ripe, wild blueberries in one place than here.  Everywhere we looked, there were blueberries and they were at the perfect ripeness – there is nothing like eating a snack provided by nature in a setting like this.  On the way back, we took many more pictures and enjoyed the lake views from nice outcroppings.

We got back to our car at 4.9 miles and thought this was a perfect, easy hike that was much better than what we thought was described.  I can see us visiting this hike often and I understand why that older couple keeps coming back.  To finish the perfect day, we stopped by the Squam Lakeside, which serves our favorite lobster rolls with tons of fresh lobster and lime cream slushes.

Christine Says…

Adam described the hike really thoroughly, so I’ll chime in with just a few of my memories from the hike. The best part of the hike was the spectacular views on the hike down. It was like a mountain theater and truly breathtaking.

Another note – this hike was really popular with DOGS!  I think we saw as many dogs as we did people along the way. From big labradors to jack russell terriers to a dachshund. After seeing one of the dogs make a ‘pit stop’ on the blueberries, it made me choose bushes that were far from from the trail to snack on.

Summit Views from Mount Roberts

You get great views of the Presidentials and Mount Chocorua from the summit of Roberts. Below: A great look at the rocky cone of Chocorua; Trail markers back to the castle grounds; This hike had so many blueberries!

Summit Views from Mount Roberts Wayfinding on Mount Roberts Blueberries

Another thing that struck me on the early section of the hike was how tough the footing was to traverse safely.  Climbing to Sunset Hill was a little bit steep, but the footing was the challenge. The area had a drought-y summer, so the dirt was loose and gritty. On top of the loose soil, there were lots of round, softball-sized stones.  It was definitely ankle-turning terrain.

After we passed Sunset Hill, we came across a large group of backpackers from a girls’ summer camp. The Lakes Region of New Hampshire is packed with sleep-away camps. I was really glad to see such a big group of girls, campers and counselors alike, being exposed to overnight backpacking. When I was growing up, backpacking was typically something meant for boys. My Girl Scout troop’s camping trips were limited to cabins and platform tents. We learned to cook, do dishes, clean latrines, and make crafts. My first exposure to backpacking was a single overnight when I attended summer camp with the National Wildlife Federation the summer after my fourth grade year. After that, I never had the opportunity to backpack again until I was an adult.  It’s something I truly love and I wish I’d started years before. Seeing all these girls on the trail also made me wonder how this hike hooks into the larger trail network in the area… something I plan to research!

Views on the Way Down Roberts

You get great views looking toward the lake on the way down. Below: A moment to enjoy the lake view; Shuttles and the castle’s stable grounds; Post hike lunch of lobster rolls!

Roberts Views Stables Lobstah Rolls

I guess another favorite memory from this hike was the great view of Mt. Chocorua and the Presidentials from the summit of Roberts.  Yes… the mountains were far off and the view wasn’t panoramic, but those mountains are super impressive even at a distance.  Mt. Chocorua was especially breathtaking from this angle, as you could really see the sheer stone cone of its summit.

And finally… who can forget lobster rolls!  Squam Lakeside finds a way to pack about two full lobsters’ worth of tender meat onto a hot dog roll for each of their sandwiches. They’re nothing short of glorious!

Trail Notes

  • Distance – 4.9 miles
    (Check out the stats from Map My Hike)*
  • Elevation Change – 1320 ft.
  • Difficulty –  2.5.  With a short elevation gain, we never found this trail to be very tough.  There are a few rocky areas, but they are short-lived.
  • Trail Conditions – 4.  The Lakes Region Conservation Trust does a great job maintaining this trail.  We never experienced any blow-downs or overgrown areas on the trail. 
  • Views –  4.5.  The Lake Winnipesaukee views were outstanding.  Views from the summit were a bit disappointing, but you have plenty of other spots to enjoy on the way up.
  • Waterfalls/streams – 0.  Non-existent.
  • Wildlife – 3.  Watch out for snakes on the exposed rocks.  Lots of bird watching to be done from the rocky overlooks also.
  • Ease to Navigate –  3.5.  The trail was mostly easy to follow, but we did have to watch for some of the blazes on the open areas.
  • Solitude – 3.  This is a popular hike in the summer.  With that being said, there is plenty of space at the views to carve out your personal space if needed.

Download a trail map (PDF)

Directions to trailhead: Parking coordinates are: 43.732003, -71.324513.  This is the hiker parking lot at Castle in the Clouds.

MapMyHike is not necessarily accurate, as the GPS signal fades in and out – but it still provides some fun and interesting information.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: