Ascent of Owls Head on 2014-10-04

Climber: Arthur Caverly

Others in Party:Ashley
Date:Saturday, October 4, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Owls Head
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:4025 ft / 1226 m

Ascent Trip Report

Despite reports of probable rain for most of the day, I still set out with my girlfriend to hike Owl's Head today to knock off another 4000 footer from the list. Lincoln woods parking area already had 20 or so cars when we arrived at 7:30, and probably five more showed up before we started hiking at 7:50. A friend of ours was to meet us there, but considering he was a much faster hiker, we began our hike knowing he would catch us soon. The Lincoln Woods trail was nice and flatter than I expected, also completely covered in fallen leaves. We passed three hikers on their way out, probably campers, and our friend finally caught up to us just past the wilderness boundary.

I've heard numerous complaints that Owl's head is a long unrewarding hike, and I have to disagree. Maybe none of those complainers hiked it during foliage season, which alone made the trip worth it, but even just the views of Franconia Brook and Lincoln brook were spectacular. If it had been warmer, I'd have jumped in the river at a swimming hole at about the 7 mile mark.

A couple brook crossings were a little ambiguous as to where the trail leads, but we eventually figured them all out. None of the crossings were difficult otherwise. The Owl's head path is pretty obvious when you stumble upon it. Climbing the slide after an already long hike is a little grueling, but after about an hour we made it to the cairn on top, just as the wind and rain started to pick up. We passed three climbers on their way down, and 5 more on our way down. I honestly didn't expect to see anyone else on the mountain today, but was pleasantly surprised. The rain stopped when we reached the bottom, thankfully, and we took a bit of a rest and headed back out to the river.

The walk back was mostly uneventful, except for catching up to one of the hikers we had passed earlier, and walking and chatting with him the rest of the way out. When we reached the trail head, we were greeted by a hundred sight seers taking photos of the river and bridge, as well as a parking lot full of Massachusetts license plates.

Not wanting to go to a restaurant all sweaty, we finally decided to go swimming in the river surrounded by tourists bundled up in sweat shirts and rain gear. I'm sure it was quite a sight, and I'm sure we ruined plenty of pictures. The rain really stared coming down just in time for us to get changed and get to the Woodstock Inn (Highly recommended BTW).

Overall a very pleasant successful day.


Hike Owl's head in late September or early October, even if rain is possible. And bring a camera.
All water crossings were easy rock hops.
Be Prepared to battle tourists.
Bring a towel.
Eat at the Woodstock Inn.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3255 ft / 991 m
    Extra Gain:300 ft / 91 m
    Round-Trip Distance:18.2 mi / 29.3 km
    Route:Lincoln Woods, Lincoln Brook, Herd Path
    Trailhead:Lincoln Woods Parking  1370 ft / 417 m
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Stream Ford
    Weather:Drizzle, Cool, Breezy, Overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Time:4 Hours 0 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:3 Hours 30 Minutes

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