Well we, at the front desk at Pinkham Notch, have a number of new staff folk whom you will hear from soon; I am sure (You have already heard from Colleen!). They are young…they are fast…and they are a bit crazy! Crazy enough that this past weekend I’m glad they all came back from their hikes, and kept the front desk staffed! So…they now know all sorts of trails in the area better than they did a few days ago and are well worth having their brains picked on the information they’ve gleaned! I’m sure you’ll get details on some of their adventures soon, but for now you get to hear my pipsqueak adventure from the far far north!
To get to Magalloway Mountain you have to drive further north 2 1/2 MORE hours from my house 15 minutes north from Pinkham Notch!!! Not a lot of people go up here and that is part of the charm…it is a sportsman’s paradise and you will see that as you wind between Lake Francis and First Connecticut Lake on the approach to your hike. Beautiful beautiful wild area! There is not a whole lot of established hiking and that is a disadvantage but there is enough that it is well well worth the excursion and exploration of the area! If you fall in love with it, you can check out the Cohos Trail which is the longest established hiking path through the region.
Again, to get to Magalloway Mountain make absolutely sure you bring your AMC White Mountain Guide! We actually needed it more for the drive to the trailhead, negotiating a web of logging roads, than we needed it for the 2.2m hike itself! There is no AMC map of the mountain and we didn’t use one. The guidebook says you can refer to USGS Magalloway Mtn. quad. Magalloway Mountain is a 3383 ft. prominent peak in the region, lording over First Connecticut Lake. The two trails up are less than a mile each.
The Coot Trail leaves from the end of one of the logging roads and follows an old jeep trail steeply up the side of the mountain. The footing is rough. There were still some significant muddy patches (although I was able to hike in my Chaco sandals). We got into evergreen forests relatively quickly. In the evergreens we still found patches of snow but they were few, far between, and easily avoided.
Once on the ridge, we wandered perhaps another .1m to the clearing with the fire tower and the old cabins. This is .8m only from your vehicle! Great spot and the fire tower allowed 360 degree views of the surrounding lakes AND plenty of wind to blow away the black flies which were out in force!
After a break there we headed along the .2m Overlook Path down to see the amazing cliff and scree slope on the back side of the mountain. We descended down the Bobcat Trail which was significantly prettier than the Coot Trail and had slightly nicer footing as well (for this reason I recommend descending it and retaining the Coot Trail as your ascent. There is no signage on the Bobcat Trail but it leaves the Coot Trail .2m from the summit to the left in descent. It follows along a ridgeline with moss and evergreens for a significant distance and then descends down through copious spring beauties, trout lilies, and trilium! The woodland wild flowers were in major bloom! The Bobcat Trail comes out 100 feet away from the trailhead of the Coot Trail and you just walk back up to your vehicle!
On Mt. Washington here we STILL have snow although the majority of people are no longer bringing snowshoes into the woods! Tuckerman Headwall is still legally closed so the major routes being used from this side of the mountain are the Boott Spur and the Lion’s Head Summer Route. We are finally beyond Crampons and Ice Ax on Lion’s Head but we are still recommending Microspikes or some form of light traction. If you are staying at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, we do lend light traction to our guests when needed and when we have it available!
We are in a major cross over of seasons, hitting below freezing some nights and well above 80 degrees some days, so if coming to the Whites please pack in your car a variety of clothing and equipment and make your last decisions at the trailhead!
As always you can check AMC conditions for the latest report and/or call us here at Pinkham to see what we’re seeing out our windows and for the best trail advice we can give you!
We are available by phone at (603) 466-2721 every day from 6:30 AM to 10:00 PM or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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