Owl’s Head Mountain | 4,025′ | STRENUOUS

Owl’s Head Mountain (4,025 feet), occupies a narrow valley created by the Twin-Bond Range to the east and the Franconia Range to the west. More than ten 4,000s surround Owl’s Head. Needless to say, it is one of the more remote major summits in the White Mountains.

Note: for complete trail descriptions, times, elevation, trailhead directions, and major features, see the AMC White Mountain Guide.

Suggested Routes

Strenuous: No matter how you approach Owl’s Head, you are in for a long day trip, or maybe more suitably, an overnight trip. The 9-mile trek from trailhead to summit follows the Lincoln Woods Trail, Franconia Brook Trail, Lincoln Brook Trail, and Owl’s Head slide path in that order. Except for the Owl’s Head slide path, which is wooded, very steep, and not maintained regularly, this route is flat to moderately steep. Consult the AMC White Mountain Guide for the tent sites along this route.

Trip Planning

The AMC’s Thirteen Falls Tentsite is located at the junction of the Franconia Brook & Lincoln Brook Trails.

Safety in Summer and early Fall

The AMC recommends all hikers check weather conditions in advance, carry a current map and guidebook, along with a compass and knowledge of how to use it. For recommendations on how to plan a safe hike in the White Mountains, see: The 10 essentials for a safe and pleasant hike.

Winter Hiking on Owl’s Head Mountain

Winter hiking anywhere in the White Mountains requires specialized equipment and skills, and experience in coping with weather, navigation, and winter gear. Extremely severe storms can develop suddenly and unexpectedly, especially above treeline. The combination of high wind and low temperatures has such a cooling effect that the worst conditions on Owl’s Head are approximately equal to the worst reported from Antarctica, despite the much greater cold in the latter region. Hikers interested in extending their activities into winter are strongly advised to seek out organized trips with leaders who have extensive winter experience. Several AMC chapters offer winter hiking and backpacking instruction, and AMC offers several guided winter mountaineering trips; search for “Instruction” in AMC’s activity listings. Helpful information can also be found in the AMC Guide to Winter Hiking and Camping

Fun Fact

Owl’s Head is named for the shape of its south end.

Additional Resources