IN COMPANY WITH SURROUNDING LAKES, MOUNTAINS, AND FORESTS MOUNT CHOCORUA IS ONE OF THE MOST FREQUENTLY PHOTOGRAPHED MOUNTAINS IN THE WORLD.
Name: Mount Chocorua
Height: 1,064 m (3,490 ft)
Location: in Albany, New Hampshire, USA
First Climbed: unknown
Climb Time: 4-6 hours
Best Time to Climb: it is climbed all year round
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Introduction to Mount Chocorua
Mount Chocorua is located in the town of Albany and is the easternmost peak of the Sandwich Range in New Hampshire's White Mountain National Forest.
Chocorua's summit is a charming rocky cone, and the mountain is believed to be one of the most photographed in the world - Actually, the most popular angle to photograph the mountain is from the Chocorua Lake with a stunning reflection of the mountain in the water of the lake. Therefore, Mount Chocorua is a popular destination for hikers. Although it is less than 1,100 m (3,500 feet) in elevation, ones who reach the summit are welcomed with 360 – degree view of mountains covered in forests.
According to local legend, the name Chocorua originated from a name of the local Indian Chief who died on the mountain peak. His son died while he was left to a settler named Campbell who was supposed to look after him. In vengeance, Chocorua killed Campbell's family and was chased to the top of the peak by local settlers, where he voluntarily leaped to his death as soon as he cursed the settlers.
Regardless of the terrible faith of Chocorua in the legend, the mountain has always been admired by the artists. Mount Chocorua had been painted by John Frederick Kensett in the 19th century, the mountain has been mentioned in poems of Wallace Stevens and composer Alan Hovhaness even named one of his piano sonatas in mountain’s honor.
CLIMBING MOUNT CHOCORUA
The most frequently chosen routes to the summit are the Piper Trail (from the east), the Champney Falls Trail (from the north), and the Liberty Trail (from the southwest).
The Piper Trail is a 7,2 km (4,5 mi) hike from a trailhead at Route 16 behind Davies’s General Store to the summit. The trail features frequent directions, making it impossible to get lost. At first, the route is not that challenging, you will walk through the woods, mountain streams, but soon after the trail will start to climb up and that is when the work begins. After climbing through the woods you will finally cross the treeline, where you will be able to see the summit clearly, which you will reach 2,4 km (1,5 mi) after. Once you reach the summit you get a promised 360-degree view of woods and mountains sitting by the side of Mount Chocorua.
The Champney Falls Route is one of the more popular hikes in the White Mountains due to it being so much easier than the Piper trail and because it features beautiful waterfall. The route begins from the Kancamgus Highway and heads up gradually. After walking around 2,4 km (1,5 mi) you will reach a trail to Champney Falls and if you decide to follow it you do not need to go back as it rejoins the main trail 0,5 km (0,3 mi) later. After a pleasant hike through the woods, the Champney Falls Trail re-joins the Piper Trail just 0,8 km (0,5 mi) from the treeless area and around 3,2 km (2 mi) to the summit.
The Liberty Trail is the easiest route to the top of Mount Chocorua, therefore it is one of the most popular hiking routes. The trail commences from Paugus Mill Road trailhead and trail ascends steadily making the walk not that challenging.
For more Mount Chocorua hiking trails visit Chocorua Lake Conservancy’s website.
TREKKING AROUND MOUNT CHOCORUA
White Forest National Park is rich in various hiking and backpacking routes that differ in length and difficulty.
If you maintain a good physical shape you should check out the Bond Traverse Trail. It is one of the most popular high difficulty trails that continues for 31 km (19,5 mi) and includes the peaks of West Bond, Mount Bond, and Bondcliff. The trail can be managed in one day, but many choose to spend the night at Zealand Falls Hut & Galehead Hut and make it a two-day trip.
If you are looking for something less challenging Mount Willard might be an option for you. The hike is on an easy side of moderate, it is only 5 km (3,2 mi) long and it offers a wide, scenic views of Crawford Notch.
Finally, if you are looking for a short and pleasant walk West Rattlesnake Trail is a perfect choice. It is 2,9 km (1,8 mi) long walk rated easy and it gives you an opportunity to enjoy one of the best views of lakes to be found anywhere in New England.
For more information on trails in White Forest National Park, visit United States Department of Agriculture website.