Just west of Concord lies Warner, NH, a town which hold its history dear. Proud Federalist homes line the main street as you wind your way on Route 103. My son, Aaron, and I chose a hot July day to explore Rollins State Park, and the peak of Mount Kearsarge.
Rollins State Park lies at the top of a well-paved auto road. The visitors center is supervised by a park ranger. You can park your car and walk the 3.5 mile auto road to the picnic area, but on this hot day we were grateful for the scenic drive!
There is a parking area and picnic site with amazing southern views. Tables and grills are available at small sites like this one, as well as a larger field with multiple tables for group gatherings. The area is historically known as “The Garden”.
At the picnic site we chose the Rollins Trail, which was wide and clearly marked. It is well cleared of debris from the pine forest, and small bridges of wood or stone helped direct the flow of runoff, making the path dry.
The trail was very manageable, a bit rough but not too steep for long periods of time, and only a half mile. Rollins Trail was clearly a run off for heavy rain and snow, with gulleys on each side of the trail and water scars carved into the rocks.
Then I asked different people how long the trail took them to climb, the answer was invariably the same…they had no idea. Climbing Mount Kearsarge was not at all as important as stopping! Every few yards provided a new vista to photograph and appreciate.
Mt. Kearsarge has an elevation of just over 2100′, which seems small compared to its White neighbors to the north. Because of its isolation from other hills, though, views extend for hundreds of miles in all directions.
With a storm predicted in the late afternoon, the winds picked up and cooled us off. Clouds sped and morphed while we watched, shadowing the hills and lakes on all sides.
The peak was nearly empty with only 4 other small groups joining us. There is a fire tower and what seemed like an observation station, but the view is still 360 degrees.
NH State Parks created a very informative page outlining the history of Rollins State Park, as well as it’s close neighbor on the north side of the mountain, Winslow State Park. I confess to being surprised that, with the close proximity to populated areas, there were so few explorers on this July Saturday. The trip was convenient enough to afford plenty of time for a swim in one of the nearby lakes after the exertion! Can anyone recommend a favorite swimming area for a hot day?