May 23rd, 2011 – The weather this spring is proving to be tricky when it comes to planning outdoor pursuits. With more rainy days than sunny ones, it can be hard to get motivated for a hike on a dreary day. Nevertheless after spending too many rainy days inside I knew it was time to get out and explore. Destination…. Mount Sunapee State Park.
Mount Sunapee State Park is most known for its downhill skiing, but to me the park has the most to offer once the snow melts. The picturesque lakeside beach and a vast network of well-marked hiking trails make it the perfect place to spend a day.
Starting from the secluded group campground near the ski area, I took the Rim Trail up a rocky path meandering through large glacial boulders, heavy moss, and smoky quartz formations. The wet day had created miniature waterfalls bounding from nearly every rock and a light fog hung over fields loaded with mountain laurel making the woods feel exceptionally majestic.
Moving about a third of a mile down the Rim Trail I found myself at the junction of the Newbury Trail. Taking a left will lead you to a scenic spot looking out over Lake Sunapee known as the bird’s nest. I took a right on the Newbury Trail, and just over a mile down the trail is Lake Solitude, which lives up to its namesake.
Speckled with small rocky beaches and grassy nooks in-between, Lake Solitude is an ideal place to stop for lunch or just lounge around waiting for the wildlife to show up. The abundance of moose droppings in the area seemed to confirm who the lakes most frequent visitors are.
The trail options do not end at Lake Solitude. After re-energizing by the lake you may opt to take the .9-mile Solitude Trail up to the summit of Mt. Sunapee. Another option is to hook up with Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway, which will first head to Lucia’s Lookout before leading into Pillsbury State Park.
Whichever route you decide to take your day would best be capped off down at the Lake Sunapee State Beach. Picnic tables and charcoal grills along the water’s edge make the perfect setting for a post-hike barbeque.