Hiking some Carter Mountains

By Maddy Hunt, Interpertive Ranger at Franconia Notch State Park

My favorite line out of the AMC’s 26th edition White Mountain Guide book is, “The Carter-Moriah Range would be a great deal more prominent among White Mtn. ranges were it not for those neighbors that rise 1500 ft higher across the Pinkham Notch.” Those neighbors, meaning the presidential range, are a magnificent climb, a “must” in any hikers book. BUT if you take one thing away from this article today,  it would be don’t ignore the Carters! Why? 1) The Carter Mountains have some of the most breath taking views in the White Mountains, 2) its a fun and gentle hike along a ridge in the sub alpine zone, 3) and its awesome.

On this hike I did South Carter, Middle Carter, and North Carter. Off of Rte. 16 through Pinkham Notch, I took the Nineteen Mile Brook trail up to the Carter-Moriah Trail. I headed North along the ridge climbing the three peaks, and then descended down the North Carter-Imp Trail. In total, it was about a 12 mile day, including the little walk up the highway to get back to my car.

The Nineteen Mile Brook trail ascends gradually following the Nineteen Mile brook. At the junction for Nineteen Mile Brook trail and Carter Dome trail, take the Carter Dome trail to the Carter-Moriah Trail. The Carter Dome trail ascends gradually, and then steeply switches you back up the mountain (this is a photograph is from the Wilderness Map Company’s “Exploring New Hampshire’s White Mountains” trail map).

Once you get to the Carter-Moriah Trail, there is a lovely bench waiting at the top for you to sit on.

Start hiking through the sub alpine zone along the Carter-Moriah Trail. Its beautiful!

Keep your eye on the trees for Boreal Bearded lichens along the way!

Looking East from the South Carter summit(which is really just a pile of rocks, similar to Zealand Mountain, but fun!)

This is the view past Middle Carter Mountain. If you find yourself yelling out “Eureka!” that is entirely normal. Those presidentials look pretty nice from this vantage point, aye?

There is a really cool bog bridge that you get to hike along!

And of course, always keep your eye down on the ground for some awesome lichens. These are just a handful that I saw along the way.

As always, hike safe, hike smart, and have fun! If you have any further questions about this route or lichens send me an email (madelaine.hunt@gmail.com) or check out the Androscoggin Ranger Station for hiking tips.


Discover Power of Parks SCA Interpreters

Discover the Power of Parks is presented by New Hampshire State Parks in collaboration with the Student Conservation Association and made possible by generous financial support from Eversource. The program offers a look into the natural world through hands-on programming. Interpretive programs focus on connecting participants with nature and building appreciation for New Hampshire's unmatched natural heritage. Programs include guided hikes, interpretive tours, and imaginative environmental workshops for children and families. Programs are offered free to guests with paid park admission fee. No pre-registration is required.

One thought on “Hiking some Carter Mountains

  1. I hiked from somewhere in Maine to Wildcat Mtn on the Carter Moriah trail in the pouring pouring pouring rain. Raincoats were useless. Your post makes me want to do it again! (with a little sunshine this time) 🙂

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