Wednesday, March 7, 2012


A beautiful sunny day with temps in the twenties - ideal for checking out the lower part of my adopted west section of the UNH Trail on Hedgehog Mountain, to see how it fared so far this winter as far as blowdowns and effects from the ongoing Kanc 7 logging project.

Signs at the trailhead explain "what's going on" with Kanc 7.

Green shows completed harvests, orange shows current operations, and yellow shows future planned cuts in the next year or two.

There was a solid, if somewhat crusty and uneven, snowshoe track along the lower part of the UNH Trail, which follows the pine-shaded grade of the early 1900s Swift River logging railroad.

But a short way up the west loop, the good snowshoe trough ended, to be replaced by a crumpled, partly broken track filled with chunks of crust. The last snowstorms had left a breakable crust in the Albany Intervale, creating some pretty miserable snowshoeing conditions. I knew it would be a slow 3/4 mile from here up to Allen's Ledge.

Halfway up, there was a large new clearcut on the left. I and several others opposed this particular cut in comments to the Forest Service because of its close proximity to the trail and its location inside the trail loop. At least for a few years it will allow for some interesting views to the east and north, until the brush grows up.

Higher up, above the logging, the trail ascends along an attractive hemlock hogback. Here I encountered (and thanked!) two women who had partly broken the trail to Allen's Ledge, now on their way down.

The side trail to Allen's Ledge leaves the UNH Trail at 1.1 mi. and shoots steeply up ahead as the main trail turns right. No blowdowns up to this point. Above here, the UNH Trail was unbroken.

There are three main outcrops at Allen's Ledge. The two women had gone up to the right (westernmost) ledge, which has only a very limited view. The open views are found by turning L along the base of that outcrop and scrambling up to a high open perch. I broke trail for this short stretch, and was glad I didn't have to do it all the way up.

The upper perch has a broad view across the Albany Intervale to the Moats on the eastern horizon.

A zoom on the Moats and their many ledgy spurs.

To the NE, beyond the large clearing and bog along White Brook, are Bear Mountain and Bartlett Haystack.

Mt. Chocorua peers over a northern spur of Mt. Paugus.

Looking through Bear Notch, Carter Dome peers over on the L, and through the gap are Iron Mountain and Black Mountain in Jackson.

The best spot at Allen's Ledge is this lower perch, which requires a bit of care descending to, but offers a great flat shelf with an expansive view. Incidentally, Allen's Ledge was named for Jack Allen, a legendary character who lived in the intervale for nearly forty years in the late 1800s and early 1900s and was a hunter, trapper, angler, guide and teller of tales.

The lower perch expands the view northward.

A closer look at the Nancy Range, with Carrigain Notch on the L. Church Pond Bog - which the now-closed east part of Church Pond Loop Trail skirted - is in the foreground.

A view to Mt. Tremont & Owl Cliff (L) and Bartlett Haystack (R). The snowy tops of Mt. Washington and Boott Spur peek over the R shoulder of Tremont.

Looking to the SE, a good look at the wild, darkly wooded mass of Mt. Paugus and its northern spurs.

On the way back I followed the previous snowshoers' tracks up to the western outcrop.

From this big ledge there's a restricted look up at the summit of Hedgehog, with a northern spur of Mt. Passaconaway peering over on the R.

Afternoon light descending the hemlock hogback. For a trip of just 2.2 mi. round trip with 650 ft. of elevation gain, Allen's Ledge grants the snowshoer ample rewards, and the views are quite different from those found at other vantage points around the Hedgehog loop.


  1. Hi Steve . . . Allen's Ledge is indeed a very nice spot! It was interesting to read about the person for whom this ledge was named, i.e. a legendary character named Jack Allen. I wonder if he is the one who discovered this lovely ledge, or if it was just named in his honor more as a memorial to his love of that area?

    Wasn't 06-March a great day in the Whites to be out doing some "mountain wandering", regardless of where your travels led you?!


  2. Thanks, John - it sure was a fine day. Funny thing - Jack Allen supposedly more or less named the ledge after himself. According to the book, "Passaconaway in the White Mountains," by Charles Edward Beals, Jr., when asked what the rocks up on the side of Hedgehog were, the old guide said "Them are called Allen's Ledge!"


  3. Hi Steve, Inspired by your blog on mt williard we snowshoes it on Tuesday, the same day you went to Allen's ledge. We visited the basin as well and the cascades. What a fantastic day. The notch itself had at least two feet of snow.
    We came by to visit but you were out too. Have to get the new guide next time we are in the area. Tim

  4. Hi Tim,

    Glad you had a good day out on Willard and at the Basin. Sorry I missed you - see you next time.


  5. This definitely qualifies as a "Big Bang for your Buck" hike. Have only been there once and that was on a return trip to hit just Allen's Ledge. I walked right by the spur doing the loop clockwise. Luckily we had stopped into your store the day we did Hedgehog and got the details on the different view points on Allen's Ledge.

    Great report and photos Steve. Looks like it was a beauty of a day.


  6. Thanks, Joe - it was one of those perfect weather winter days. "Big Bang for your Buck" sums it up nicely for Allen's Ledge.


  7. Hedgehog was the hardest hike I did this winter! Temp was 4° and the trail had not been broken out (crusty snow too). We formed a "pace line" to break trail but since we had never hiked Hedgehog, we went off trail twice, particularly by East Ledges, which is where our GPS beeped (indicating we were at the summit). We were so beaten by the time we got to Allens Ledge, we decided to save it for another day. Guess I really missed a beautiful spot.

  8. Hedgehog can be a tough little hike in places, especially ascending to the main summit from the East Ledges. And it's easy to lose the trail along the East Ledges, especially where it goes back into the woods.