Tuesday, March 13, 2012


This rocky perch on the south face of Little Coolidge Mountain has long been a favorite of Lincoln-Woodstock area residents. For a short, steep climb, it offers wide views over the town of Lincoln and out to the surrounding mountains. There are two unofficial blazed routes to the ledge, but since they and the ledge itself are located on private land, I won't give any details on access.

On an incredibly warm and sunny March day, the flat top of this ledge beckoned for a long afternoon sojourn in the sun. We can catch a glimpse of the ledge from our driveway, as seen below. Part of First Ledge is visible near the left edge of the picture.

I opted for the less steep of the two routes, which still climbs quite steeply through a hardwood draw. My wife, Carol, actually discovered this blazed route a couple of years ago and snowshoed up it. This was the first time I had followed it; on previous visits I had used a steeper route on the other side of the ledge that has a rope to assist on the trickiest spot.

Micropsikes and some creative footwork were needed to get through the final icy pitch in a hemlock grove.

To the south, the ledge overlooks the town center of Lincoln and condominium developments on the outskirts.

By contrast, the view to the SW and west is much wilder, with Mt. Moosilauke and its long Blue Ridge very prominent.

A closer look at the Moose, with "Lost River Mountain" in the middle ground on the R.

Off to the west, Mt. Wolf peers over its spur, the Wolf Cub.

To the SE, a good look at the trails on Loon's South Mountain.

Scar Ridge lurks in the background.

Russell Mountain rises behind the town center. Part of our driveway can be seen down there.

An interesting boulder behind the ledge. After spending an hour and a half lounging in the sun, it was time to head back down the steep trail.


  1. Steve, the road less-travelled is always of interest to me. As your report shows, an unbranded hike can provide some very respectable views. Thanks for sharing this adventure!


  2. Thanks, John - though it's literally visible from our doorstep, I hadn't been up there in a few years. It won't be as long til the next visit.


  3. You may remember that I happened upon First ledge several years ago. I went up by the rope, and I recall there being a second rope below that went along the contour.

    Can you tell me anything about the cliffs on Mount Oscar? There was a nice herd path that I suppose led to some good places to climb, but it was of no help to me. I was looking for a way up Mount Rosebrook back in August and couldn’t seem to get beyond the cliffs.

  4. Hi Raymond,

    I assume that lower rope along the base of First Ledge is used for climbing access.

    The West Mountain (and newer) part of Bretton Woods Ski Area extends to the top of Mt. Oscar. The ledges are right behind the top of the lift. Before the West Mountain ski trails were cut, there was a herd path to the Oscar ledges from the top of the older part of the ski area. Great views of Zealand valley from the ledges.


  5. Thanks for all the info, Steve.

    I made my attempt from the snowmobile corridor around the back side of the range, more or less opposite the Sugarloaves/Trestle Trail parking lot. The herd path I took began right about where the corridor road seemed to be becoming impassable (overgrown, anyway), but I didn’t go any further along it, so I don’t know for sure about that. Later that day, when I was atop Middle Sugarloaf, I could see a helicopter buzzing around over what appeared to be the same area where I’d been hiking.

    Do you know if it’s all right to climb Rosebrook via the ski slopes? (Probably not at this time of year.) That would make it a lot easier than what I tried.


  6. Hi Raymond,

    I've never heard of problems with hiking the BW ski slopes in the summer. There is at least a bit of traffic since Rosebrook is a 3K peak.


  7. Thank you, Steve. That was my interest!

    Not that I’m working on the list all that hard, but I may as well try for the ones that look easy.

  8. Hi Steve! Great report - I've always wanted to explore in the Coolidge area but have never gotten the opportunity! Have you ever been to the tiny "bump" between the two Coolidges? It looks like there might be a nice east-facing ledge there as well.

    I've talked to folks who have been up Oscar via the bootleg trail on the back side - there is a small cairn a mile or so up the snowmobile corridor that marks the trailhead. I followed it up a little ways last year...it follows another old overgrown road... had to turn back due to it being late, but it looked fairly well beaten out at the time.

  9. Thanks, Chris - I went to that bump, which could be called "Middle Coolidge," back in the 90s, approaching from the Flume Covered Bridge. A long hardwood traverse across Hardwood Ridge and Boyce Brook, then a fairly steep and scrappy climb up the knob. There are some good south-facing ledges looking down the Pollard Brook valley.

    Today I returned to First Ledge and then went up to "Second Ledge" and "Third Ledge" on Little Coolidge. Cool spots, especially Third Ledge. Will write it up sometime in the next few days.