This route has a little bit of a scramble up some rocky sections on the way up to the summit after a really nice viewpoint. The way back down is extremely friendly with gentle grades and gorgeous leafy scenery.
Features: Lake — Views
Family Friendly: Fun rocks, water to splash in, and a nice view of windmills.
Park on Westminster road by the Harrington Trail
. You'll probably see some other cars parked along the road.
Follow the Harrington Trail
north all the way to the summit. About 3/4 of the way up there is a little spur to the right that takes you to the best (uncrowded!) viewpoint. You'll only spot the "vista" sign if you happen to sit on a rock and face downhill at the right moment (as I happened to) so keep an eye out for it!
After the vista you'll cross Administration Road. Continue on Harrington Trail
; there is some rock scrambling, but plenty to grab onto, though this could be a little treacherous in wet conditions.
At the summit, take a break from the hike to wander around (and count the number of people who say "I think that's Mt. Manadnock in the distance!"). Then cut across the parking lot and find the Mountain House Trail
. At the first major junction, split from the Mountain House Trail
onto the Jack Frost Trail
. There is one somewhat steep section, but footing is well maintained and we had no issues. Be a little wary of loose rocks.
At the next junction, split off onto the High Meadow Trail
. This will take you to Echo Lake, where there's a nice wall to sit on and hang out. We saw some amazing dragonflies and salamanders!
Continue on Echo Lake Road around the lake (across a small bridge) until you can pick up the Echo Lake Trail
heading south. Shortly, this will leave you out on Westminster Road. Take a right to hike along the road (you'll pass two gated trails) back to the car.
Saw some really nice ferns on the way down, and some great blue dragonflies near a small lake.