Sunday, September 19 2021

Hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire attracts people for a multitude of reasons. One of the 48 4,000-foot peaks in the Granite State, Mount Liberty falls at number 18, with an elevation of 4,459 feet.

Located in Lincoln, New Hampshire, Liberty is part of the Franconia Range, adjoining the iconic Flume Gorge and Mount Flume.

A typical New England climb, visitors will encounter young pines, ferns, and lush green ground cover. Bubbling streams crisscross the trails and natural erosion leaves an ever-changing landscape.

Near the summit, the trail passes the tree line in the alpine zone; the exposed granite face shelters a fragile ecosystem of flora and fauna. Keep an eye out for the wild blueberries growing in the bush, but remember to stay on the path.

The trail is rated as difficult and is likened to a stair machine, with endless boulders to climb over or around, and few points of interest to break up the ascent. Hikers who reach the top are rewarded with spectacular cloudy landscapes and stunning views, even on an overcast day.

The 360-degree view spans the Franconia ridge, offering views such as Mount Flume nearby.

Mount Liberty is characterized as best suited for the experienced hiker as it is a difficult hike. Visitors attempting the ascent via the Liberty Spring Trail will hike seven miles round trip from the trailhead along the Franconia Notch bike path; those who choose to continue from Mt Liberty to Mt Flume and the Flume Slide Trail will complete a 10.2 mile loop.

This is called “peak bagging”, a way to climb several mountains with a single major ascent.

Liberty is part of the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Mount Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in Georgia. Visitors will likely encounter ‘hikers’ trekking north or south – a general rule of thumb on the trail is to let the person walking uphill through.

Preparation is the key to a successful hike. Visitors should make sure to bring enough water and food for the day and should plan to return to their vehicles before dark. In this area, it is also essential to bring weather equipment, because even on an otherwise pleasant day, storms can move quickly and drastically change conditions in a matter of minutes.

The trails at Mount Liberty are difficult, but are well maintained, clean, and visibly marked. Start at the trailhead along the Franconia Notch bike path, just north of the Flume Visitor Center. Parking for this hike is located at the Whitehouse Trailhead Parking Lot, at exit 34A of I-93 in Lincoln, New Hampshire.


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