Baldface Circle Trail

New Hampshire

Distance8.2mi
Elevation Gain3,569ft
Trailhead Elevation500ft
Top3,589ft
Elevation Min/Max500/3589ft
Elevation Start/End500/500ft

Baldface Circle Trail

Baldface Circle Trail is a hiking trail in Carroll County and Coös County, New Hampshire. It is within White Mountain National Forest. It is 8.2 miles long and begins at 500 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 9.1 miles with a total elevation gain of 3,569 feet. The South Baldface Shelter and North Baldface (elevation 3,606 feet) and South Baldface (elevation 3,547 feet) can be seen along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Eagle Cascade Link, Slippery Brook Trail, Eagle Link Trail, Emerald Pool, Bicknell Ridge Trail, Meader Ridge Trail and Baldface Knob Trail.

Baldface Circle Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best Loop Hikes: New Hampshire's White Mountains to the Maine Coast (The Mountaineers Books)
Jeffrey Romano
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"The Baldfaces, which rise over 3600 feet in elevation, lie along a ridge nestled between higher and more rugged White Mountain summits and a landscape of farms, lakes, and low, rolling hills. Ravaged by fire in 1903, the mountains’ open ridges provide countless vantage points from which to gaze upon this scenic corner of northern New England and marvel at its many diverse natural features. This full-day hike has significant elevation gain and can be challenging, but for those completing the circuit the rewards are great, and with many trails and potential loops available, the greatest challenge will be scheduling a return trip." Read more
Hiking the White Mountains (Falcon Guides)
Lisa Densmore
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"A long, spectacular traverse across an open subalpine ridge, then a dramatic descent down the bald face of the southern of two mountains. North Baldface (3,591 feet) and South Baldface (3,569 feet) may not be 4,000-footers, but they sure hike like two of them, perhaps because they are both bald peaks with an exposed ridge between them. The Baldfaces were laid bare by fire in 1903, and once bare, the thin soil eroded quickly away. Though technically considered subalpine because of its elevation, the ridge feels like any of the higher exposed ridges in the White Mountains when you walk it. This is a challenging hike due to the vertical gain and distance, but it will be one of your favorites after the long treeless traverse and the dramatic drop down the bald face for which these mountains are named." Read more
100 Classic Hikes in New England (The Mountaineers Books)
Jeffrey Romano
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"At just over 3600 feet in elevation, North and South Baldface lie more than 1000 feet below many of their distant neighbors to the west. Yet, from afar, their barren summits stand apart among the more forested peaks surrounding them. Up close, the Baldfaces are even more breathtaking. Left bare in the wake of a 1903 fire, their exposed upper ridges provide innumerable scenic vistas in all directions." Read more

Baldface Circle Trail Reviews

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8/25/2018
Was one of my best hikes this year. Low humidity, good temps, sunny and visibility excellent. AND no bugs!!. I did the loop trail counterclockwise which was opposite of everyone else on the trail. Easier climb than clockwise. Went day after a good rain so the creeks were all running. Chandler Gorge was spectacular!
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6/23/2018
this is a great hike. you should be in somewhat good shape and sure footed as the trail gets demanding ascending or descending the south baldface mtn. awesome views above tree line. hike both peaks if you can. Pick a sunny day and pack a lunch to eat on one of the summits. the loop hike takes a good 6-8 hours.
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9/26/2009
Wonderful Fall loop with blue skies and no wind. Constant views, all directions. Long and high enough to be satisfying all day, not so hard as to exhaust. We were ahead of the most intense colors by about a week, I guess. Had been this way once in early Spring through some snow. Br'er John and I took a wrong turn early in the woods and went up Eastman (saddle) instead of South BF Knob. Boot trouble prevented summits & loop, but we did come down the giant steps--glad we had poles and crampons.
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6/13/2009
This is a tough hike. There is a reason Foghorn Outdoors has it listed as a 10 out of 10 level hike. They suggest not attempting this hike in the winter without technical experience, I would strongly agree. The hike to the shelter is a good one and some of the vistas are good, but a hike to the summit, although the most challenging of the trip, is worth the view. You will have some of the best views of the North East. You can see Tuckerman's Ravine on Mt Washington clearly from the summit, which still had snow, and well into Maine. I would second the notion of doing the loop in a clockwise fashion, coming down the rock face of South Baldface would be extremely challenging, although the decent from North Baldface is no cake-walk. We did an overnight with camping, not at the shelter, but rather in the pine forest between South and North Baldface. There is no camping above tree line in the Alpine Zone, but between the summits you drop back into a timbered section, which does have a site which is regularly used for camping. This hike will challenge you both physically and mentally.
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8/2/2008
Fall hike was just great. Views are wonderful and the loop was only moderately difficult.
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11/21/2005
Great hike! The 360 degree views from the two separate peaks I can imagine would have been absolutely amazing; unfortunately, it was drizzling and visability was only about 30ft the day we did the hike. Highly recommend taking the left fork around the loop as the scrambles up the shear granite walls is much more like rock climbing than hiking, and would be much less fun trying to come down them than going up. The only drawback was the ubiquity of rocks in the path, which had you locking your ankles for hours on end. I learned, however, that these rocky paths are standard in the northeast, so you're not going to find any better any where else. Enjoy!
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8/5/2004
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6/8/2004
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8/8/1999
This hike was featured in Backpacker Magazine, and I just happened to be working at Lake Winnepasaukee that summer. So off we went! We hiked a few miles in on Friday afternoon to a shelter that is in a can't miss spot along the trail. We stayed the night in the shelter. It poured on us all night long, and then headed up the next day to complete the loop. Although you never get much over 4000ft, the alpine feel was definetly there. This is a great hike that is more fun with an overnight and beautiful sunset and sunrise included.
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Trail Information

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USGS: Chatham, NH; Wild River, NH
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Activity Feed

Dec 2018