Smarts Mountain

Woodstock, New Hampshire 3293

Smarts Mountain

Smarts Mountain Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This hike exudes natural beauty while exploring Groton State Forest’s past. Start along Osmore Pond at a Civilian Conservation Corps picnic shelter, then walk trails developed back during the Great Depression.

Climb Little Deer Mountain, where a view of Lake Groton and forestland spreads beyond. Hike to the lake and return along Coldwater Brook, where you see the stone remains of a long-abandoned sawmill."

More Smarts Mountain Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best of the Appalachian Trail Day Hikes (Menasha Ridge Press)
Leonard M. Adkins & Victoria and Frank Logue
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"From the parking lot on Lyme–Dorchester Road, follow the A.T. north to begin an immediate ascent of Lambert Ridge. (The 3.6-mile Smarts Mountain Ranger Trail, which leads right to the summit of Smarts, is an alternative to make the hike a loop and is about the same distance as returning by the A.T.) Hike about 0.75 mile to the first series of open ledges on the spine of Lambert Ridge. One mile later, descend Lambert Ridge, cross a stream, and begin your ascent of Smarts Mountain. Hike another 0.9 mile to the junction of the Smarts Mountain Ranger Trail. These two trails join, and you will continue on them until you reach the summit. In about 0.25 mile, the Trail makes a sharp right and ascends steeply to the summit." Read more
Best Hikes of the Appalachian Trail - New England (Menasha Ridge Press)
Lafe Low
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"Smarts Mountain is a lengthy hike over the truly scenic Lambert Ridge. Along the way, you’ll be treated to sweeping views of the surrounding forests. There are two trailheads that leave from the Smarts Mountain parking area. Make sure you’re on the white-blazed Appalachian Trail (A.T.) and not the other blue-blazed Fire Road–Fire Tower Trail. There’s a beautiful stream running by the parking area if you need to water up, but be sure to treat it or run it through a filter. There’s space for about 10 cars or so in this dirt area. The woods here are fairly dense and this is a remote area, so make sure you have the right supplies, including bug repellent. The Lambert Ridge Trail up Smarts Mountain is the A.T. The trail starts out at a moderate grade. You’re hiking through a dense, lush forest of mostly maple, birch, and pine. The trail here is fairly well-defined and well marked as it winds its way up the hillside." Read more
Best Hikes with Dogs: New Hampshire & Vermont (The Mountaineers Books)
Lisa Densmore
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"Smarts Mountain is not a 4000-footer,but it feels like it when you climb it. The mountain is a large, flat-topped dome when viewed from the Hanover area. Although the summit is covered with trees, it has a tall fire tower, and the approach via the Lambert Ridge Trail (Appalachian Trail, white blazes) gets you up high quickly with numerous ledgy vistas en route to the top. Bring extra water for your dog, because there are no reliable streams on the way up the Lambert Ridge Trail." Read more
Hiking the White Mountains (Falcon Guides)
Lisa Densmore
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"A stiff start to a series of open ledges, then a steady climb to a fire tower and a 360-degree view, including the main spine of the White Mountains to the east and the Green Mountains to the west. A popular local hike, Smarts Mountain is not a 4,000-footer, but it feels like it when you climb it. The mountain is a large, flat-topped dome when viewed from the Hanover area. Although the summit is covered with trees, it has a tall fire tower, and the approach via the Lambert Ridge Trail/Appalachian Trail (white blazes) gets you up high quickly, with numerous ledgy vistas en route to the top. Many people like to hike both ways on the Lambert Ridge Trail, because it is on a ridge with wonderful lookouts. There are three reasons for descending via the Ranger Trail: to make a loop; because the bottom third of the trail is smooth and flat, so it is easier on your joints; and for the water. The Ranger Trail crosses a large brook about halfway down, then follows it much of the way to the trailhead." Read more

Smarts Mountain Reviews

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4/28/2018
This was a tough hike for me but still a great one. It's got a lot of steep areas and can be very rocky and slippery. It's also not very well marked but thankfully my companions had done the trail before. The views up top of the fire tower are incredible (although the views aren't that great at the top if you don't go up the tower). The trail itself is very pretty and diverse though and it's a great backpacking trip.
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5/30/2010
This was my first trip to Smarts mountain. The hike for the most part is moderately difficult. Taking the DOC trail you will follow along a ridge for a mile or so which is very easy to navigate. There is a spring at the top of the mountain that may or may not have water depending on when you visit. I did this trip as an overnight with my girlfriend and was pleasantly surprised to find that we were the only ones camping that night. From our tent site there was a wonderful view of several small ponds. We did not go to the ranger tower when we got there and unfortunately there was no view to be had in the morning due to Canadian wildfires but it was still a great time. Also, even though it is a longer route I would suggest using the DOC trail in both directions as the ranger trail is more or less following a dry stream for most of the lenght. Also there are lots of areas with steep granite ledge which could be real tricky in wet weather.
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3/7/2010
This loop is surprisingly easy, even in winter. The Lambert Ridge trail flattens out for a good portion after an only moderate ascent at the beginning. The hike, however, would have been miserable without snow shoes. One of the people in our group of four wore crampons instead of snowshoes and was sinking into snow waist-deep almost every other step, which made for an exhausting climb. The trail is pretty nice, though the blazes seem to disappear for a while, but follow the small cairns and you'll stay on it... There is a really nice lookout point at the first rock cliffs, but I was pretty disappointed that the summit isn't above treeline. The fire tower, however, makes up for it. We had to knock a lot off ice off the steps to make the ascent, but it was worth the view at the top, and the glass windows provided for some nice protection from the weather and a good place to eat our lunch. We took the Ranger trail back down, and honestly, I didn't enjoy it. It was way too flat for about the last 2 miles, and it didn't really feel like a decent. I more enjoy running down the mountain in my snowshoes, and this was not the place to do it. If I were to do it again, I would have taken the Lambert Trail back down... I imagine that the Ranger trail is nicer in the spring, and with a dog, who would enjoy very much stopping along the brook for some water.
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Smarts Mountain Photos

Trail Information

Woodstock
Nearby City
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
7.2
Distance
Loop/Lollipop
Trail Type
Moderate
Skill Level
4.5-5.5 hours
Duration
Year-round
Season
Views
Features
National Geographic #740, White
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018