A Family Adventure

in the mountains, ocean, and air

Owls Head

May 21, 2023
Emilie Phillips

After finishing up morning chores at the vacation rental on Sunday, we went for a half day hike. Tyson has been finding short, interesting hikes near the house so that I can write them up in my marketing page. I haven’t found time to do that yet, but the hike was fun. There are two routes up Cherry Mountain. The Cherry Mountain trail from the west ascends Mt Martha first, then you take is a side trail over to Owls Head. From the guidebook’s description, that route has a few rock scrambles and some partial views in addition to the best view at Owls Head. That over all grade was too steep for some in our group. Instead, we took the Owls Head trail from the north.

The lower part of the Owls Head trail wanders through level hardwoods and in and out of muddy spots. There were stacks of fresh planks near the worst muddy spots. Presumably a trail crew is going to come install boardwalks. The trail gradually gets steeper as it climbs through the deciduous forest. I love hiking up a mountain in the spring because I see different flowers at different elevations. At the bottom we saw jack in the pulpit and a few blue ball lilies. The vibernum was already going to seed. Then at the middle elevations, we found vibernum showing off their giant white cluster flowers, and red trillium growing in bunches. Higher up yet, the flowers shifted backwards in time to painted trillium, spring beauty, and trout lily. At the very top, entered a cold north facing spruce microclimate dripping with old mans beard moss. We almost stopped to put more layers on.

The view at the top of Owls Head should be good. It faces the Presidential Range. Saturday evening’s cold front was still hanging around the mountains. Clouds obscured everything above 3,000′. We could just make out some snow in Ammonousuc Ravine. We let the kids play zombie apocalypse and hide-and-seek for an hour before heading back down. The overlook had been pleasantly sunny, with a light breeze that kept the bugs off. The black flies attacked once we descended below the north facing conifers. In the flats at the bottom, mosquitos joined the black flies. The last half mile of the hike turned into a disorderly rout as people fled for the safety of the cars.

All Photos

GPS Track