Difficulty: 2/10 Scenery: 5/10
Note: There has been a change since this blog’s original composition; this trail is now currently closed.
Mountains gain their names in all sorts of ways. Some have been named (or renamed) after historically significant luminaries, and others have held on firmly to their Native American names. Others are simply named after a feature, a shape, or an essence. Blueberry Mountain gained its name in an obvious way; it’s like a natural farmer’s market that deals in only blueberries. It is also a lesser-traveled peak that offers a pleasing view of Mount Moosilauke’s western side. Thus with its easy grades and its relatively nice payoff, it’s a bit of a wonder that this place doesn’t see a least a bit more traffic. But then again…
Over the last two decades, New Hampshire has endured frequent 911 updates that have caused road names to change. Typically, roads that sound too similar to other roads in town, roads that have duplicated names, and roads that were just never named at all, are the ones that end up on the docket for amendment. Areas like Benton and Warner have not escaped these sorts of changes. If traveling with a map that is more than a few years old, you’re likely to see quite a few differences, and perhaps even get frustrated. For that reason alone, navigation to the trailhead can be a task. In Benton for instance, Sanatorium Road is no longer called Sanatorium Road; its new name is High Street on more recent maps. In addition to the changes, frequent road sign thefts in this area add yet another dimension to the process of simply finding the trailheads. With that said, be sure to give a bit of extra time for way-finding on your way to the Blueberry Mountain Trailhead.
According to some maps, the southern end of the Blueberry Mountain Trail is located about four-tenths of a mile on North to South Road, which is located about eight-tenths of a mile from Rt. 25 on High Street in Benton. However, North to South Road, according to the Oliverian Stewardship Project Enviromental Assesment published in March of 2010, is actually called Long Pond Road. Neither road currently has a street sign, so use your reference clues to navigate (High Street, for instance, is the only left hand turn heading east on 25 past the town line with Warner, and before Stinson Road on the left). The trailhead is currently host to bulldozers, excavators, and tree cutters as extensive work has begun on the Oliverian Stewardship Project. The trailhead sign at the parking lot has also been moved by someone, so it currently shows its “arrow” pointing to the south (left) and into the woods, indicating that the summit of Blueberry Mountain is 1.7 miles away, but clearly in the wrong direction. Ignore the sign, and follow the intensely disturbed logging road for two-tenths of a mile. Look for a sharp uphill turn to the right, marked by a lone yellow blaze on a younger maple tree, which marks the trail’s departure from the logging road.
The easy grades pass quickly, but there is certainly no reason to rush through this hike; take time to enjoy the massive number of wild blueberry bushes that line both sides of the trail (after about three-quarters of a mile of hiking). The trail offers a somewhat wild feel as the ascent continues, perhaps due to its narrow passage or its varying vegetation and granite. Perhaps it is simply the lack of other hikers. Even on the nicest of days, this gem rarely sees summer’s usual glut of travelers.
Lush Green Among the Trail
The summit itself offers little in the way of views, and is marked by a cairn that is larger than the other few along the way. However, just before the summit, there are several bare ledges that afford decent views toward Moosilauke. In these areas, caution should be taken to walk only on the durable surfaces as there are many emerging plant communities enduring and persevering in their development on the rocks.
Hazy View of Moosilauke
The Blueberry Mountain Trail continues over the summit, and terminates on Fire Road 107 (FR 107), which is off of Page Road and reached by Lyme Kiln Road several miles away.
The Ultralight Summary:
The Blueberry Mountain Trail is a dog-friendly and kid-friendly hike. The .025 mile of the hike is in a FPA (Forest Protection Area); please adhere to the restrictions. The trail is carry in-carry out. Appropriate for all four seasons with normal equipment considerations. Total time from bottom to top should not exceed 1.5 hours. Features of interest include plentiful wild blueberry patches, and a view near the summit of nearby four thousand footer, Mount Moosilauke (10th highest in NH). This hike may be done as a circuit hike by spotting one car on Long Pond Road, and another on FR 107.
This new blog category is a result of the many questions I get regularly about hiking in New Hampshire. These periodic blogs will chronicle travels along New Hampshire’s roads less traveled while reviewing the difficulty, scenery, and useful information pertaining to each adventure. As with any hike, your safety is your responsibility; please take it seriously! Happy trails!