01 29 2016.

hiking: north and south baldface


In an attempt to vary the location of my hikes, Darren, Josh and I opted to hike in a section farther north than our typical hike spots in Jackson or Lincoln, NH. We chose North and South Baldface due to the exciting name and promised views.

The Baldfaces are about 2.5 hours Northwest of Portland. There is a small parking lot on the right side of the road, about 200 feet from the start of the trail, that fits a dozen or so cars. We arrived shortly after 9am and had to park on the side of the road, which was fine as we were following the example of several other cars.

After “booting” up and taking advantage of the restroom in the lot, we crossed and walked up the road until we found the trail sign.


The entire hike follows the Baldface Circle Trail in a lollipop shape. After about 20 minutes, we reached the fork – Baldface Circle Trail (North Summit) straight ahead and Baldface Circle Trail (South Summit) to the left. We kind of stood there dumbfounded for a few seconds, not sure which way to go first. We picked left since we knew that the steepest/scariest/baldest part was there and we resolved to go up it rather than fall down it.



In fact, the trail doesn’t really get that steep until you come out onto the exposed rock. That part really got me charged up. I practically crawled. The face was so steep and the sporadic wind gusts had me fearing for my balance.


In hindsight, it actually wasn’t as dangerous as it felt, but my adrenaline was firing off. While still scaling the rocks, we caught up to an older woman and chatted with her for a while. It turns out that she had just returned from a hiking trek in Scotland that brought her all over the country. She got to hike from hut to hut. Having returned recently from Iceland, we mentioned our hike on the Fimmvörðuháls Pass. Apparently, she had also recently been to Iceland and hiked Laugavegur! We talked for a while with her and then proceeded on our way.




I found out recently that North and South Baldface are part of the 52 With a View and I’m not surprised one bit. The view was absolutely gorgeous. These pictures hardly do it justice.



From there, we hiked the mile over to the North Peak, exposed the entire way. We got to walk with 360 degree views the entire time. What an amazing walk along the ridge!



The descent was a lot of fun. It was pretty gradual and exposed for a lot of it, since we stay at elevation for quite a while after the North Peak.


The best part? When we got back to the fork, we walked over to the Charles Brook and followed it for a few minutes until we came to a watering hole of sorts. There were a few other hikers there jumping in from above. The water was pretty deep (and cold!) so of course we went for a swim!


Distance: 9.5 miles – Garmin data
Elevation: 3,606′ (North Baldface) + 3,547′ (South Baldface)
Time: 5:50

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