Backpacker Magazine White Mountain National Forest: Baldface Mountain Loop 

Climb nearly 4,000 vertical feet, scramble up rock ledges, explore a gorge, and summit two mountains on this 8.3-mile White Mountain adventure.

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Author: Backpacker Magazine
Date: 17 Oct 2006 1:57:55 AM
Activity: Hiking
State: New Hampshire (NH)
Distance: 8.32 mi  (Change units)
Survey Elevation: Total Gain: 3742 ft
Total Loss: 3526 ft
Net Change: 216 ft
Difficulty: 7 / 10
Tags: Intervale, New Hampshire, White Mountain National Forest
Rating:   2 rating(s) Rate it

Just west of the New Hampshire/Maine state line, this 8.3-mile lollipop in the White Mountain National Forest begins on a gradual one-mile climb before tackling a 2,500-foot ascent to the first of two rocky summits. Along the way, the hike encounters gorges, technical scramble sections, cairn-to-cairn navigation, and even a bit of easy creek-hopping. The two summits, South Baldface and North Baldface, are fairly bare and open (as their names suggest) and offer distant views of Mount Washington (New Hampshire’s highest peak) to the west.

-Mapped by Kari Bodnarchuk

TO TRAILHEAD: From Portland, ME, take US 302 W to Fryeburg; turn R onto River St./ME 113 N (toward East Conway/Stow). In 1.3 mi., turn R @ stop sign (stay on ME 113 N); follow signs for North Chatham, NH. In 16 mi., park @ trailhead on R.

Position Format: Datum:


Distance: 8.32 mi Points: 806
Total Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Baldface Mountain

Points of Interest


Location: 44.237484, -71.014969
Head W on dirt-packed, yellow-blazed trail with seasonal lady's-slippers; listen for high-pitched blue-jay calls


Location: 44.237167, -71.029236
Turn L onto Baldface Circle Trail toward South Baldface. Optional: For a dip, R for .2-mi. round trip to Emerald Pool


Location: 44.235867, -71.036552
Go L for .5-mi. horseshoe to Chandler Gorge, a rocky chasm cut by a cascading stream; narrow, leafy path with steep dropoffs; turn L @ jct. to reconnect with main trail


Location: 44.234650, -71.060631
Cross stream; pass 3-sided storm shelter; leave trees behind on steep climb up ledges; use hands to scramble up rock face


Location: 44.232716, -71.069214
Turn R on false summit (marked with large cairns)


Location: 44.230984, -71.077797
South Baldface (3,569 ft.): Endless views, including Mt. Washington to the W. Turn R and head NW on ridgetop to North Baldface; cut through pine forest; cairns and blazes lead up steep boulders and rock slabs


Location: 44.242882, -71.086868
North Baldface (3,591 ft.). Head NE on rooty, rocky, pine-needle trail


Location: 44.250000, -71.075966
Continue straight toward Eagle Crag


Location: 44.252434, -71.074203
Hard R @ 4-way; head E on Baldface Circle Trail for very steep, rocky descent; cross several small brooks


Location: 44.242485, -71.038353
Continue straight


Location: 44.237701, -71.031998
Cross brook on slick rocks (if high water, cross on ledge upriver). In 150 ft., stay straight @ Circle Jct.; retrace to trailhead

Rock Ledges

Location: 44.235199, -71.062485
©Kari Bodnarchuk

South Baldface Summit

Location: 44.230816, -71.079147
View of Mt. Washington from South Baldface. ©Kari Bodnarchuk

Emerald Pool

Location: 44.238297, -71.029678
©Kari Bodnarchuk


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