Trail: Champney Falls Trail > Piper Trail
Hours: 5 hiking, 5:30 total
June 11, 2016
Mt. Chocorua (3,490’) is one of the most photographed mountains in the Whites Mountains! The rocky and pointed summit brings beautiful 360° views which is an amazing reward after a difficult hike.
NOTE: The hike to Mt. Chocorua is on the longer side with an elevation gain of 2,400 feet. That may not seem too difficult since you are gaining it over 4 miles, however, there are some very steep rock scramble sections.
Alex and I began the hike to Mt. Chocorua on a cloudy June morning at 9:00 AM. Alex had previously hiked Mt. Chocorua a few times, however, this was my first time! The first mile of the hike was an uneventful, easy stroll. A little past the mile mark brought us to Champney Falls and Pitcher Falls. Both were beautiful waterfalls and worth stopping by for a quick break. This portion of the trial, however, was VERY slippery.
After the waterfalls, the elevation gain began. The next mile was made of switchbacks which made the elevation gain bearable and not too difficult. We soon came to the end of the Champney Falls Trail and continued our ascent on the Piper Trail. The Piper Trail is another trail that brings you to Mt. Chocorua’s summit from the opposite side.
The Piper Trail junction was the beginning of our last push. We broke the treeline soon after the junction and began the rock scrambling. These rock scrambles were STEEP and made our legs BURN. We took multiple breaks going up, so our calves could rest. It felt as if the rock scrambling would never end.
We FINALLY reached Mt. Chocorua’s summit around 11:45 AM just as the clouds started rolling in. We knew we didn’t have long before the rain came, so we made the most of our time on the summit to take in the views and enjoy our lunch. The summit, surprisingly, didn’t have many people on it! We were two of maybe ten people there. This is a popular hike, so we were surprised by the lack of people.
Unfortunately, we were only able to stay on the summit for a half hour before we felt the first droplets of rain. We quickly packed up and began the scramble down the Piper Trail. I don’t think we have ever descended rock scrambles so quickly before lol. We wanted to make sure we were in the treeline before the rain picked up! The rain just began to pick up as we arrived at the Champney Falls Trail junction. The trees saved us from getting super wet, and it never picked up too much. We lucked out!
We had to be cautious with the rest of our descent because the trail was becoming slippery, so we slowed down and took our time. We decided to visit both waterfalls again and wash off some of the mud we had on ourselves. It was a nice rest for our legs, too! It was a warm and humid day, so we saw a few people taking a dip in the waters. We would have considered doing this if we had extra clothes!
We reached the last quarter mile of the trail when the skies opened up. Luckily, we were almost done hiking and made it to our car at 2:30 PM. We were on the verge of being uncomfortably soaked as we made it to our car. PHEW! We were so happy our timing was on point for this hike. If we started a half hour later, the descent would have been super slippery.
I would love to do this hike again and spend more time on the summit!