Trail: Starr King Trail
Hours: 3 hiking; 3:30 total
July 28, 2018
Mt. Waumbek (4,006’) is the third shortest 4,000-footer and is hiked with Mt. Starr King (3,907’). This is a fairly easy in and out trail with awesome views on Mt. Starr King. However, Mt. Waumbek’s summit is wooded, and we couldn’t find any clearings for views.
NOTE: This trailhead is literally in the middle of nowhere lol. These mountains are north of the White Mountains. I would recommend putting “Starr King Trailhead” into a GPS to find it. Don’t let these shorter mountains fool you either! The trail gains 2,700 feet of elevation most of which is gained within the first 2.6 miles, so get ready for some steep sections.
Alex and I started this hike at 10:00 AM on a VERY humid July morning. Alex decided to have some caffeine before the hike which did not sit well once he began to sweat. After being on the trail for about 15 minutes, Alex thought he was going to pass out, so we rested while I scolded him for drinking caffeine before exercising. No bueno, Alex.
Once he was stable and ready to move, we began hiking again. This is one of those hikes that starts off strong and throws you right into the ascent. We climbed steadily to Mt. Starr King. Starr King Trail was packed down and well maintained, so our footing was great! It also had lots of roots, but nothing tripped us up. If it wasn’t so dang humid out, we probably would have reached the summit quicker, but it was 90% humidity, sooooo we were a bit sweaty. About 2 miles up, there was a small spring to our left. If you sweat as much as we do, you’ll thoroughly enjoy splashing the fresh, cold water on your wash.
The thing I loved most about Starr King Trail was the vegetation. I LOVE ferns, and there were ferns EVERYWHERE. The smell was an awesome addition to the hike and somewhat took our minds off the relentless elevation gain. As we got closer to Mt. Starr King’s summit, the trail became more gradual. The summit was small and of course, has no sign, but we knew we made it because there was a chimney! The chimney was part of a shelter built in the 1940s but later removed in the 1980s. There were also awesome views of the Presidentials! We made it to the top by 11:30 AM.
Before we left the summit, we were on the lookout for Grey Jays!! We couldn’t miss them because they got all up in our business when they saw we had food. To the left of the summit, there is a sign that says “path”. Very specific signage, I know. As you probably guessed, I think the sign should say “Mt. Waumbeck Summit - 1 mile”, but I digress. We followed the sign and continued for another mile until we reached Mt. Waumbek’s summit. The trail in between summits was an easy hike.
It took us about 15-20 minutes to reach the Mt. Waumbeck’s summit. The only way we knew we reached the summit was the rock cairn. As I said at the beginning, Mt. Waumbek’s summit lacked views, but it was peaceful!
We ate lunch on Mt. Waumbek’s summit before beginning our descent. Because the trail was well maintained and our footing was great, we jogged a bit down the trail. We made it back down in an hour! We got to our car at 1:00 PM, so we beat our ascent by a half hour - woohoo!!
This is another great beginner 4,000-foot hike if you are looking for one! I would highly recommend it. The drive to the trailhead has beautiful views as well!
Have you hiked these Mt. Starr King and Mt. Waumbek? Do you agree Mt. Waumbek is one of the easier 4,000-footers?