With over 1,200 acres of permanently protected forest, open fields of wild blueberry and heather, and mysterious wetlands, Crotched Mountain is a place of unusual beauty. Memories of hiking these woods to reach the summit, gazing at the sunset, or listening to the chatter of birds in an active wetland can last a lifetime. Crotched Mountain’s accessible trails provide a place where everyone – people with disabilities, seniors and families with children – are welcomed and able to experience nature up close.
Both trails open 30 minutes after sunrise and close 30 minutes before sunset, depending on current trail conditions.
Trail Openings and Closures
These trails can be damaged if weather conditions such as excessive rain make them too soft. It may be necessary for Crotched Mountain to close the trails in these circumstances. Before your hike, check this section of our web site (see upper right box) or contact us at 603.547.3311 for trail openings and closures.
Download a trail map to become familiar with the trail and terrain before your visit. Download the PDF here.
About the Trails
As the longest accessible trails in a mountainside environment in the United States, the Gregg and Dutton Brook trails combine unique hardpack pathways, boardwalks, moderate grades, switchbacks, and rest stops to create a natural, yet accessible, hiking experience for people of all abilities. Hikers have two very distinct trails to choose from, built to the exacting accessibility standards that will soon be released by the U.S. Forest Service. Their opening in June of 2011 completes the first phase of an Outdoor Recreation Master Plan developed by Crotched Mountain in 2006. The planning and building of these remarkable trails was led by premier trail builder Peter Jensen of Peter Jensen and Associates, one of the country’s leading designers and builders of accessible trails. With thirty years of experience, Peter is considered the most skilled and knowledgeable builder of universal access trails in the country. Funds for this $500,000 project were raised through private donations and grants.
Named after Crotched Mountain’s founder, Harry Gregg, this trail climbs to a knoll with panoramic views. A series of switchbacks with grades of no more than eight percent take hikers from the trailhead parking lot to the top of The Knoll, a distance of eight-tenths of a mile, one way. The trail skirts extensive wild blueberry fields and crosses open grasslands, offering great vistas of Crotched Mountain and wildlife viewing. Once at The Knoll, hikers are rewarded with an observation deck and panoramic views to the west, south and east of Grand Monadnock, many distant hills and the Contoocook River Valley.
Dutton Brook Trail
This woodland trail, featuring diverse forest and animal habitats, descends to a loop that winds around an abandoned beaver-built wetland. Boardwalks and observation decks offer hikers opportunities to observe and learn about our native flora and fauna. Interpretive signs familiarize visitors with the rich and complex natural beauty that abounds. Deer, moose, porcupine and many other upland species frequent this area that forms the headwaters for Dutton Brook. The wetlands are a sanctuary for many bird species. Round trip, the hike is about two miles.
What to Know Before You Go
The amount of time needed to hike an entire trail and return to the trailhead varies with each individual. You should allow at least 45 minutes to several hours, depending on your ability and hiking speed.
Before you leave home, be sure you have the following:
- Trail Map
- Weather-appropriate clothing
- Sturdy shoes
- Charged cell phone
- Fully charged wheelchair battery
- Insect Repellent
Trail Rules and Safety
Before you begin hiking, inform someone of your itinerary and expected time of return. For safety, it’s a good idea to have a buddy hike with you especially if it’s your first time. Pets and animals are not permitted on the trail (service animals are allowed). There are no bicycles or motorized vehicles allowed on the trails (motorized and manual wheelchairs are permitted). No camping, open fires, glass, or smoking permitted on the trails
Stay on the trails; stepping off the trails can lead to erosion and other trail damage. Keep your distance from any wild animals you encounter
Please carry out everything that you carry on to the trails!
Hiking During Hunting Season
Autumn is a great time to hike the trails at Crotched Mountain. However, this season carries some other responsibilities for each hiker. While there are various dates for hunting individual species in NH, this is the time of year for deer season. Hunting accidents in New Hampshire are very low and hunting accidents rarely involve non-hunters.
There are a few simple steps that hikers can take to enjoy hiking during deer-hunting season:
- Wear an article of blaze orange clothing – a vest, hat or bandanna that is easily distinguished from any other color in the woods.
- You don’t want to look like a deer by wearing brown and white. Avoid wearing white socks or gloves that could be mistaken for the flash of a deer’s white tail.
- Stay on the designated hiking trails, and avoid bushwhacking. One can never be too careful this time of year.
- Be courteous and respectful to hunters and non-hunters alike. Respect the rights of others and share the woods.
Be safe and enjoy the outdoors!