Look at your kingdom, you are finally there! To sit on your throne as the Prince of Fresh Air.
No doubt about it, you’ll feel like the Master of Belknap Range when you take your place on a stone throne atop Piper Mountain, basking under the big sky. The scenery won’t disappoint, and the trees will bough in your presence (ha. Bough. Get it? #badtreepuns).
The stone throne is a well-earned opportunity to relax as you trek through the woods, navigating creek crossings and mountain ridges. There are actually two thrones up there – neither naturally occurring. Exactly who did construct these royal recliners? Heck if I know. But I’d like to think it was gnomes.
There’s more than one way to get to the top of Piper (a ridge hike that connects mountain to mountain would certainly be an excellent option). But my friend Taylor and I had limited time, so we opted to explore Piper via the Whiteface Trail, which starts at the end of Belknap Mountain Road in Gilford, New Hampshire.
Parking is located at the end of the paved road. The trailhead itself is a bit farther up the dirt road, on the left between two houses. A worn trail sign marks the way.
You’ll be out of the backyards and into the woods in no time.
The out-and-back trail, which starts on Whiteface (blue blaze) and then splits onto the Piper-Whiteface Link (green blaze) is 2.6 miles, with an elevation gain offeet. It’s enough to get the blood pumping, but not too intense or long.
And the Belknap Range views are splendid.
Piper Mountain sure is pretty on top.
And as a wondrous late-November bonus, we spotted a tree decked out for the holidays.
Is it always dressed this way? Have those holiday bulbs been there for years? Is this some local family’s post-Thanksgiving tradition? Did the tree sprout ornaments of its own accord – some kind of splendid genetic mutation? Did the neighborhood yeti decide to decorate this year?
And then, of course, there are those thrones.
Taylor here got right comfortable in her stately stone seat, lording over her land. And by “land” I mean the sandwich she brought for lunch. SNAP OUT OF IT TAYLOR YOU’RE NOT IN CHARGE HERE STOP ASKING ME TO FETCH THE COURT JESTER!
I’d also like to take a moment to show my respect to the witch whose magic was snuffed out by this collapsed structure.
Find her yourself, until the squirrels make off with her legs, not too far from the trailhead.
There are a few routes to reach the summit of Piper Mountain. We opted to explore Piper via the Whiteface Trail, which starts at the end of Belknap Mountain Road in Gilford, New Hampshire. Directions.
2.6 miles out and back, 958 feet of elevation gain
For info and map, see “South Piper Mountain” on alltrails: www.alltrails.com/trail/us/new-hampshire/south-piper-mountain