There are numerous mountains in New Hampshire referred to as “Haystack,” this particular one is located outside of Bethlehem, New Hampshire. It can only be reached by following old logging roads and bushwalking. This is a short and sweet hike with lots of views from the top of the bare summit. We were attempting to do it as a preliminary peak on our way up to Peak Above the Nubble.
Directions to trailhead: Take Route 3 South from US 302. Take a left for the Gale River camping/hiking area. Shortly after, bear left at the fork in the road. Continue down up road, continuing straight at the right turn for Gale River Trail. At the end of the road there will be a gate with a small parking area on the left.
Route: Logging roads, herd path
Starting at the gate at the end of Gale River Road East, follow a grassy logging road, continue as it works its way along side a clearcut. Where the road wanted to turn left, I beared right onto an older road.There is a small cairn pointing you in the right direction. The trail then bears right shortly there after to another older road, then followed a series of herd paths, keeping with the most prominent footbed, eventually dropping down alongside a brook, crossing it shortly thereafter, then ascending around the north side of the Nubble (aka Haystack Mountain). While this is not a sanctioned trail or visible on any of the AMC maps it is very easy to follow. Keep an eye out for cairns along the way, but it would be difficult to get lost out here. We brought a GPS, just in case as well as maps and compass.
After a short, ledgy scramble (probably rather dangerous in wet/icy conditions due to a no fall zone), I arrived at a subpeak and then the true summit, with views in all directions. A very impressive, officially trailless, peak. This was an easy hike, with views and water available most of the way to the top. We saw a lot of moose signs, i.e. droppings, browsing, but no actual moose. From the frequency and quantity of the droppings I would say that this is a frequent hang out for them, so be aware. There are thick stands of trees where moose could easily disguise themselves.