Via: Mt. Meader Trail 6 miles round trip
Mt. Meader is part of the Baldface-Royce Range that extends southwest from Evan’s Notch between the Wild River and the Cold River. Summits in this range are comparatively low but so are the valleys, creating an impressive rise of the mountains from their bases. Combined with the Baldfaces and Eagle Crag, Mt Meader is the northeast most mountain that encloses their own cirque-like valley on the east. There are fantastic views into much of Maine from several ledgy outlooks on Mt. Meader, as well as south to the Baldfaces and over the valley. These viewpoints notably Eagle Crag have earned it a place on the New Hampshire 52 with a view list. It is a fine mountain to hike for a short day trip as it is only 6 miles round trip and while it has over 2,200 feet of elevation gain it has moderated this by using switch-backs in the steeper sections of the mountain.
The trail head for the Mt. Meader Trail is located on the left side of 113 (coming from the south), about a half mile from the Baldface Circle Trail parking area. It is marked with a brown trail sign and there is parking for a few cars on a small pull off on the opposite side of the road. Do not block the trail entrance with vehicles because it begins on a privately owed logging trail. There is no recreational fee for parking here, and there are no facilities.
Cross the road using caution and follow the logging trail for about 70 yards and bear left at a fork, the trail is blazed in yellow so follow those. After this the trail follows the north side of Mill Brook and enters the White Mountain National Forest at .7 miles, it is signed. At mile 1 there is a side path of an easy .1 miles to Brickett Falls, a knobby outcropping where water that flows from Mill Brook crosses over and around. It is best to visit the falls in times of high water, early spring or after a significant rainfall, otherwise do not expect much. From here the trail turns left and leaves the logging road, crossing and re-crossing a small brook (ample water for dogs) and at mile 2.1 it begins to climb up the steep section, that is moderated with switchbacks. These lead up the ridge where abruptly the forest changes from a deciduous mixture of beech, birch and occasional pine to spruce woods. At mile 2.5 there is an outlook to the south over the cirque like valley formed by the Baldface Range. Continuing up moderately the trail opens onto a ledge with great views at mile 3 the junction with The Meader Ridge Trail is reached on east knob of Mt. Meader. The summit is a bit further down the Meader Ridge Trail. There are views from an open area just beyond the junction that are expansive and lovely. On a clear day much of the Western Maine mountains can be seen far away, including some of the windmills that were erected in Oxford county several years ago. Evan’s Notch is impressive when seen from above and the grandeur of these mountain ranges, while not as rocky and rugged as the Presidentials offer more of an understated and wild beauty.
Descending the way you came up there are no hazardous spots for humans or dogs. However use caution always. Some sections of the switchbacks are a little eroded but the footing is solid for the entire hike and the majority of it is not strenuous. The first 2.1 miles are gentle in elevation gain and the switchbacks really moderate the otherwise steep ascent to the top. There are several streams along the way, as well as Mill Brook, so water is available (always purify before consumption). This area is remote and without much cellphone reception so take the time and enjoy a pleasant and moderate hike with very rewarding views.
Distances from 113 (520 feet):
Meader Ridge Trail (2,750 feet): 3 miles
Back to 113: 6 miles
For the full list of New Hampshire’s 52 with a view click here: http://www.nhmountainhiking.com/hike/lists/52view.html