Via the Starr King Trail 7.2 miles round trip
Mt. Waumbek is the second furthest north of New Hampshire’s 4,000 footers. Located in Jefferson, a pastoral town with picturesque views, Waumbek is the tallest of the Pliny Range. It is also relatively easy to hike in combination with Mt. Starr King. While the summit of Mt. Waumbek offers only restricted views to the east, Mt. Starr King offers better views from a cleared area where stunning views of the Presidential Range can be obtained.
Beginning on US 2, continue driving North past the popular hiking trails of the Northern Presidential Range. The trail is in Jefferson, New Hampshire on Starr King Road. This road is located about .2 miles from the junction with NH 115 A, at the end of this gravel road is a small parking area for the trailhead. While traveling on Starr King Road be aware of the driveways and stay to the left at all times. During winter months there is also a parking area for the town pool that hikers can utilize.
Starr King trail, road and mountain are all named for a minister from Boston, and later San Francisco, Thomas Starr King who wrote a book about the region called The White Hills. It has been known to be one of the most influential books about the White Mountains ever written. He is also the namesake for King’s Ravine on Mt. Adams and a mountain in the Sierra Nevada range also bears his name.
The trail ascends gradually from the parking area up an old logging road and passes the old stone foundation of a springhouse. Footing on the trail is generally good and the grades are moderate for the entire ascent. At 2.6 miles the summit of Starr King is reached, if you continue another 60 yards there is a cleared area with expansive views to the south and east. On the summit there are remains of a shelter, and an old fireplace. The trail continues on along the crest of the ridge and just below in the trees for another mile to the wooded summit of Waumbek. If you continue past the signed summit there is an area where someone cleared trees and there are some limited views of the North side of Mt. Washington. To return come back the way you ascended. Going down the Starr King trail presents no difficulties, or overly steep sections.
There are no challenging places on this route where a new hiker or dog would have to worry about ability. It is very easy to follow the trail and it is quite a popular hike. The round trip mileage is 7.2 making it a very approachable day trip. However, it is quite a drive to get to Jefferson, but the views from the road are almost as good as the ones from the top. This town is an absolutely gorgeous example of old New England, a hidden gem high in the North Country.
Distances from Trailhead
Summit of Mt. Starr King 2.6 miles
Mt. Waumbek Summit 3.6 miles
Round trip back down Starr King Trail 7.2 miles