58 routes · Hiking
Appalachian Trail: Hanover to Oliverian Notch
The introduction to the White Mountains, summiting Smart's Mountain and Mount Cube.
- 64 km
- 3.4 km
- 3.2 km
- 1 day +
- Low Point
- 153 m
- High Point
- 980 m
This section of the Appalachian Trail begins in Hanover, NH along the Connecticut River. The trail follows a series of roads through town then re-enters singletrack just south of the Food Co-Op on Lebanon Street.
Just a short bit up the trail, Velvet Rocks Shelter is accessible via a blue-blazed side trail that loops back onto the AT. According to Dartmouth Outdoors, this stretch of the AT was the state's first segment to be relocated onto a protected corridor of land after the 1978 Appalachian Trail Bill.
As the trail crosses a few more roads, it passes through areas lined with countless day hiking opportunities. Its proximity to town makes this area a frequently traveled stretch, often reminding you that you're not far from civilization.
After Three Mile Road, the trail climbs its way into the Mad Moose Mountains. A shelter lies in the area and makes for a perfect overnight spot before continuing to Goose Pond Road.
North on the trail, the AT makes its way to Holt's Ledge, a popular day hiking destination. A fence along the cliff warns hikers of the danger and protects the endangered peregrine falcons who call the cliff home. Atop the cliff, you'll be welcomed with an excellent view of Smart's Mountain, the next major landmark on the trail. Making your way around the Dartmouth Skiway, cross the road and continue north.
At the summit of the 3,200-foot Smart's Mountain, you'll enter a serene boreal forest with both a cabin and a fire tower open to thru-hikers.
After a long descent from the summit, the trail makes its way north to Mt. Cube, home to the unique Hexacube Shelter. Exposed ledges make this a great vantage point of the high peaks in the surrounding White Mountains.
Further north, the trail continues over Ore Hill and Mount Mist before reaching the northernmost and final gem of this segment, Webster Slide Mountain. A spur trail spirals its way to the summit and offers phenomenal views of the remote Wachipauka Pond below.
To finish this segment out, look for a parking area along Mount Moosilauke Highway. Also referred to as Oliverian Notch, this road crossing offers access to a hostel and post office, located just south on the road.
Sources: https://outdoors.dartmouth.edu/activities/hiking/hikes/velvetrocks.html https://outdoors.dartmouth.edu/activities/hiking/hikes/holtsledge.html https://sectionhiker.com/new-hampshire-appalachian-trail-section-hike-hanover-to-wentworth/ https://sectionhiker.com/new-hampshire-appalachian-trail-section-hike-hanover-to-wentworth/
Hiking challenging trails where simple scrambling, with the occasional use of the hands, is a distinct possibility. The trails are often filled with all manner of obstacles both small and large, and the hills are very steep. Obstacles and challenges are often unexpected and can be unpredictable.
Best time to visit
- Summit Hike
- Dog friendly
- Wild flowers
- Water features
- Family friendly
- Forestry or heavy vegetation