The first fire tower to make the list is first since it is often the first mountain children and new hikers climb. Located in the small town of Stoddard NH Pitcher Mountain stands at 2,152 feet. With 360 degree views, a fire tower, and a large blueberry patch this mountain offers up many huge rewards for a quick and easy hike.
There are two main trails up Pitcher Mountain, both under a mile, making them great for quick hikes or kids just starting out. The main trail (0.6miles) is the White Blaze trail which is also part of the 50 mile Monadnock Sunapee Greenway that runs from Mount Monadnock in Jaffrey to Mount Sunapee in Newbury. The trail is very easy to follow and wide great for letting kids loose and run! The first section offers great footing on packed dirt, however as you turn the corner, the 0.2 miles becomes slightly more difficult. The road now turns onto rocks, similar to an old creek bed and becomes a bit steeper. At the top of this second section, there is a nice tock to stop to take a break and enjoy a directional view of the farm below. It should be noted that near this area, an electric fence for the cow pasture is present. Always assume electric fences are live.
After taking in the views the trail turns up its final 0.2m section and starts to resemble a mountain hiking trail, the road disappears and becomes narrower. On your right, you will pass the old Fire Warden’s Cabin. It is now closed off but is a fun place for a photo opportunity on the porch. From here the fire tower is clearly visible and is just a very short distance away. Young children will enjoy the short rocky scramble up to the top, while most adults should be able to walk easily up to the top.
At the top, the large 25′ Fire Tower greets hikers. Often hikers are invited into the lookout cabin at the top if the warden is present. From here you can learn about, how they spot fires and communicate with other observers to get a location of a fire. If the warden is not there, hikers can still climb the tower, but the cabin will be closed off.
You do not need to climb the tower to take in the views. On really clear days, views can reach the White Mountains!
Below the tower, there are grassy areas for picnics as well as large boulders kids will enjoy climbing. However, aside from the tower, the biggest draw to the summit is the endless blueberry patch. Blueberries used to be cultivated here, and they have since been abandoned. Now offer up free snacks to all those who visit in the summer months.
To return, retrace your steps or opt to take the Blue-Blazed trail which is short and steep. You can also continue on the Monadnock Sunapee Greenway trail, which will zig-zag through more blueberry bushes and directional views and down to a second access road which is a short walk down to the trailhead.
Info at a Glance:
Trailhead Address 2190 Route 123 Stoddard NH
White Blaze (one way to summit) 0.6 miles
White Blaze (round trip loop) 1.5 miles
Blue Blaze (one way to summit) 0.4
Elevation Gain 250ft
Tower Height 25 Feet
First Date of Operation 1915
Last modified: April 16, 2018
As manager of Pitcher Mt. Wild Blueberries for Andorra Forest LP I would like to add that these blueberries have always been wild and we do maintain them for blueberry picking and wildlife habitat by periodically cutting out most tree species that would naturally reforest the area. There are other non-edible berry producing shrubs also mixed in with the wild blueberries and we do not attempt to remove them all – instead leaving some for the birds and rabbits that also inhabit the mountain top. Enjoy the views all year and blueberry picking from mid July until late August!
Thank you and the Faulkner family for continuing to make the blueberry fields available to the public, and for the access to Pitcher Mtn. I am a resident of Stoddard, and frequently take the blue trail hike to the fire tower – keeps me in shape!!