Hike: Iron Mountain


During peak foliage in October 2016, I brought my two boys to hike Iron Mountain in New Hampshire. Not only was the peak needed for my 52 with a View list, but there was an abandoned iron mine on the mountain that I thought my boys would enjoy exploring.

We parked at the small lot on Iron Mountain Road and followed Iron Mountain Trail to the summit of Iron Mountain. We continued beyond the summit to a vista on South Cliffs and then continued further down the mountain to the iron mine. We returned via the same trail. The hike was about 3.5 miles, included 1500′ of elevation gain and took us a little more than 3 hours.

Iron Mountain trail map

Map of hike

We got to the parking lot on Iron Mountain Road a little after 11:00 am and stepped out to sunny and breezy weather with temperatures in the 70s. We found the trail across the road from the parking lot where it crossed a field on top of a hill.

After cutting across a few fields that had views of the Presidential and Carter Ranges, the trail lead into the woods. Part way up the side of Iron Mountain we hit a small vista that looked toward Mount Washington. The forest in between was bright orange and red. We chose the right day for a hike as the sky was clear and the autumn foliage was at its peak.

Bright Autumn leaves with mountains on horizon

Peak foliage looking toward Mount Washington

Soon after the vista we arrive at the summit, which was cluttered with the footings and lumber from a derelict fire tower. We had lunch while the boys played around the summit.

Two boys in shade eating lunch

Lunch on Iron Mountain summit

We continued down the trail, descending toward the south. We reached a faded trail marked with green ribbon, but continued on the main trail to an exposed area called South Cliff. At 12:45 pm we stopped at South Cliff, enjoyed the view and had some snacks while I photographed the foliage and view.

Two boys eating snack on cliff edge with mountains on horizon

Snacks on South Cliff

After our snack we backtracked to the green ribbon marked trail and headed down it toward the abandoned iron mine. The trail was faint but we generally stayed to the widest gaps between trees and bald granite and found the mine without issue.

We got to the mine at 1:20 pm and checked out the nearby slag pile and climbed down into the mine. It was an open mine, so there was no concern of collapse.

Closeup of rusted rocks shards in hand

Slag from old iron mine

After collecting some slag samples for the kids to bring to school, we hiked back up the trail to the summit where we had another snack at 1:50 pm. The hike back to the car included a very engaging discussions on the merits of Minecraft versus Terraria. We crossed the fields back to our car at 2:35 pm and all agreed that Terraria was the superior game. Iron Mountain was a great little mountain with some excellent views and an abandoned mine to explore. It is definitely a top family hike in the White Mountains National Forest.


Video of Iron Mountain hikeVideo of Iron Mountain hike
Music from Free Music Archive: “Beaconsfield Villas Stomp” by Doctor Turtle


Date Hiked: 07 October 2016
Elevation Gain: 1500′
Distance: 3.3 miles
Book Time: 2:30
Actual Time: 3:15

Tracing White Mountain Trails:
Iron Mountain Trail
Iron Mountain – Mine Trail

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