Black Mountain (2757′) is a 52-with-a-View peak located in Jackson, NH with good views of Mt Washington on a clear day. The trail up to the summit follows the Black Mountain Ski trail and passes the Black Mountain Cabin, just below the summit. This is a primitive log cabin managed by the Forest Service that you can rent out for $20/day.
The ski trail is steep and narrow. It was fairly well packed out when I hiked it, but with the recent thaws and rain, the snow was consolidated and icy. I have no idea how people can ski down this trail and live to tell the tale. The narrow run is hemmed in by woods and there are drainages with flowing water that transect the trail. Maybe there was more snow in the old days and those codgers knew how to control their wooden skis. Hard to say.
As I climbed, I passed two young men dragging a gear-laden pulk coming down the trail, their frying pan threatening to jump from the sled and make a solo descent down the hill. They’d spent two nights up at the cabin and had brought in an axe and saw to cut firewood for the cabin’s tiny wood stove.
They were wearing heavy-duty Carhartt overalls, not part of the spandex-set at all, and I wondered whether they worked in trail crew for the forest service. We chatted for a while and they compared their experience at the cabin with the Doublehead cabin which they liked better, another rentable cabin, a short distance away. I’ve been meaning to drag some friends there on a winter cabin trip, so I filed that away.
I reached the cabin and took in the views of Washington across Pinkham Notch before climbing the rest of the way to the summit, looping around the cabin and up the back way, up an unmarked side trail that leaves from the path to the cabin’s water source There are lots of occluded views visible through the winter forest, Sable and Chandler, the Baldfaces, the Doubleheads, but the woods have grown in since the 52-with-a-View list was first created, so Washington is only peak you can see completely from the mountain.
Still I had Black Mountain all to myself on a fine winter morning. This is a easy-to-moderate hike in winter, 3.9 miles round trip and definitely worth hiking if you want some exercise without having to put in an entire day.