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Climbing Table Rock in Dixville Notch

Table Rock, above Dixville Notch , NH
Table Rock, above Dixville Notch , NH

Table Rock is a cliff that juts out into Dixville Notch, a picturesque mountain pass in New Hampshire’s north country. Bordered by Sanguinary Mountain to the north and Mt Gloriette, to the south, the sides of Dixville Notch are guarded by jagged rock formations that watch over the pass like sentinels.

Jagged rock formations in Dixville Notch. The rock spire in the foreground is on the north side of the pass, while the two rear spires are on the south side.
Jagged rock formations in Dixville Notch. The rock spire in the foreground is on the north side of the pass, while the two rear spires are on the south side.

You can climb, quite steeply to the spire on the north side of the pass by ascending the Sanguinary Ridge Trail, which coincides with a portion of the Cohos Trail, New Hampshire’s newest long-distance hiking trail. It leaves from a parking area in front of the entrance to the Balsams, a swank resort, on Lake Gloriette, that looks like Harry Potter’s Castle.

The trail begins to climb immediately, passing by several shale slides as it climbs. Trail maintainers have done some nice rock-work here, forming easy to follow steps that climb past the cliff face. Coming to a junction with the Cohos Trail which bears left, the trail passes through the forest before descending to a small parking area at the east end of the notch. From here, the trail parallels Flume Brook, ending finally when it reaches State Route 26.

Cross the highway and walk across a parking area, passing an outhouse on your left. Continue straight until you begin to climb the Huntington Cascade Trail next to a huge waterfall, well worth a visit. After climbing steeply, follow the Three Brothers Trail to Table Rock, the star attraction in the notch.

View from Table Rock to the Balsams
View from Table Rock to the Balsams

This rocky promontory juts out from the cliff face, plunging down to the notch below. Be careful near the edge of the cliff, which grows narrower the farther out you go. From the far edge, you have a grand view of Lake Gloriette, the Balsams, and a steep drop to the notch below.

Edging back from the cliff, take the Table Rock EZ Trail back down to the highway and walk back along the shoulder to your car to complete the loop. There’s another path from Table Rock called the Table Rock Climbing Trail but it is precipitously steep and not recommended for descent. It is a fun climb however and not too difficult, although it gains 600 ft in about 0.3 of a mile.

I hiked these trails and climbed Table Rock during the last week of September, just as the autumn leaves were starting to come into peak color. The total distance of the loop is 4 miles of hiking trail with about 2000 feet of elevation gain, and about 1 mile of road walking.

For directions to Dixville Notch, see The White Mountain Guide.

Dixville Notch Table Mtn Map

Recommended Guidebooks and Maps:

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  1. Brings back memories, it was our backyard for many years. I wonder if they are allowing access to the cross country ski trails while the resort is closed. They are phenomenal and sometimes hold snow that might be lacking further south. It would make some really great back country touring.

  2. Detailed narration on how to go about this trail somehow encourages me to take up hiking again…this time more seriously.

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