Owl’s Head is probably the hardest to get to single 4,000 foot peak in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The quickest route to the summit is 9.1 miles right into the heart of the Pemigiwasset Wilderness. It features a lot of flat hiking from the Lincoln woods trail, but ends with a quick and steep ascent on the rockslides on Owl’s Head that face the east side of Franconia Ridge. Though this is a long hike, the views on the slide are fantastic, and the Lincoln Brook Trail is a beautiful path along the river with gorgeous rock formations. Camping is a fantastic option here.
Height: 4,025 feet
Distance: 18.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,992 feet
Hike Time: 6-10 hours
Lincoln Woods Trail
This trail begins by crossing an incredible bridge over the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River and continues on very flat ground for 2.6 miles until you reach the bridge crossing Franconia Brook. The trail goes along an old logging railroad, so it is flat, wide, and features old railroad ties. You will take a left turn onto the Franconia Brook Trail.
Lincoln Brook Trail
After taking a left onto the Franconia Brook Trail towards the Lincoln Brook trail, you will continue on relatively flat ground for 1.7 miles before turning left onto the Lincoln Brook Trail. This trail goes along the beautiful Lincoln brook, and provides a lot of space for potential stealth campsites, and many stopping points for river watching or taking a dip.
Owl’s Head Path
The Owl’s Head path is a quick 1.1 miles up to the summit. A portion of this trail is a rock slide with very loose rocks that can be difficult to climb. Caution is recommended here. The views of Franconia Ridge are fantastic from this trail.
Bushwack (Avoiding the river crossings) via the Black Pond Trail
Hikers can choose to avoid the major river crossings, that may involve taking off boots with relatively high water on the Lincoln Brook Trail. Hikers can take the .8 mile black pond trail and bushwack towards the Lincoln Brook Trail. It meets up with Lincoln brook around 1.2 miles later just after the toughest river crossing. This route is less traveled and not maintained, so travel can be difficult. It does however save .5 miles or more. When bushwacking, it is always important to know what you are doing. Carry a map and compass.
The Summit Of Owl’s Head
If you are a peak bagger, or just want to make sure you touch the actual summit, you must continue along the summit on a not so well traveled trail. You will find a Cairn at the actual summit. It can be a little difficult to find, and is slightly longer than you expect from the real trail (Between .1 and .2 miles).
Directions to Lincoln Woods Trailhead:
You can access Owl’s Head from the north side of the Pemi Wilderness from various trails. This peak is often summited by hikers doing a “half pemi loop”. If you have any questions about going from the north directions, let us know and we can help out.
A chance of showers and thunderstorms between 11am and 1pm, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms between 1pm and 2pm, then showers and thunderstorms likely between 2pm and 3pm, then showers and thunderstorms likely between 3pm and 4pm, then showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny. High near 79, with temperatures falling to around 70 in the afternoon. North wind 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.
Showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 46. East wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New rainfall amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch possible.
A chance of rain showers before 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 57. Northeast wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New rainfall amounts less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Scattered rain showers after 8pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 39. North wind 0 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Scattered rain showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 57. North wind 5 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Scattered rain showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 43. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Scattered rain showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 58. Chance of precipitation is 40%.
Max DesMarais is the founder of Hiking & Fishing. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about