Lee Mountain is a very small mountain when compared to its higher neighbors of the Ossipee Mountain Range on the east side of Lake Winnipesaukee . This mountain has a lot to offer though that its neighbors don't. Most notebly, this mountain is famous for the Castle In the Clouds mansion which rests upon its summit. Built and owned by Thomas Plant, this "Castle In The Clouds" provides excellent vistas over Lake Winnipesaukee and across the lake to Belknap Mountain (Gunstock Mtn.). The views from this summit are almost unbeatable when it comes to great views of the mountain/lake region. There is also a gorgeous waterfall you will get to see along the way.
This mountain as stated before is quite short, but it is also quite steep and is a nice little huff up to the top. The one unfortunate part to hiking this mountain is that you will have to pay an admission fee to get onto the lands because of the mansion that is built on its summit. If you do not want to pay, that is ok too because you can still hike up the southeast slopes of the mountain via the Shannon Brook Trail. This will not take you to the summit, but it well end up at Shannon Pond on the northwest shoulder of Lee Mountain. There are some nice views from here as well.
Well worth it though, you can get great views, a little history, and some good exercise all in one trip. Also, if this mountain is not enough, there are plenty of other higher Ossipee Range peaks just to the northeast. They include Mount Shaw (highest in the range at 2,990 ft.), Mt. Roberts (2,582ft.), Faraway Mountain (2,782 ft.), Black Snout (2,803 ft.), and Bald Knob (1,801 ft.).
Take I-93 north until you reach exit 23 for Meredith, NH. Take this exit and follow Route 104 through Meredith and Moultonborough. Just on the east side of Moultonborough you'll reach the intersection for Route 171. Follow this all the way to the entrance for Castle In The Clouds and you can park just inside the entrance gate.
From Littleton, NH:
Take I-93 south to exit 23 for Meredith. Take this exit and follow Route 104 through Meredith and Moultonborough. Just on the east side of Moultonborough you'll reach the intersection for Route 171. Follow this all the way to the entrance for Castle In The Clouds and you can park just inside the entrance gate.
There are no permits required, however if you do intend to hike directly up to the summit via the Mansion Road, you will have to pay a $10.00 admisson fee. This will get you into the mansion along with access to the lands. For conservation purposes follow the “LEAVE NO TRACE” program and you will be fine.
When To Climb
This mountain is climbable at anytime of year. The only closures to the park would be due to snow in which case you could still hike the mountain if desired. Fall would be a wonderful time to visit this area because of the changing leaves which New England is famous for.
There is no camping allowed on this mountain, but there are plenty of opportunities for camping in the lake region.
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