Mt. Passaconaway is a peak with limited views, located in the Sandwich Range Wilderness, just down the ridge from Mt. Whiteface, its more interesting neighbor. The trails offer glimpses of Mt. Whiteface to the south, Mt. Wonalancet, its 3200 foot neighbor, and of the Tripyramids from a small ledge near its peak. Other lookouts from the Walden Trail afford views to the south and east. The summit itself has no view.
This hike is most often combined with Mt. Whiteface (4020 ft.), which has lovely views from its ledges and false peak. The two combined make a nice 11.9 mile loop which offers 3900 feet of climbing and which will take around 8 hours. Mt. Passaconaway is the 42nd highest peak in New Hampshire.
The trails are mostly moderate and are well maintained. The approach to the summit sees some rocky sections, but nothing particularly challenging. See the Mt. Whiteface page for discussions of the approach to that peak.
Mt. Passaconaway is named for a famous native American chief, who led the Pannacook tribe in the 1600s. Check here for a detailed history of Chief Passaconaway.
Dicey's Mill Trail. This trail runs from the Ferncroft Rd. parking area to the top of Mt. Passaconaway. Well maintained trail with moderate grades. The trail may be a bit hard to discern at the beginning, where it passes a gate (sign on tree) and follows a driveway through a field and past a house on the right. It follows the Wonalancet River to about 2.3 miles. Along the way there are the Blueberry Ledge Cutoff and the Tom Wiggin Trail on the left, which lead to Mt. Whiteface. The trail meets the Rollins Trail from the left at 3.7 miles, then climbs to the summit. Total distance: 4.6 miles. Ascent: 2950 feet.
Rollins Trail. This is the ridge trail connecting Mt. Whiteface to the Dicey's Mill Trail and Mt. Passaconaway. From the summit ledges on Whiteface, 2.5 miles to Dicey's Mill Trail, then .9 miles up Dicey's Mill Trail to the summit of Mt. Passaconaway.
Old Mast Trail. This trail dates back to the days when the British used it to haul out large timbers for masts. The trail connects the Ferncroft Rd. parking area to the Walden Trail. Distance: 2 miles. Ascent 1200 feet.
Walden Trail. A recently reconstructed trail which runs from the Old Mast Trail to the summit of Passaconaway. Lookouts to the south and east along the way near the top. Distance from Old Mast Trail to the summit: 2.8 miles. Ascent 2100 feet.
From the Kancamagus Highway. Parking .1 miles off the Kanc located on the south side of the highway 1.0 miles west of the Bear Notch Road intersection. The route begins on the Oliverian Brook Trail to the Passaconaway Cutoff, or, a little farther down the Oliverian Brook Trail, the Square Ledge Trail. The Passaconaway Cutoff joins the Square Ledge Trail, which later joins the Walden Trail .7 miles from the summit. Total distance to the summit 5.1 miles. Ascent 2800 feet.
Ferncroft Rd. Parking AreaTake Route 113A to Wonalancet; where the road makes a right angle turn; turn north onto Ferncroft Road (sign is more visible when traveling towards the west). You can't miss the parking area on the right where there is ample free parking. The trailhead is to the right out of the parking lot and is well marked. An outhouse is available at the parking area.
From the North Parking area located .1 miles south of the Kancamagus Highway, 1 mile west of the Bear Notch Road intersection.
No permits, passes, or parking fees required.
When To Climb
As with all of the Whites, Mt. Passaconaway is a four season experience. However, if approaching via Mt. Whiteface, the ledges on the Blueberry Ledge Trail will require some technical skills when icy, and crampons and snowshoes will be required equipment in season. And, as always, prepare yourself for changing weather.
Former camps along the ridge of Mt. Whiteface have been removed, and camping at the higher elevations is discouraged. Camp Rich on the Dicey's Mill Trail at 3500 feet on Mt. Passaconaway, .2 miles from the Rollins trail intersection, has been removed, but the latrine reportedly is still present (per AMC Guidebook), and there is a nice flat spot for a tent with plenty of nearby water. Nice spots for camping are evident along the Wonalancet River. Check with the White Mountain National Forest officials for the latest on Forest Protection Areas.
Current conditions are available from the Mt. Washington Observatory. Check the Higher Summits Forecast.
Current New Hampshire Trail Conditions: Views From The Top.
Numerous White Mountain resources: Appalachian Mountain Club