Trip ReportRoute Details
4.1 miles to summit via Champney Falls Trail including the Champney Falls Loop.
Elevation gain of 2500 feet / 762 meters.
Trailhead is located at the Champney Falls parking lot off the Kancamangus Highway/Rt. 112 (10 miles from the junction with Rt. 16).
10-20mph winds on summit
Icy trail covered in 6-12" light powder below treeline, ice and exposed rock above.
We used ice axes, crampons and double boots.
Snow shoes and trekking poles would have worked, too,
Leaving the parking lot, we crossed the icy Twin Brook footbridge and continued up the very easy Champney Falls trail. After about one mile we put on our crampons to gain better traction on the ice-covered trail.
At 1.4 miles we followed the Champney Falls cut-off down to the beautiful Champney Falls. Although quite a lot of ice had formed, the water was still flowing cold over the rocks.
Leaving the falls we continued up the loop trail where it re-joined the Champney Falls trail. Within a mile the trail began to switch back and forth up to the ridge connecting Middle Sister to the north and Chocorua to the south.
Further along the ridge the Champney Falls Trail joins the Piper Trail and ascends towards the summit. Above treeline it was difficult to follow the trail as there were no visible cairns. We climbed up and over the top of the first set of ledges and across the saddle to the base of the true summit.
After some routefinding, we located the trail on the west (right) side of the summit wedged between the treeline and the first granite blocks. We followed this trail slightly downhill until reaching a granite slab leading directly to the summit.
The summit offered beautiful, 360 degree views of the Presidentials to the north and the Lakes Region to the south. The wind was a steady 10-20mph and the temps were in the 20's (F). After a few photos on the top we scrambled down the ledges back into the trees, enjoyed a quick lunch and then descended the same route to the trailhead.
Overall Chocorua proved to be a moderate hike with spectacular views.
$3/day pass for accessing the park, self-paid at the trailhead parking lot.