VIA SANDWICH MOUNTAIN AND DRAKES BROOK TRAILHEAD: From I-93 get off onto Route 49 toward Waterville Valley. Stay on Route 49 past the town of Campton and up through the gap between Sandwich Mountain and Welch and Dickey Mountain. Continue up the road eleven mile to the trailhead which is on the right, just before the town of Waterville Valley.
This loop hike involves ascending the Class 1-2 Sandwich Mountain Trail and decending the Class 1 Drakes Brook Trail.
Total Elevation Gain (Jennings Peak only): 2055'
Total Roundtrip Distance (Jennings Peak only): 6.5 miles
Start the loop hike by heading up the Sandwich Mountain Trail. The Class 1-2 trail begins at the Drakes Brook Trailhead. It decends at a gradual through a field with a power grid on the right before turning into the woods and descending towards Drakes Brook. Once across Drakes Brook the trail starts to ascend Noon Peak moderately. The trail becomes steeper and steeper, until it hits a Class 2 section where it becomes a scramble or poor footing on tree roots. (Note in 2001 this section was not as eroded and had better footing. It since has eroded). The route moderates and continues it climb to Noon Peak. As it become close to the summit of Noon Peak views start to open up Toward Sandwich Mountain and Jennings Peak. The trail then alternate between moderate and gradual grade and has one more small scramble until it reaches the summit of Noon Peak (1.7 miles).
From the top of Noon Peak, the stay most gradual to moderate until it runs into the Drakes Brook Trail at 2.7 mile and at 2.8 mile it runs into the Jennings Peak spur path. From there head up the Class 1 but steep Jennings Peak spur path to the summit.
When decending take the class 1 Drakes Brook Trail. The trail (0.1 mile on the Sandwich Mountain Trail will decend for the next 0.6 miles at a moderate to steeper grade. Once the trail approaches Drakes Brook it will then become very gradual with some small moderate pitch to the logging road/ ski trail. From there it will continue 0.4 mile to the trailhead.
In summer just essential hiking gear and lots of water. In winter though crampons and trekking poles are a defnite must. An ice axe isn't nessecary but can come to good use if the trail ices over.
Continueing to Sandwich Mountain
To continue to the summit of Sandwich Mountain add 2.2 miles more roundtrip and 600 feet elevation gain.
For more info on the Sandwich Mountain Trail and the Drakes Brook Trail click on these links.
Drakes Brook Trail
Sandwich Mountain Trail