Mount Pierce was named for Franklin Pierce (the only president born in New Hampshire) in 1913. The new name was not universally accepted and the mountain's former name, Mount Clinton, is reflected in the road to the north (Mount Clinton Road) and the trail to the south (Mount Clinton Trail). The summit of Mount Pierce is above the treeline and nice views of the surrounding mountains and valleys are available to the east. The top is flat, rocky and mostly bare. High winds should be expected in the winter.
Getting There & Routes Overview
Historic Crawford Path
Mount Pierce is located in the White Mountain National Forest. More precisely, this mountain lies at about the midpoint of the southern Presidential Range, northeast of Crawford Notch State Park on Route 302 and southwest of Mount Washington.
The simplest route, which is accessible year-round, is the Crawford Path, which leaves Route 302 at the AMC Crawford Hostel (where there is ample parking - please use the designated hikers' lot, not the hostel lot). Simply follow the Crawford path for a gradual eastward climb. At about 3,500 feet elevation, bear left to avoid the Mizpah cut-off which takes you to the Mizpah hut and Nauman tentsite (you could also go that way and turn north from there, but it's longer and more difficult). When you reach the top of the ridge (and treeline), turn right and climb a matter of yards to the summit. See the Route page for more details.
The Webster Cliff Trail (Appalachian Trail) which involves first climbing Mount Jackson and then turning north. This trail can be reached either via the Webster-Jackson Trail (which leaves 302 just south of the Crawford Hostel) or where it crosses 302 nearly four miles south of Crawford Hostel.
Gibbs Falls, along Crawford Path on the lower slopes of Mount Pierce
Unsurprising restrictions on fire, camping, litter, etc.
When To Climb
Mount Pierce can be climbed year-round. Original page submitter Jerry L & friends climbed the mountain on January 11, 2003. There was about 3' of snow on the ground and the temperature was approximately 0 degrees Fahrenheit. This, combined with 35 to 40 mile per hour winds made the climb extremely difficult. Snow shoes were required as well as significant cold weather gear.
Pierce in winter
Huts & Camping
Mizpah Spring Hut
The Mizpah Spring Hut (A.M.C.) is approximately one (1) mile south of Mount Pierce. Open from mid-May to mid-October, reservations required.
The Nauman Campsite is located by the hut. Notification is requested for larger groups.
Backcountry camping is allowed (subject to restrictions below), though it can be difficult to find a suitable campsite.
Unless otherwise posted, you may camp:
Below treeline (where trees are 8 feet or taller).
exception: you may camp above treeline on top of at least two feet of snow (but not on the eastern half of Mt Washington, and not over frozen water)
At least 200 feet from the trail and water sources.
At least a quarter of a mile from any road or facility (ie,
campsite, platform, shelter, hut).
Additional rule within the Dry River Wilderness:
Maximum group size 10 people.
No camping within Crawford Notch State Park (except at Dry River Campground).
The USFS supposedly publishes an annual "Backcountry Camping Rules" brochure, you might try asking a ranger where to get a copy.
Mountain Conditions & Weather
Mt Pierce is almost entirely below treeline, so the hike is much more sheltered than a Mt Washington climb would be. (Mt Pierce is also about 2000 feet lower.)
Still, it's a good idea to check the Mt Washington Forecast before heading up. Note that, in sharp contrast to Mt Washington's ravines, avalanche danger on Mt Pierce is always just about nil.