Trail Name: Mt. Rowe Trail
Trail Description: Sue Leitch ________________________________________________________________________________________
Mt. Rowe Trail – Description
The Mt. Rowe trail (blazed blue) starts at the southeast corner of the Gilford Elementary School parking lot where you will find a kiosk and map of the area trails. Proceed over the wooden walkway across the wetlands and a brook and ascend the slope following the blue blazes. The path is initially wide and fairly steep, then becomes more gradual. On the left look for signs of the sugaring operation (taps on trees) that was in operation 40 years ago. Continue for 0.33 mi.to the signed intersection with the Benjamin Weeks Trail (purple) which leaves to the right. The Mt Rowe Trail (blue) continues bearing left.
Traveling through mostly deciduous trees, the trail comes to a “T” at .58 mi., an intersection with an old logging road. Turn right (south) and continue over a mostly level trail. After descending and crossing a small brook you’ll notice the “OLD” yellow trail on your left. (The yellow trail also ascends to Mt. Rowe summit, however, portions of the trail are very steep and dangerous when slippery or in snow or ice). As you continue along the relatively flat Mt. Rowe Trail large bare ledges which traverse the whole side of the Mt. Rowe are visible to the left (east), especially if trees are bare.
In a few minutes you will see on the left (east), the cellar hole of the Benjamin Weeks, Esq. Mountain House (c. 1793). A sign on a post describes the generations of Weeks that owned this land. Continue on the blue trail another 30 yds.and turn left (east) merging with the purple-blazed Benjamin Weeks Trail at 0.8 mi.
Stay on this merged trail for another 0.1 mi. to a junction where the Mt Rowe Trail (blue) departs left (northeast) and leaves the purple-blazed Benjamin Weeks Trail which departs to the right (southeast). After an initial steep section, the blue-blazed Mt. Rowe Trail has a series of switchbacks (denoted by double blazes, the higher blaze denoting the direction the trail turns). As you proceed up the mountain after the switchbacks notice the increase in white pine and birch trees and, in clearings, low-bush blueberries which were once prevalent on this mountain and were picked commercially. When this operation stopped, the trees reclaimed the land and now, only at the top where there is enough sunlight, can you find blueberries in abundance during the summer.
The Mt. Rowe Trail bears right at 1.2 mi. (if you go straight you’ll end up on the yellow trail). Walk another 20 yds. and bear right again. Continue for another 0.15 mi. (1.35 mi total) and you’ll be treated to an opening with a nice view looking south west to Laconia, Lake Winnisquam, Steele Hill as well as and other mountain peaks in the distance, including Mt. Kearsarge, Ragged Mt. and even Mt. Monadnock on a clear day. There are two picnic tables. Great place for a snack!
As you leave the tables you’ll enter a pine forest which leaves a soft bed of needles on the path. Keep going up the Mt. Rowe Trail. In 5 minutes to the right of the trail there is a pine tree with a distinctive curved limb (great photo op). After another 5 minutes you’ll get your first glimpse of the northwest side of Gunstock Mt. A few minutes later you leave the forest and walk atop the ledge. Descend the ledge on the right (northeast) side and proceed to the blue blaze on a tree ahead. Take the 2nd left and continue to follow the blue blazes.
Just ahead is the junction with the Ridge Trail (blazed white). If you go left on the Ridge trail you will reach the summit of Mt. Rowe summit in 0.2 mi.
Distance: 1.83 mi. (2.9 km) elevation gain 1100 ft. 1hr. 20min.