Vista Trail

Trail Name: Vista Trail
Gilford, NH
Trail Description: Southern New Hampshire Trail Guide. 3rd Edition. 2010. Compiled and Edited by Gene Daniell and Steven D. Smith. Appalachian Mountain Club Books. Boston, MA.
The Vista Trail (blazed yellow), provides access to open ledges on the southeast ridge of Piper Mtn. Marked by a sign, “S. PIPER, SWETT,” it diverges to the east from the Piper-Whiteface Link near the south end of the Piper Mtn. summit ridge. It soon swings right and descends moderately over ledges and through patches of woods, with some views to the southwest. At 0.3 mi. it levels in a spruce grove, then emerges on an expansive area of open ledge with wide views south and east, where the blazes end. A line of cairns extending southeast down the ledges marks the continuation of the trail to the summit of Swett Mt., a lower spur along the ridge. From the southern summit of Piper Mt. The Vista trail continues to the summit of Swett Mt. featuring several open, ledgy spots which offer fine views of the local area. The trail descends begins with a steady descent of about 75 yards, and opens up for about 120 yards across exposed rocks marked with cairns and blazes. There is a small foot path to your right shortly after re-entering the trees. Next, the trail bears right and makes a steep descent down a rockfall for approximately 70 yards. This section of the trail should be approached with caution if it is wet or icy. After another 50 yards the trail turns left and uphill and follows the ridgeline. At approximately 0.3 mi. from the southern summit of Piper Mt., there is a large glacial erratic boulder deposited to your right. From there, the trail continues through open pine forest. At 0.5 mi. from the southern summit of Piper Mt, the trail crosses a well-kept stone wall and begins a very gradual ascent to the peak of Swett Mountain at 0.7 where the best cover can be found on windy days.

After leaves fall in autumn and before they bud in the spring there are good views to be found ~70 yards east of the Mt. Swett summit: to the northeast of Mt. Suncook, Mack and Anna, and to the south, of Sunset and Manning lakes. Those with knowledge of more distant mountains will recognize Mt. Kearsarge, Mt. Monadnock, the Uncanoonucs, Parker Mt, Blue Job Mt, and many others.
Distance from Whiteface- Piper Link (2,010 ft.) to:

  • ledges on southeast summit of Piper Mtn. (1,870 ft.): 0.4 mi. (0.6 km.), 0 ft. (rev. 150 ft.), 15 min.
  • to Swett Mt. summit (~1534’): 0.7 mi. (1.1 km.), -125 ft., 45 min.