The shortest 4,000-footer in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, Mount Waumbek is a moderate hike that goes up over the shorter Starr King Mountain and across a wooded ridge to Mount Waumbek. There are 2 excellent viewpoints looking South to Mount Washington and other Presidentials. Most of the trail passes through a lush forest of moss full of ferns and a small pine forest.
We hiked this with a friend who is almost done hiking all of New Hampshire’s 4,000-footers and we saw 2 hikers who had saved this as their final mountain and were finishing their list of 48, 4,000-footers. This was also our puppy’s first 4,000-footer, and even though we carried her most of the way she had so much fun on the trail. This is a good hike for kids and dogs.
Quick Look at Hiking Mount Waumbek
Distance: 7.2 Miles Elevation Gain: 2,700 feet Difficulty: Moderate
The hike starts in a small parking lot right near Jefferson, NH. The parking lot does fill up so try to arrive early. You can see more details on parking if you scroll down. From the trailhead parking lot, the hike is very straightforward with no alternate trails. It ascends at a steady grade up to Starr King. There is no view right at this summit, but a short walk past the summit, there is an excellent viewpoint.
From here it is a 1-mile walk across a wooded ridge to the summit of Waumbek and another viewpoint just past the summit. The trail is typical of NH with rocks and mud patches but is never very steep or challenging.
How to get to the Starr King/Mount Waumbek Parking Lot
The parking lot for the trail to Mount Waumbek is relatively small. We arrived on a Sunday in late September at 9:30 and we got the last parking spot. Once the lot is full, you won’t be able to park on the road leading to the parking lot. There are some folks who’ve had luck parking in nearby lots in the town of Jefferson.
For those traveling from the South, this hike is a bit further away, but for that reason, it was far less crowded than many of the hikes further to the south. Since we were there on Sept 25, we were excited to see some of the fall foliage. The hike itself had limited foliage, but the roads driving to the trailhead were beautiful.
Details of Hiking Mount Waumbek
Once you leave the trailhead, the hike is very straightforward and there are no trails that might cause you to get lost. For the first mile, the trail follows a small stream although at a distance and there are several very small streams that cross the path. The path itself can get quite muddy, and you can get an update on the current conditions by reading the recent reviews on All Trails.
The trail ascends slowly and steadily for the first 2.6 miles to the summit of Starr King Mountain. The summit is completely wooded with no view, but just a very short walk past this, you come to a large wide open clearing with views out across to the south. The summit of Washington is clearly visible and was freshly covered in snow during our hike. You’ll know you’re in the clearing when you see a fireplace standing to the side of the opening.
The trail to Waumbek continues just beyond the fireplace and is mostly flat with a few minor ups and downs. The trail follows a ridge without many views but through a very pretty forest. The summit of Waumbek, is wooden and unexciting, but just past the top, there is a viewpoint. This opening is smaller than the one on Starr King, but there is space to take a photo.
Once you’ve taken in the view, you can turn around and head back the way you came. We did the hike with a group of 7 and a puppy. The entire hike took us about 6 hours since we carried the puppy and took our kids with a nice long lunch break. You could easily hike the trail faster as the trail is very straightforward.
Questions about Hiking to Waumbek and in the White Mountains
When is the Best Time of Year to Hike Mount Waumbek?
The best time of year to hike in the White Mountains is during the warm months after mud season and black fly season in June-Oct. The White Mountains are also a great place to hike during the winter but make sure you are prepared for the conditions and pack for winter hiking. You should also plan to bring a good pair of microspikes.
Is it Worth Hiking Mount Waumbek
Mount Waumbek is a great hike if you are looking for an easy 4,000-footer. There is nothing very challenging or technical and you have a good view. It is not one of the best hikes in the White Mountains, but is dog and kids friendly. Dogs are allowed on the trail as long as they are leashed.