With the light snowpack presently, if you have the correct footwear, some type of spiked attachment for your boots, then hiking is still plentiful throughout the Greater Sunapee Region. There are not a ton of use opportunities for snowshoes at the moment unless you just need to utilize the crampons for ice traction. The conditions leave excellent opportunities to hit up some of those prime view spots in February. One of the interesting things about winter hiking for me is the differences in the canopy, how far you can see through the forest without leaves on the trees. This, along with the snow has a tendency to make the wildlife more visible, or at least seem more present with all the tracks. A really great hike is on 103A in Newbury, just across the street from the Fells, with a second parking area, and trail to the top, on Chalk Pond Rd.
(excerpt from Hiking and Snowshoeing the Greater Sunapee Region)
Sunset Hill- Newbury NH
*Pet Friendly - usually dry - mostly under canopy - 1.8 miles each way - intermediate walk - 2 hours
*Across from the Fells Main Gate, NH Route 103A in Newbury, NH
*Easy sloping 2 hour walk
*Intermediate snowshoe hike
There is a nice view of the south end of Lake Sunapee and a historical cellar hole on the hike up. It’s part of the Society for the Protection of NH Forests (SPNHF) John Hay Forest Reservation.The trail follows the route used by John Hay, private secretary of Abraham Lincoln, and Secretary of State under Mckinley, to bring his family and visitors to the breezy and then unforested hilltop that overlooked Lake Sunapee. This is a frequented picnic spot as seen in photographs on display at The Fells, the protected estate and grounds of Mr. Hay. Another popular access to Sunset Hill is on Chalk Pond Road, a short distance north on NH-103A. Interestingly, the viewspot, south to Blye Hill and Newbury Harbor along the ridgetop, was once all unforested sheep farm.
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