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03 December 2014

Hiking the Lone Oak Trail (near Village of Woodsville, NH)

There are exceptionally pleasant views from the ledges at the end of the Lone Oak Trail!  In early December 2014, I hiked this trail for the first time and was very favorably impressed.

The Lone Oak Trail is just a stone's throw from the village center of Woodsville, NH.  But technically speaking, it's located on the outskirts of Bath, NH at the southern end of Gardner Mountain's long ridgeline.  To provide a better idea as to this trail's course and whereabouts, my GPS track for this hike is superimposed on the map shown below.
Map showing location of Lone Oak Trail (click/tap on photo to enlarge)
The Lone Oak Trail was made possible through a land conservation arrangement involving the Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT) and the Lackie family who owns the land.  The family decided to permanently protect this trail to ensure that the public would always be able to venture out to enjoy the spectacular views and serenity from the ledges high above the river valley.  Trail maintenance is being done by UVLT staff and volunteers.

There is limited parking at the trailhead.  It would be a tight squeeze for two cars.  However, about 0.2 mile east of the trailhead on Abbott Avenue, there is a gravel pull off on the south side of the road where you can park (GPS coordinates: 44.1565580, -72.0293620).  If this parking option is needed, it would involve a short roadwalk along lightly-used Abbott Avenue, and would add 0.4 mile to the overall hike.

The Lone Oak Trail is only 0.8 mile (one way), but there is a demanding elevation gain of about 700 feet over that short distance.  The footway was in good shape when I did this hike.  Rocks and roots were not an issue.  The trail is very well blazed, but you need to be mindful of a few abrupt turns along the route.  If you stop seeing blue blazing, then you might have strayed off the trail, and should consider backtracking.

And so with no further ado, here are some snapshots taken on my hike.  As will become apparent in the captions, some of these photos were taken while doing bushwhack explorations.  But please be assured that there is no need to engage in this type of off-trail activity to enjoy this hike.  The ledges on the Lone Oak Trail provide views that are magnificent and sure to please!
Signage at trailhead on Abbott Avenue
Although most of the surrounding area had several inches of snow on the ground, the Lone Oak Trail was snow-free for the entire distance.  Being a south-facing trail probably accounts for this.
True to the Lone Oak Trail's namesake, there is indeed a lone oak at the end of the trail!
Southeasterly view from ledges at end of Lone Oak Trail.  Mt. Moosilauke is on horizon (just left of center) with Black Mountain in front.
Looking due south from ledges at end of Lone Oak Trail.  Village of Woodsville, NH is in foreground.
When venturing a few hundred feet northward off the trail's end, there was a partially obstructed seasonal view of the Franconia Range.  (Photo is zoomed, but the same features could be seen with the naked eye.)
And, by venturing even further northward (few tenths of a mile) from the trail's end, there was an even better view from an old logging road.  This vista stretches from the Twin Range (left) to the Kinsmans (right).
Mt. Moosilauke as viewed from an off-trail location a few tenths of a mile northward from the trail's end.
To sum it up, although this was my first trek along the Lone Oak Trail, chances are good it won't be my last!  It's a short and easy drive from my home, and will be ideal for those occasions when there is limited time available for hiking.