Off the Beaten Path: Mt. Hight

Off the Beaten Path is a series on summits and spots you might miss if you're just banging out 4000 footers. These spots are all well worth the trip off the beaten path.


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Mount Hight - 4675'


Mount Hight falls in the odds and ends collection of mountains that are 4000 feet or taller but are not counted towards the "Official 48 4000 footers" of the White Mountain National Forest. They are in there with Mt. Haystack, multiple Wildcat peaks, Northern Carter and a handful of others.

The reason they are not counted towards the AMC's official list of 48 4000-footers is because they lack "prominence", which can be interpreted literally and figuratively. 

Think of the two points of the letter "M" as mountains. That dip in the middle has to be at least 200 ft to count as a 4000 footer according to AMC 4k club guidelines. So Mt. Hight is too close to Carter Dome and South Carter to achieve enough prominence to be counted by the 4000 club. Often times uncounted mountains are the result of a larger peak in the same range that is close by.

Regardless of the designation, Mt. Hight is a beautiful mountain with one of my favorite views in the White Mountains. You can see 360 degrees towards the Presidential Range to the West, the Wildcats to the South, the rest of the Carter Range to the North and the Wild River Wilderness to the East.


 
The few looking North over the Carter Range. Author included.

The few looking North over the Carter Range. Author included.

 

My favorite route is to take the 19-Mile Brook Trail. don't worry you need not follow it for 19 miles. It is a peaceful trail that cuts in and out from a flowing river, lifting you high above the river at times and lowering you right to its bank at other times. You will be putting on some elevation, don't get me wrong, but for the most part you can enjoy the river bubbling by your side.

Next comes the Carter Dome Trail where things... pick up a little bit. For the first mile or so it is not too bad, but then the switch-backs come. Just think of it as your cardio for the day! There is also a number of nice backcountry camp sites along the way if you are looking for an overnight without too much mileage. With ample water access, Mt. Hight is a real winner for summer camp overnights for the older kids who are ready for it. The switch-backs can be rough but soon enough you'll be high above the river at the Zeta Pass and from there it is just 0.6 miles on the Carter-Moriah trail to the summit where you'll be rewarded with some serious views!