I had a free day, so I took the opportunity to try the new Cannon Mittersill Trail on the north side of Cannon Mt. Since I’ve been to Cannon a “few” times, I was interested to try a new route. Steve Smith and John Compton both wrote blog reports on the new trail, which gave me a little information and inspiration.
This new trail is accessed by taking Mittersill Road from Rt. 18 in Franconia (exit 34C on I-93), and parking in Lot 1. The trail starts near the chairlift, with a sign to the left of the lift. This trail is not exactly new, but is made up of segments of ski trails and access roads, with no actual cut trail through the woods. For that reason, it is nice and wide the entire way, but if you’re looking for an “in the woods” experience, this might not be the trail for you.
The trail is well marked, at least for now, between the blazes on trees, blazes on rocks in the ground and small metal markers stuck into the ground. I’m not sure how this will work out once the snow flies, if this trail is intended to be used once it is covered in snow. I think it might be more of a challenge with snow coverage, because with fewer markers, you’d have to know where all the turns are on to the proper ski trails.
The actual hike up is pleasant with only a few moderate to steep sections, and some gravelly sections as to be expected since the trail is partly access roads. Higher up, some of the trail is damp and spongy, but that will probably go away over time as the trail is hardened. Due to the overnight temperatures, some of the wet, exposed rocks were a bit icy, and in the shade, the frost lingered on the plants. The trail passes over Mittersill Peak, which has a first aid cache, and from there you can see ahead to the summit area of Cannon with the tramway building and summit tower building. From here to the summit, there is less protection from the north and west winds, making the half mile or so very windy and exposed to the elements. The trail leads to the tramway building, and once there it is easy to take the gravel trails to the actual tower on the summit.
As far as views are concerned, the views on the ascent really don’t open up until you arrive at Mittersill, from there you will have nice views to Cannon, the Cannon Balls, the Kinsmans and Franconia Ridge. Almost the whole way down has great views, mostly to the north, east and west, toward Franconia, Sugar Hill and beyond.
It was an interesting morning and quick hike (about 5 miles round trip) to somewhere familiar, yet by a completely different route.