Table Rock Trail – May 12, 2023

Needing a midweek walk, I decided to head over to Dixville Notch last Wednesday, May 10th. I read that there were three trails at the state park. One of them, Table Rock Trail, looked like just the ticket- short and steep, with a view from the top. I wanted some exercise before this weekend’s adventure, but didn’t want to spend all day at it.

I arrived at Dixville Notch State Park a bit after noon. While there is a sign informing you that you’ve entered the park, there are no signs indicating where the trails are. Fortunately the directions in the All Trails app were accurate, and brought me to the small turnout of Rt. 26. Here is the trailhead parking lot. The actual trailhead is behind the Jeep- you may notice two old sign boards hanging off the trees. There is nothing there to indicate a trail.

I quickly checked the pack over, added a couple of water bottles and set out. As mentioned, this trail is a short one at only .8 miles each way. But in the short distance more than 750 feet is gained in elevation. That’s steep by any definition. 

The day was bright. It was warm, in the mid 60s, and there were gusty winds heading through the notch. The trail was mostly dry, with a couple of easily avoided muddy areas. There were a few black flies and mosquitoes about, but not enough to be a problem. I’m guessing the insect life will be full-on by this weekend, especially with the dry weather we’ve had over the last week. It’ll be time to break out the DEET and head nets then. Here are a few photos of the trail.

I came across a picturesque little trickle of water still cascading down the hill. It was a miniature cascade when viewed up close.

The condition of the trail was good, with no obstructions. It was not well marked, which wasn’t surprising given the setup at the trailhead. This trail has been designated as “50” by some authority, and there was only one marker halfway up the trail.

Once at the top of the ridge I came to the junction with the Mt. Gloriette and the Three Brothers Trails.  Off to the left is a short spur that leads to Table Rock. It goes down a bit before heading up to the open viewpoint.

The view from on top of the Rock was fabulous, dominated by The Balsams resort 800 feet below. The wind was much stronger topside, hampering the photographic efforts a bit. Here’s a short panorama video taking in the 180° view.

The Balsams Resort has always intrigued me. It’s like a smaller example of the Mt. Washington Hotel over in Crawford Notch, but with the bad luck of being on Route 26 rather than US Route 302, a much more developed and populated road. I don’t think The Balsams has been open for a very long time. The entry roads are gated with signage saying “Closed for Renovations”.

If it opens someday, I’d check it out.

After enjoying the views until the wind drove me down, I had a quick lunch in a calmer spot and then headed back down the trail. I met a couple of kids on their way up, drinking Red Bull as they climbed. It didn’t take long to reach the parking lot.

Before heading for home, I drove up through the notch to get a photo of Table Rock from the road.

The total distance for the walk was about 1.7 miles and took about 90 minutes, including lunch.

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