Hiking West Rattlesnake Mountain via Old Bridle Path, Holderness, NH

Addie and Ava hiking West Rattlesnake Mountain in Holderness, NHLocation: West Rattlesnake Mountain, Holderness, NH
Date: October 14, 2013
Distance: 3.11 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 351 feet
Our Hiking Time: 2 hours, 28 minutes round trip
Trail Blaze: Yellow Rectangles
Difficulty: Easy

Trail Map

View of Squam Lake from West Rattlesnake Mountain in Holderness, NHThis is my third year running the Outdoor Adventures Club at the high school where I teach. (I actually started the club three years ago as a way to fill the void left by no longer coaching the rowing team.) Though it is one of the more popular clubs at school, I have found it difficult to get faculty members to join us on our excursions. Here and there people have come on an adventure, but never with consistency or in large numbers. I am a big believer in fostering relationships with your students outside of the classroom, so I was thrilled when several faculty members (and their kids!) joined us for our first excursion of the year. We decided to start the season with an easy hike, as a lot of new inexperienced members joined the club. West Rattlesnake Mountain fit the bill, as it is a short hike with incredible summit views of Squam Lake.

Today was a perfect day for hiking – cool weather in the 60’s, sunny skies, and no wind. Most of my students can’t afford expensive outdoor gear, so our partnership with the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Youth Opportunities Program bridges the gap for them by providing access to great gear such as hiking boots, wool socks, polypro layers and fleece. After passing out the gear at school, we boarded the school bus and headed north to Holderness, NH. Once there, we reviewed hiking safety and etiquette, and of course how to pee and poop in the woods. The kids giggled quite a bit during my demonstration. We split into three groups so as not to crowd the trail, though despite passing many people as we hiked, it never felt congested.

Addie and I (with Kate in the ergo carrier) hiked up the mountain with several of the Iraqi refugee students who have come to our school over the last few years. They taught her how to say hello in Arabic, held her hand as she trekked over tree stumps and rocks, and carried her backpack when she got tired. I love these kids – all of whom experienced the horrors of war in their homeland, yet possess incredible resilience. They are truly some of the kindest, most generous people I have ever met.

Addie and Rafal hiking West Rattlesnake Mountain in Holderness, NH

Addie with one of my Iraqi refugee students.

Arriving at the top of the mountain, we came upon the amazing view of Squam Lake below. It was even better than I had imagined. The sun sparkled off of the water, which was dotted by several little islands. We hung out on the rock face for at least 30 minutes, eating lunch and taking in the fall foliage. Addie had a great time hanging out with my friend (and colleague) Gretchen’s kids – Cole, Tyler, and Ava.

Panoramic view of Squam Lake from West Rattlesnake Mountain in Holderness, NH

Panoramic view of Squam Lake from West Rattlesnake Mountain in Holderness, NH

Me, Addie and Kate at the summit of West Rattlesnake Mountain in Holderness, NH

Me, Addie and Kate at the summit of West Rattlesnake Mountain

Members of the Outdoor Adventures Club at the summit of West Rattlesnake Mountain in Holderness, NH

Members of the Outdoor Adventures Club at the summit of West Rattlesnake Mountain

View of Squam Lake from West Rattlesnake Mountain in Holderness, NH

View of Squam Lake from West Rattlesnake Mountain

Ava, Cole, Addie and Ty celebrate making it to the top of West Rattlesnake Mountain in Holderness, NH

Ava, Cole, Addie and Ty celebrate making it to the top of West Rattlesnake Mountain.

On the way back down the mountain, Addie had a blast exploring with Cole, Tyler, and Ava. She also pooped in the woods for the first time! I taught her how to pick a good place, use a trowel to dig a hole, and leave no trace. It was a great learning experience and she was very proud of herself. I am proud of her too – she’s becoming a great hiker and experienced outdoors girl.

Ava, Cole, Addie and Ty exploring the trail on West Rattlesnake Mountain in Holderness, NH

Ava, Cole, Addie and Ty exploring the trail

Trail marker for Old Bridle Path on West Rattlesnake Mountain in Holderness, NH

Trail marker for Old Bridle Path

Fall Foliage on West Rattlesnake Mountain in Holderness, NH

Fall Foliage!

Addie proud at the end of her hike on West Rattlesnake Mountain in Holderness, NH

Addie proud at the end of her hike

This was a really fun hike – great for little kids and teens alike! Though it was a bit of a drive for us, the views of Squam Lake and the fall foliage made the bumpy bus ride worth it.

Directions to the trailhead:

GPS Coordinates: 43.790428,-71.549076

From I-93N: Take exit 24 for US-3/NH-25 towardAshland/Holderness. Turn right onto NH-25 E/US-3 S/Daniel Webster Hwy/Main St. Continue to follow NH-25 E/US-3 S/Daniel Webster Hwy for 4.4 miles. Turn left onto NH-113/Squam Lake Rd. In 5.5 miles, the parking lot will be on your right.

From I-93S: Take exit 25 toward Plymouth State University/Holderness School. Turn left onto NH-175A E/State Hwy 175A E. Continue onto NH-175 S. In 4.7 miles, turn left onto NH-25 E/US-3 S/Daniel Webster Hwy. In 1.1 miles, turn left onto NH-113/Squam Lake Rd. In 5.5 miles, the parking lot will be on your right.

About Jen

Outdoor adventurer and traveler. Writer, Photographer & Communications Professor. Wife. Mom of twins plus one. Tubbs Snowshoes Ambassador. Blogger at gayfamilytrips.com.

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