Saturday, July 31, 2010
Big Crow Mtn and Roaring Brook Falls: 07/31/2010
Looking to capitalize on our hiking success with our two young kids at Castle Rock two weeks ago, we combined an exploration of Roaring Brook Falls with a short hike up Big Crow Mountain.
Roaring Brook Falls is the prominent waterfall located on the east side of Route 73, just below Chapel Pond. It is a three-tier waterfall almost 300 feet high. A level trail leads from the parking area approximately three quarters of a mile to the base of the falls.
Some rock hopping and boulder scrambling leads from the end of the maintained trail to the bottom of the falls. From the base, only the lower tier of the falls is visible, but the rush of water down the steep chasm-like fissure in the rock is impressive, even at the relatively low water level of mid-summer.
The cool, moist environment at the base and the interesting mini-falls provide fun exploration for kids and parents alike. I knew it would be tough tearing our kids away from the water, but after a short streamside lunch break we headed back to the car for the short drive to the trailhead for Big Crow Mountain, just outside of Keene.
Big Crow Mountain is a small, 3,000 foot peak with impressive views of the High Peaks. The trailhead is located about three miles and 500 vertical feet up East Hill Road above the town of Keene. The trail climbs another 600 vertical feet in just under a mile to the rocky, open summit.
As the trail nears the summit, views open up towards the High Peaks through the trees. The final couple hundred yards cross rock slabs and blueberry meadows and expansive views open up quickly. The summit area has several open areas that are worth exploring.
From the summit, it's said that 28 of the High Peaks are visible. I didn't count, but we had fun pointing out and naming many of the peaks. The views wrap around from Hurricane and Giant in the east to the Dix Range, Great Range and Marcy to the south, Big Slide, Cascade and Porter and eventually Whiteface to the north. If you're familiar with the High Peaks, it should be easy to pick out Marcy in the photo above.
Our descent back to the car was quick and easy, but enough to tire the kids out so that they slept in the car the entire way back to Saratoga Springs, almost a 1.5 hour drive.
It is possible to combine the hike up Big Crow with a loop that includes Little Crow, Nundagao Ridge and Weston and Hurricane Mountains. This is a lightly used area with beautiful views of the High Peaks, unknown to many but a favorite of those who know.