Foss Mountain is a local gem, one of those special places you either know or don’t know. Bald Peak, located in Eaton, New Hampshire, 3 miles west of the Maine state line, is accessible by a winding half-mile path. Protected by the Eaton Conservation Commission, the 1,654-foot open summit of granite outcroppings and lowbush blueberries offers one of the finest vistas for effort anywhere in New England.
Take the 20-minute hike, then sit back to admire the magnificent views that stretch from the New Hampshire side, from the Ossipee Mountains to the Franconia Range, Mount Washington and more. Beyond the Maine state line, you can see from the Mahoosuc Range to Speckled Mountain to Pleasant Mountain, to name a few. The amount of public and private conservation land and miles of hiking trails within sight of your aerial perch is simply staggering.
Closer to the west are the ski slopes of King Pine, its idle ski lifts in summer greenery, and just to the south, hidden by a low ridge, are Purity Lake and Purity Spring Resort. Family-owned and operated by the Hoyts, the resort has been welcoming weary travelers for 111 years. This beautiful place offers a variety of cabins, cabins and rooms and is an excellent base camp for hiking and other outdoor activities in the border region.
The 1,300-acre Purity Spring Resort is built around Purity Lake, 100 acres of clear, clean mountain water so good it was once bottled and sold. Spend some time in this relaxed and friendly place and you will get a good idea of the resort’s theme: “Lake life as it should be”. There is a sandy beach for swimming and a good selection of kayaks, canoes and paddle boards available for exploring the surrounding area. There are also hiking and mountain biking trails.
Adjoining the resort is the Hoyt Wildlife Sanctuary, which encompasses about half of the southeast shore of the lake. The 135-acre preserve was donated by the Hoyt family to New Hampshire Audubon in the 1950s. A network of four trails leads through tall pine trees above a lakeside esker to a kettle pond , a beaver bog and the remains of the old Durgin Farm. It is a pleasant walk that can be savored over several hours.
The Purity Spring lodge serves up plenty of hearty food and drink, but if you’re there on a Thursday night you’ll want to partake in the big lobster cooked on the Isle of Purity, just up from the old dam, mill and from the source house. The festive event attracts hungry diners from near and far, many of whom wear Purity Spring’s traditional summer attire: tie-dye t-shirts.
There’s so much to see and do around these areas, so after Foss Mountain, of course, you’ll want to investigate the breathtaking Madison Boulder, the largest known glacial erratic in North America. This gargantuan boulder, accessible by an easy 3/4 mile walk, is 23 feet high, 85 feet long, and weighs nearly 6,000 tons. Walk around to get the full “wow” effect.
At the Tin Mountain Conservation Center in Albany, 6 miles of trails emanate from the Nature Learning Center. Stroll the 301 acres to see pretty Chase Pond, wetlands, cliffs and ledges, pine forests, a quarry, and a remarkable mountain laurel garden. The center has been dedicated to environmental education and land stewardship since its founding in 1980.
Green Mountain rises prominently from the Ossipee River valley in Effingham, just west of the Maine state line at Parsonsfield. The mountain is part of the 2,171-acre High Watch Preserve, owned by the New Hampshire Forest Protection Society. Hike the High Watch Trail to the 1,883-foot summit and one of only 15 remaining fire towers in Granite State.
In Pine Tree State, Peary Mountain offers views from Mount Washington to Pleasant Mountain, while the rocky ridge of Burnt Meadow Mountain overlooks the Saco River Valley. both peaks are at Brownfield. Tackle Bald Ledge in Porter for fabulous cliffside views of Colcord Pond and the Ossipee River Valley.
If camping is more your thing on your frontier adventure, Purity Spring also runs Danforth Bay RV Resort in nearby Freedom, with all campground amenities plus a large pool and lakeside beach.
Mount Desert Island’s Carey Kish is an award-winning member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. His latest book, Beer Hiking New England, will be available early next spring. Follow Carey’s adventures on Facebook and Instagram @careykish