A Hike Up Tin Mountain – Jackson, NH

Nice view of Mount Washington from Mine Trail on Tin Mountain.
Nice view of Mount Washington from Mine Trail on Tin Mountain.

Amy Patenaude

by Amy Patenaude
Outdoor/Ski Writer

My friends invited me to play golf with them at the Eagle Mountain House in Jackson, New Hampshire. The sun was shining and we were really happy that the weatherman blew the forecast. In fact we almost didn’t

Interesting pit in the rock along the Mine Trail on Tin Mountain.
Interesting pit in the rock along the Mine Trail on Tin Mountain.

play at all because we had not made a tee time. But Kathy called the golf course at 8 am and since nearly everyone else believed the weatherman’s call for rain there were early tee times open.
The Eagle Mountain House and Golf Club is perched on top of a hill on Carter Notch Road not far from the center of the village. Carter Notch Road is scenic and on your way to the course you’ll pass by the Jackson Falls. You can see the cascading water right from your car but take the time to stop and enjoy it.
The Eagle Mountain House’s golf course’s nine holes wind around the Wildcat River and has stunning mountain views of the twin peaks of Mount Doublehead, Thorn Mountain, Tin Mountain and north up Carter Notch. I’ve never hiked Tin Mountain and I decided if the sky was still blue when we finished golfing that I would hike it.
The golf was fun. I only lost one ball, Thom lost more than one and Kathy had the most pars! They went off to a concert at a local brewery and I went to hike Tin Mountain.

The Mine Trail that begins from the end of Rockwell Road from Tin Mountain Road will take you past this adit (entrance to an underground mine) and several pits.
The Mine Trail that begins from the end of Rockwell Road from Tin Mountain Road will take you past this adit (entrance to an underground mine) and several pits.

The Tin Mountain Conservation Center’s Tin Mountain Field Station is just off of Tin Mine Road. There is a sign for the parking area on the left near the beginning of Rockwell Road. Using my cell phone I easily downloaded a trail map from their website. I am glad I did because I learned that this was the site of the first known tin mines in North America.
Tin is an element metal that long ago was as valuable as silver. Tin is used for making bronze, pewter and is probably well remembered for coating steel to make tin cans.

Surrounded by the beauty of mountains, everyone leaves the course smiling after playing golf at the Eagle Mountain House Golf Club--view of Tin Mountain as seen from near the course’s final green.
Surrounded by the beauty of mountains, everyone leaves the course smiling after playing golf at the Eagle Mountain House Golf Club–view of Tin Mountain as seen from near the course’s final green.

I went up Rockwell Road and when I reached the Rockwell House I turned around and gazed west at a wonderful view of Stairs Mountain. Tin Mountain Conservation Center’s founder Barbara Rockwell Henry and her husband David Henry lived in the family home on the property until 1991. The TMCC was founded in 1980 with programs for Jackson and Bartlett school students. For more information about the TMCC visit TinMountain.org or visit their Learning Center in Albany, NH.
The road ended at the Rockwell house and I followed the trail where a small orange arrow marked Mine pointed left into the woods. The next thing I knew the trail was crossing some tailings and I looked to my right and I saw the Adit—the big hole that is the entrance to an underground mine. Armed with my cellphone flashlight I dared take a few steps inside. The mine is clean and interesting and probably safe since they left it open to explore but I only took three steps before chickening-out but it was fun.
I continued up the trail a few minutes and next to a large boulder trees have been cut to create an open view to Mount Washington. The mountain’s snow fields were still sporting bright white patches of snow.
Just before the intersection of the Summit Loop Trail I noticed on my left some square-ish holes cut into the rock in the ground—more remnants of mining on Tin Mountain.

Summit cairn on Tin Mountain.
Summit cairn on Tin Mountain.

I went right, counter clockwise, on the summit loop intersection and further up the trail I noticed more tailings on the hillside. I did a little bushwhacking off the trail to see if I could find more mines but I didn’t discover anything but piles of rocks.
The trail’s footbed was nice and soft and in many places it was covered with spruce needles. The trail gets steeper as it nears the summit. At the top there is a large open ledge area with grand mountain views and the high point is marked with a small rock cairn.
I continued over the summit and down the North Hampshire Ridge. This was the steepest part of the trail but descending was fine since the trail is in excellent condition. I followed the section of the Mine Trail back to the Grand Junction and then back to the big mountain views from the Rockwell House.
The Tin Mountain Field Station’s 228 acres include the summit of Tin Mountain, the mines, forests, fields and ponds. There is a nice variety of hikes on the shorter side to ponds and an old cellar hole on the property too.
Have Fun.

Amy Patenaude is an avid skier/outdoor enthusiast from Henniker, N.H. Readers are welcome to send comments or suggestions to her at: amy@weirs.com.