Mt Pemigewasset (Indian Head)


• 4-star hike
• 4.6 mile loop (alternatives from 3.5 mi)
• Medium difficulty | Elevation gain 1,540 feet
• White Mountains | Lincoln NH
Google Map | KML | Directions


Sitting on the forehead of Indian Head, looking South.

Where some people see just a rock, New Hampshire folk see a whole lot more. A cliff becomes an old man in a mountain, a boulder becomes a bullfrog, or in this case a mountain peak becomes a native American in full head-dress. Although the hotel beneath offering views of the peak is still known as Indian Head Resort, today the mountain is more commonly known as Mount Pemigewasset. Often overlooked in favor of larger peaks and the wildly popular Flume Gorge trail, the summit of Mount Pemigewasset offers excellent views and is well worth the hike.

We have detailed three different routes, and the description in this article focuses mainly on the loop trail:

• Mt Pemigewasset Loop (4.6 mi, 1540 ft) - We chose to get the most out of this mountain by combining the two trails into a single counter-clockwise loop by including a snowmobile trail that connects the trailheads together at the bottom of the valley. Google Map | KML | Directions

• Mount Pemigewasset Trail (3.7 mi, 1250 ft) - An out-and-back journey commencing at either the Flume Gorge Visitor Center or the Liberty Springs Parking Lot. This is the easiest route, but doesn’t give you the profile view of the Indian Head. Google Map | KML | Directions

• Indian Head Trail (3.5 mi, 1525 ft) - An out-and-back route beginning at a trailhead close to the Indian Head Resort hotel. This is a slightly more rocky trail and you can see the profile of the mountain from hotel and nearby road. Google Map | KML | Directions


Crossing a stream on the way up Pemigewasset Trail.

Beginning at the huge Flume Gorge parking lot we located the start of the Pemigewasset Trail and followed it as it crosses under three road grades before beginning the twelve hundred foot climb to the summit. You’ll pass over a couple easily navigable streams and take an occasional switchback, but the hike really doesn’t feel that steep.

Great southerly views are to be found at a viewpoint close to the top, and more Easterly views of Mount Liberty and the Flume Gorge are available at the summit itself.

Returning on the Indian Head Trail we immediately came upon a minor rock scramble which was fairly easy to traverse, but we had a little more trouble in waterlogged areas of trail because of recent rainfall. About half the way down the mountain the water diverts into the nearby Hanson Brook which grows in size as you descend.

Close to the end of the Indian Head Trail, we left the path and crossed over to the Indian Head Resort roads, then picked up the wide and easy snowmobile trail that led us back to our starting point.


Sometimes I miss my old telephoto lens. The Indian Head profile is up there somewhere.


Google Map | KML | Directions

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