Pats Peak and Craney Hill


• 4-star hike
• 3.1 mile out-and-back
• Easy difficulty | Elevation gain 850 feet
• Merrimack | Henniker NH
Google Map | KML | Directions


Craney Hill Fire Tower.

A hike up the tower road from Pats Peak winter ski resort is a rewarding journey. Mainly for the typically famed New Hampshire undulating forest and mountain views, which improve as you ascend the trail, but also as a relief from the rocky trails which are commonplace in this neck of the woods.

A moderate one mile climb of 680 feet will take you to the top of Pats Peak, a wide rounded summit furnished with huts and chairlift dispatches. You’ll find most of the best views up here.

Continue South, finding another service road which will lead you to the top of the Blizzard Chairlift just below the summit of Craney Hill. From here you’ll spot a narrow trail through the trees that lead you to the peak and to the preserved fire tower.


Easy service road route up to the Pats Peak summit.

A fire tower has stood on Craney Hill since 1912, and the current version is now protected and maintained by the town of Henniker after it was closed by the state in 1981. Unfortunately the entire structure is closed off to pedestrians, but it is usually opened to the public for a couple of weekends each year during peak fall foliage season.

Craney Hill fire tower is one of around 27 standing fire towers in NH. The state has a Fire Tower Quest Patch and program available, but this fire tower is not part of the 15 included on its list. See Trailspotting's Fire Tower List for a map of all standing New Hampshire fire towers and links to fire towers that we've visited.

We've listed this trail as easy difficulty, with the caveat that there is 850 feet of elevation gain. Also note that this trail is not available when Pats Peak is operational, during which time there are free snowshoe trails and an alternative uphill route available requiring a paid pass from the resort.


Views from Pats Peak summit.


Closed to the public, except for a couple of October weekends.


Google Map | KML | Directions

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• AllTrails: Pats Peak | Craney Hill
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