It’s amazing the images we see in ordinary things, such as clouds, or mountains. Our eyes can trick our minds into thinking we see something that might not actually be there. The White Mountains are known for their granite rock faces and stone features, some that are quite famous, and some you may have never heard of. While there are more of them than we can begin to mention, here is a list of 5 impressive rock features you’ll want to check out. Which one is your favorite?
The Indian Head-Lincoln
This rock profile is also known as Mount Pemigewasset, named after Chief Pemigewasset of the Pemigewasset tribe. Impressive views of this rock face can be seen from the Indian Head Resort parking lot on Route 3. To access the trailhead, take Exit 34A off of I-93 and park in north parking lot at the Flume Gorge’s Visitor’s Center. The hike itself is about 3 miles round-trip and is a great family hike. From the summit, you will experience truly breathtaking views of the White Mountains, including Mt. Lafayette, Haystack, and Liberty.
Elephant’s Head-Crawford Notch
If you look down the road while driving past the AMC Highland Center in scenic Crawford Notch, you might see what appears to be the ears and trunk of an elephant on this mountainside. Parking for the Webster-Jackson trailhead can be found at the AMC Highland Center on the side of Route 302 East. The trail itself is only 0.6 miles round-trip, but there are a couple of steep sections. The top of the Elephant’s Head offers lovely views of Crawford Notch. For those wanting to continue the hike, there is also a loop trail around Saco Lake, which is located at the base of the Elephant’s Head. This one-mile trail is mostly flat and a good option for smaller children, or people who don’t want to make the climb to the top of the Elephant’s Head.
Boise Rock-Franconia Notch
Boise Rock is a large glacial boulder in Franconia Notch with quite the history. Folklore tells us that in the early 1800's, a local teamster by the name of Thomas Boise was riding through the Notch when he struck a massive snowstorm. He was unable to continue his ride home, and had to seek shelter for the night. He came upon a large boulder (Boise Rock), and made camp for the night underneath it. He was able to survive the night after killing his horse and wrapping its hide around himself. The next morning, a rescue party who came to find Mr. Boise, cut the frozen hide away and home he went. Boise Rock, along with an informative sign can be found heading North through Franconia Notch.
Pulpit Rock-Carter Notch
Located on the east side of Carter Dome, this large boulder juts out over Carter Notch and is reminiscent of a pulpit. To get a close up and personal view of this boulder, you do have to hike a part of Carter Dome, which is one of the 48 4,000 footers in the White Mountains. About ½ mile up the Nineteen Brook Trail, there is a side-path the leads to a viewing ledge and not only will you find beautiful views of Wildcat Mountain and the Carter Notch Hut, but if you look to your left you will be met with the imposing Pulpit Rock.
The Old Lady of the Mountains or The Watcher-Franconia Notch
This small rock profile is an outcropping of Eagle Cliff which is on the shoulder of Mt. Lafayette. She faces east with a bend-head, as if watching for visitors coming into Franconia Notch. The best viewing is in a small clearing on the south end of Profile Lake.
While the Old Man of the Mountain fell on May 3, 2003, his profile still lives on as New Hampshire’s state symbol. There are still several viewing area within Franconia Notch as well as the Old Man of the Mountain Profile Plaza where you can take a walk down to Profile Lake and view the Old Man as he once was through a series of iron pillars.