If you want to feel like you are sixty miles north in the White Mountains, take the Oak Hill Trails (Click link for map) (Click here for map text). I started my blog saying Marjory Swope Park and Winant Park were jewels in the Concord trail system. Oak Hill Trails may be the crown jewel. I parked in the parking area and took the tower trail until I took a left onto the Dancing Bear Trail and out to the Swope Slope Vista.
From the Vista you can see Kearsarge, Ragged and Cardigan mountains. You will pass through some mountain spring pond areas just before and after the Vista. Continuing up the tower trail actually brings you into Loudon where the 980 foot peak is located, about a 500 foot elevation climb from the parking area.
The fire tower is used on high fire danger days, in fact about a month ago a fire off of Bog Road in Concord was called in from the tower. The fire was about 1000 feet behind my home and probably would have caused major damage to homes in the area if it had not been seen.
I took Ron’s Way trail to the Krupa Loop trail on the way down and on the Krupa loop is where I saw the Lady Slipper flowers. (The photo starting this blog post) These members of the orchid family are endangered and very rare. Please stay on the trail and enjoy them with photos only. I believe it is illegal to pick them, and they require a specific soil fungus to grow so transplanting them is also out of the question.
The hike to the fire tower is 2.25 miles, making the trip up and back about 4.5 miles and it took me about four hours. It is a challenging hike in my opinion and I would say bring water and food.