Smarts Mountain

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Smarts Mountain
Smarts Mountain 016 smaller.jpg
The view from the Smarts Mountain Firetower, July 2010
Drive 15 miles
Hike 7.6 miles
Difficulty Moderate

Smarts Mountain, at 3,240 feet, offers the closest taste of boreal forest in the Upper Valley. Standing alone and often buffeted by high winds, Smarts has a feel about it similar to the higher White Mountain peaks further north. With its open quartzite ledges on Lambert Ridge and old fire tower on the summit, Smarts affords plenty of interesting views across the surrounding countryside.

Driving Directions

For the Southern trailhead: Take Route 10 north from Hanover into Lyme. Coming around the green in Lyme, bear right at the white church and follow signs for the Dartmouth Skiway. Pass through Lyme Center 1.8 miles from the green in Lyme, and continue winding around for 1.3 more miles to where the wide gravel Lyme-Dorchester Road forks to the left. Take this fork for 1.8 miles until, just before the iron bridge over Grant Brook, a small parking lot is reached on the left. Orange signs mark the trailheads. Park here.

Hiking Directions

Take the white-blazed AT to the summit, not the older (and poorly maintained) ranger trail. Check out the fire tower, then return the way you came.

More Information

Dartmouth Outing Guide

Trip Reports


Group: Adam Burnett '18 (Leader), Joe Connolly '19 (Heeler), Laura Jeliazkov '18, Katrina Keating '20

Weather: Overcast, windy, with temps in 40s. Occasional drizzle.

Trip report: Our goal was to scout and repair damage caused by a recent storm with heavy rains and high winds. The handle of our ax broke on the first blowdown we started chopping, leaving us nothing but a bowsaw for clearing blowdowns. Fortunately, most of the blowdowns we encountered were clearable by hand or with only the bowsaw. Four big blowdowns were chainsaw jobs. We also dug out a drainage ditch to get a puddle off the trail, and saw a couple other wet areas. No other erosion problems were evident. We hiked up the Lambert Ridge Trail for about 2.2 miles before time made us turn around. The trail was covered with a thick carpet of oak leaves, but otherwise hiking conditions were good. No snow or ice yet, as far as we saw. Two Snow Buntings on the open ledges were an exciting sighting!

Time: Left campus at 8:45 and returned at 3:00. This includes quick stops at Oak Hill for the trailwork tools.


Leaders: Eliza Rockefeller '17 (Leader), Kenzie Clark '17 (Heeler)

Weather: Beautiful winter day with temperature in the 20s

Trail Conditions: Well packed trail at the bottom but deeper, unpacked snow at the top. We would recommend bringing snowshoes for any winter hike of Smarts. Also, there were several trees down along the trail.

Trip Report: We hiked along the AT but did decided to turn around before reaching the summit in order to make it back to the car before dark. Deep snow slowed us down a lot. The weather was gorgeous for February and almost felt like spring. Although we didn't summit, we still had some great views towards the top.


Group: Adam Schneider'15 (Co-Leader), Eliza Rockefeller '17 (Heeler), Malcolm Saavarola '17

Weather: Near the base, foggy in the 40s/50s; approaching the summit and at the summit, in the 30s, snowing, windy and cold.

Trail Conditions: The trail was muddy and slippery from recent rain, and from halfway up the mountain to the summit we encountered large compacted patches of snow and ice. The summit felt like winter; the steep section near the summit was icy and difficult, we definitely needed our microspikes! The road was covered with frost heaves, and then the dirt road was pretty muddy.

Trip report: We hiked the AT to the summit of Smarts, enjoying the colors of the foggy day. At the summit we felt like we were in a winter wonderland; we admired the snow and ate lunch in the firetower, then hiked back down the AT and saw the CnT trailwork trip on the way down. We all had a good time and saw some lovely views as the fog cleared in the afternoon!

9/22/13: Trip led by Anna Knowles and Shea Flanagan. We took the AT up to the summit, on which we encountered various blowdowns. At the summit, we experienced surprisingly great weather and beautiful views, including a good amount of fall foliage. To return to the van, we took the Ranger Trail, which was in relatively poor condition, especially near the top where the rocks were extremely slippery and the trail was filled with water. The trippees were excited to see first-hand the Smarts privy which was recently mentioned in the NY Times.