Owls Head hike in Keene closed on weekends

The summit of Owls Head Mountain in Keene, seen April 14, has a scenic view, plus cliffs that are popular among rock climbers. (Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

KEENE — The popular Owls Head Mountain trail is closed on weekends for the summer, and it will then close permanently at the end of the season, according to a statement from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Up to now, there have been signs at the trailhead asking hikers to respect the private land. However, over Memorial Day weekend, the large number of cars at the trailhead blocked the private road for the landowners, prompting the closures.

In the last few days, the landowners posted signs on the road and at the trailhead announcing the change. A DEC press release late Friday said, “The trail to the summit of Owls Head is not an official DEC trail nor does DEC have an easement for public use on the trail — the landowner has allowed the public to use the trail. However, the landowner has informed DEC the trail will be closed for public use at the end of this hiking season.”

From 4 p.m. on Friday to 7 a.m. on Monday, the trail and parking area are now closed.

The access road, the parking area and the bulk of the trail are located on private land. The state only owns a small section of trail and the summit of the mountain, which offers expansive views of the High Peaks, Hurricane Mountain and the surrounding areas.

Clocking in at just over a mile round-trip, Owls Head is a popular spot for hikers of all abilities. The cliffs at the top of the mountain are also a popular spot for rock climbers.

The DEC has been eyeing a new route for the trail and said in the release that the new trail will likely come from Molly Nye Road. This trail would be in the High Peaks Wilderness, however, and would therefore require an amendment to that area’s unit management plan.


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