Mount Chocorua has the feel of a 4,000-footer without quite reaching that elevation. There are several trails to the summit that create a variety of out-and-back and loop options. The Champney Falls Trail is located along the scenic Kancamagus Highway and starts from a large, well-established parking area with vault toilets.
The Champney Falls Trail is known for the waterfalls along the way, which are accessed by a short side path off the main trail. Champney Falls was named after artist Benjamin Champney, who painted landscapes of the White Mountains while staying at his summer home near Conway in the mid- to late 1800s. If you’re wondering whether the side trip to the falls is worth the trip, consider the time of year and amount of recent rain. Champney Falls and Pitcher Falls are along Champney Brook, which can dry up during the hot summer months and are best viewed in the spring when snowmelt increases the water flow.
It’s approximately 3.8 miles to reach the summit of Mount Chocorua via this route, which utilizes both the Champney Falls Trail and then the Piper Trail near the top. The trail is very well maintained, and good signage at junctions keep you on track. The trail has beautifully built stone steps and switchbacks that prevent the trail from ever getting too steep. Once you reach the open rock ledges that lead to the summit, you’ll want to follow the paint blazes because it’s easy to get off trail. The 360-degree view includes countless mountains, many of New Hampshire’s 4,000-footers, surrounding lakes, and an overlook of your route up. Return the way you came, or if you want to make it a loop, you can return to the Champney Falls Trailhead via the Beeline and Bolles trails.