Mount Kearsarge is the perfect hike for beginners and children and offers a big reward at the top. Access the Rollins Trail by entering Rollins State Park and driving the paved auto road to a large parking area 3.5 miles past the toll booth. You don’t even have to step out of your car to enjoy a scenic view, and a picnic area near the parking lot offers a fantastic spot to have lunch before or after your hike. The Rollins Trail is a half mile long and starts out on a well-graded gravel path. The trail soon becomes rockier and footing may be tricky for toddlers, so younger children may need a hand. Mount Kearsarge’s open bedrock provides a view in all directions from its summit, and an even better view can be had by climbing the fire tower. Look around to find Mount Cardigan, Mount Sunapee, Mount Monadnock, and countless other mountains and hills that are visible today due to a forest fire in 1796 that cleared the summit’s vegetation. Relax and take in the mountain vista, and then choose between returning the way you came or descending the 0.4-mile, steeper, Lincoln Trail to make a loop.
For a longer, more challenging hike, Mount Kearsarge can be reached by trails in Winslow State Park, northwest of Rollins State Park.