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Mt Wachusett
May 7, 2000

Route: West Side Trail, Semuhenna Trail, Harrington Trail, Old Indian Trail


2008 ft

Vertical Climb:

880 ft


3.5 miles

Who Went:

Paul, Muffin

Like Mt Monadnock, Mt Wachusett is one of those peaks that stands alone in the rolling uplands of north-central Massachusetts and southwestern New Hampshire. I've climbed it many times, at least once on every trail, and multiple times on most of them, and in all kinds of weather, including at night. It's good training for hikes in the White Mountains.

More often than not, I'll climb up either the Old Indian Trail from the north (which is nice because it rises 1000 ft), or take the steeper but shorter Pine Hill Trail from the park headquarters on the east side of the mountain. This time, Muffin and I decided to head up the West Side Trail from a parking area along West Princeton Road.

This trail is mostly gentle, and somewhat rocky, but doesn't climb all the way to the summit, as it ends at the junction with the Old Indian Trail. We followed the West Side Trail up to the Semuhenna Trail, which traverses the west side of the mountain, connecting the lower reaches of the Old Indian Trail with the upper reaches of the Harrington Trail. From there, we continued up the Harrington Trail to the summit. The upper portion of the Harrington Trail contains what is probably the steepest and rockiest climbing on the mountain, although the steep climbing doesn't go on for very long.

There's a viewpoint from an open ledge just off the Harrington Trail where you can look down on the Princeton Wind Farm. Built in the 1980s, this wind farm supplies a small portion of the town of Princeton's electricity.

The summit area is open and ledgy, with good views in most directions, particularly east toward Boston, which you can see on a clear day. You can also see Mt Monadnock rising to the north. At the very top, there's an old fire tower, and slightly below that, a small pond.

Just below the summit area, the Mt Wachusett Ski Area's main chairlift ends in a level area that also has a number of picnic tables. Of course, in May, if was too late in the season for skiing, and the lift hadn't started its summer tourist season yet. We sat on one of the chairs for a short rest and snack, and enjoyed the views down toward the ski lodge.

Finally, we descended via the Old Indian Trail as far as the West Side Trail, the looped back to our car on West Princeton Road.

Muffin near the beginning of the Westside Trail. This trail links the west side of the mountain with trails on the upper mountain.

Muffin resting under a picnic table near the junction of the West Side Trail and the Summit Road.

Muffin at a cairn on a ledgy stretch along the upper part of the West Side Trail. The cairn is purely ornamental; the trail is easy to follow and the borders of the woods are close by.

The Harrington Trail. This steep trail ascends to the summit from the southwest, but we just followed it from the Semuhenna Trail to the top. It is part of the Midstate Trail.

The Princeton Wind Farm. Built in the 1980s, this wind farm supplies a small portion of the town of Princeton's electricity.

Muffin sitting on a seat at the top of the Mt Wachusett chair lift. The chair lift ends just below the summit at the top of a number of ski trails.

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