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A Guide to Hiking Black Cap Mountain

Black Cap Mountain Hiking: Views
The view from the weather station, White Mountains, N.H.
The view from the weather station, White Mountains, N.H.
Tony Sweet/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Hiking and biking are a natural, zesty enterprise, not to mention a good way to get exercise. There's no shortage of opportunities to do both in New England. What brings these athletes to Black Cap and the surrounding area is the view, both on the way up and at the mountain's summit.

First, there's all that glorious rock. Then there's the varied array of interestingly named wildlife residing on it. Black bears and bobcats have long called the mountain home, while many of their neighbors are lesser-known creatures. Wood warblers, for instance, are bright yellow-breasted birds who perched themselves among the mountains woodlands. Less flashy whip-poor-wills, on the other hand, are typically heard, but not seen. The birds' brownish hue serves as camouflage among the surrounding forest. Finally, Black Cap's bald peak allows visitors to get a good look at the mountain's nighthawks when the sun sets [source: New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands].

Four rare plants also make their residence on the mountain: White Mountain silverling, smooth sandwort, green adder's mouth and Douglas' knotweed. Unlike most plants, these thrive in distressed soil. Green thumbs can also take in Black Cap's abundant beech forests whose nuts are a staple of the local black bear diet. Red oak and maple trees are also visible while hiking the mountain along with the red pine whose thick canopy dots the ridgeline [source: The Nature Conservancy].

Hiking Black Cap is about both the journey and the destination. Once atop the mountain's peak, hikers enjoy a sweeping panoramic view of both New Hampshire and Maine, including the jagged Green Hills ridgeline and nearby White Mountains. Even closer is the local valley and the town of Conway, where somewhere a bunch of cyclists who missed out on the vista are sopping up the local brew.

Explore the links on the next page for more information about hiking and biking adventures.