Baldface Circle Trail
ElevationAscent: 3,310' 1,009 m
Descent: -3,093' -943 m
High: 3,548' 1,082 m
Low: 573' 175 m
GradeAvg Grade: 14% (8°)
Max Grade: 54% (28°)
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“This is a great late spring/early summer run. Go on a dry day for safe scrambling and good views.”— Preston Conger
The first part of the trail is forested. If you're running in late May or June you'll encounter the black flies in the forested areas - you may want bug spray. You'll find mostly elm trees with pockets of fir trees. Follow the yellow blazes the whole way. As you make your way through the forest, you'll soon hit a mountain stream. You'll follow the stream for a portion of the forest area of the circle.
About 1 mile in, you'll find an area about 100 yards off the trail called "Emerald Pool." I imagine you could take a dip in this nice calm section of stream mid-summer. This is also where you can choose to go up the Baldface Knob side which would lead you to South Baldface then North Baldface, or up the Baldface circle ridge. If you prefer to scramble upward, then take the left at this juncture, otherwise hang right and go up the ridge.
I went up the ridge. I would do this again because when you circle around you get a great view over the Baldface valley as you descend South Baldface down to Baldface Knob. The trip up the ridge is steady with some areas you may need to pull yourself up. You'll find some wet spots on the trail.
Once you hit the alpine region, you're in for a treat. From here, you'll enjoy 360-degree views. Once you get up near North Baldface on to South Baldface, you'll be able to see a line of the Presidentials, which form the well known "Presi Traverse" which hits all the peaks named after US presidents in the White Mountains. Mount Washington is very prominent and serene from the view on top of Baldface.
Descending from South Baldface, you get a front row view of the New Hampshire-Maine countryside. You'll get 10+ miles of visibility on a clear day and a look way down into the valley area. If you're afraid of heights, then you may find the scramble down Baldface Knob a bit much. Take your time, stay close to the rock, and follow the cairns (the yellow blazes are a bit faded at this point).
Once you reach the Baldface shelter, you're done with the scrambling, and a short run down will put you in the forest again. It is a calm descent back to the trailhead. Some routes in New England have drastic descents with lots of rocks and roots, but you'll find this descent to be relatively easy.
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Land Manager: USFS - White Mountain National Forest Office