The trail starts off flat but you quickly begin to climb. Once you start your ascent, the trail continues on its upward course with little relief. The trail is fairly wide but due to the large amount of traffic a lot of care is taken to prevent erosion. These erosion control measures add to the workout you get on this short trail. As you make your journey up the mountain, you will appreciate the surrounding vegetation, such as lady slippers, and the rocky terrain landscape.
You finally arrive at a fork in the trail, and if you take the trail on the right, you will come to a ledge outcrop, which gives you your first peak at Squam Lake. After you return to the main trail and take the left fork you have a short walk to the summit of West Rattlesnake, elevation 1231 feet. The view of Squam Lake, its islands and the mountains in the distance is magnifi-cent, but keep an eye on the kids because the ledge outcrops drop right off.
We had a wide range of ages in our group from five years old to 65 years old. As we progressed on the hike the younger kids were starting to get tired of walking without seeing much. Until the spur trail near the summit, there is not much to see except for trees, plants and rocks, but once they reached the top and climbed onto the rocks, they felt good about what they had accomplished. The kids also noticed a playground at the bottom of the mountain in the middle of the woods. Next time we will have to find the playground too.
The view is definitely worth the hike and I would love to do the hike again in the fall when the colors are changing.
To view a short video (00:00:34) about our hike, click here…>