EASY Dayhike: 6.6 miles (4.5 hours) — 28 miles from Hanover
Mount Cube, with open ledges on its north and south peaks, commands views both back down the valley towards Hanover and ahead to Mount Moosilauke and the White Mountains beyond. This is the northern end of the long ridge stretching north from South Moose Mountain that forms the eastern edge of the Connecticut River valley. The pinkish-gray summit rocks are quartzite, the same hard ridge-forming rock that runs in a band from Lebanon, over Moose, up Lambert Ridge, and on to Cube. On warm days, the summit ledges of Mount Cube are excellent lunch spots. Be sure to sample the wild blueberries in late summer.
How To Get There:
Take Route 10 north out of Hanover, through Lyme, and into Orford. Just before reaching the green in Orford, turn right onto Route 25A East. Pass through Orfordville in 2.5 miles and continue up the northern shoulder of Mount Cube, whose summit ledges are visible above the trees. After 8.3 miles, at the height-of-land, pass Mount Cube Farm and former governor Mel Thompson’s famous pancake house. Continue on Route 25A and descend steeply to Upper Baker Pond. Just before crossing a steel highway bridge, 10.2 miles from Orford, the AT south leaves from the right hand side of the road. Park in the parking lot across the bridge.
After leaving the highway (0.0 miles), the trail crosses a swampy area, passes through an abandoned homestead, and begins rising parallel to a brook.
At 0.4 miles, the trail perpendicularly crosses a gravel road and continues uphill through hardwood forest.
At 1.6 miles, after cresting a small rise, the trail winds down to cross Brackett Brook. The trail rises straight on the far side of the brook and then begins a switchbacked ascent of the mountain’s shoulder.
At 2.8 miles, the trail crests the shoulder and climbs gently towards the summit ridge. This section of trail, completed in the fall of 1987, was cut extra wide to accommodate backcountry skiing.
At 3.1 miles, arrive at a T-junction between the north and south summits. To the right, the blue-blazed side trail leads in 0.2 miles to the north summit, with its fine view of Moosilauke. To the left, the AT continues south.
At 3.3 miles, reach the south summit of Mount Cube. Smarts and Ascutney dominate a view that covers much of the Upper Valley of the Connecticut.
Those who have arranged transportation and wish a longer hike might consider continuing on to Smarts. The AT descends over quartzite ledges off the south side of Cube, passes six-sided Hexacuba Shelter in the valley near Eastman Ledges, and rises along the gentle northern ridge of Smarts to its summit, 7 miles away.
Follow the same trail you came up to return to your car.