Chimney Mountain is one of those great short hikes that every family should go on. From the trail head to the summit, it's only one mile each way. The trail climbs about 700' in that mile, but it's not unbearably steep. The reward at the top is a most unusual collection of large boulders and caves. It takes some exploring to find the various caves, but that's half the fun.
|This is where you park|
It also takes some effort to find the trailhead. Be sure to have a good map with you. You also need to bring $2 for parking, since the trailhead is on private land. The owners are gracious enough to allow a trail to begin on their land, and $2 is a small price to pay to access the mountain.
|The legal campsite near the summit|
For those that are interested, there is a nice legal tent site right near the summit. That might be nice to try out. There are usually crowds on the summit, but if you are camping there, you'd probably have the summit to yourself at sunset and sunrise!
|A far reaching view from the summit|
The "chimney" at the top is not safe to climb, but there are plenty of rocks to scamper around on. We enjoyed the summit, but our dog Rev was getting a little wound up with all the people there, so we made our way back to the trailhead.
|What kid wouldn't like this?|
Hike Stats - Chimney Mountain
Hike Distance: 2 miles
Hike Time: 2 hours (including stops)
Total Vertical Gain: ~ 700'
Once back at the trailhead, it was still early. We had planned to take a second trail to go to Puffer Pond and that is what we did. It begins at the same trailhead and leads 2.5 miles to the pond. Puffer is a nice pond with a pair of lean-tos on the western shore. The trail leads straight to the southern lean-to (the nicer of the two, in my opinion). The southern one has recently had a new roof put on. The northern one is waiting for a new roof.
|The southern lean-to on Puffer Pond|
While Chimney Mountain had been crowded (not surprising for Labor Day weekend), the trail to Puffer Pond and the lean-tos were quiet. We didn't see anyone. We were able to give Rev some romping time in the woods and she loved it.
We explored both lean-tos before returning the way we came. The weather was perfect for hiking and we had an enjoyable time on both of these trails.
Hike Stats - Puffer Pond
Hike Distance - 5 miles
Hike Time - 2 hours 45 minutes (including stops)
Total Vertical Gain: 800'