High Watch Preserve

About the Property

Three different paths lead to the summit of Green Mountain, part of the Green Mountain State Forest, a block of land at the summit surrounded by the High Watch Preserve. Blueberries are often abundant near the summit in season.  An 0.4 mile spur trail to an adjacent peak, Hanson Top, leaves from the Libby Road Trail, just a few hundred feet from the summit of Green Mountain.  Hanson Top provides excellent views to the south and west from an exposed ledge.

Please see our Visitor Use Guidelines page for a complete list of rules and regulations for Forest Society reservations. 

Property Details

You’ll find a small parking area, kiosk, and property sign at the Dearborn trailhead (not plowed in winter). This trailhead is at the end of a Class V (plowed) section of Hobbs Road, accessed from the Lord’s Hill section of Rt. 153 (Province Lake Road). The High Watch trailhead is at the end of High watch Road; park along the side of the road and look for the property sign that marks the trailhead (on your right at the end of the short dirt-road section).  At the Libby Road Trailhead, you’ll find a locked bar gate.  Please do not block the gate when parking here.  This section of Libby Road is not maintained in the winter; however, you can park at the junction of Town House Road and Libby Road in winter and snowshoe in from there.

NOTE: Libby Road and High Watch Road are not through roads.

Trail Information

High Watch Trail


Orange Paint Blazing

About a 1 to 1.5 hour hike from trailhead to mountain top, this wooded trail along the mountain’s north side is a great hike for kids, combining soft pine-covered trails with three somewhat steeper rocky sections – just enough for variety. The kids will love scrambling up the rocks, and plus, there’s the fire tower at the top. The observation deck is closed unless a forest ranger is in attendance, but views can be had from the tower below the observation deck. The trail passes through a forest of beech, hemlock, maple, oak and spruce. Note that the trail is not on Forest Society land for approximately 1/3 mile at the start of the hike: this section of trail may be rutted, please stay on the trail.

Round trip hiking time is approximately 3 hours.

Libby Road Trail


White Paint Blazing

This is an un-maintained woods road that climbs the mountain on its southern flank, providing off-road vehicle access for the state fire tower warden. There is limited parking at the trailhead, but enough room for a few cars. The trail is covered with rubble for the most part, so footing can be challenging, especially on descent.  However, the lower third of the trail travels alongside a lovely brook and then through an interesting region of fallen and twisted trees, which are remnants of the 2008 tornado that touched down in Effingham and other areas of the state.  Libby Road Trail also offers views of the Hanson Mountain Range from the trail itself (remember to turn around to see the views if you are ascending!)   About 700 feet from the top of Libby Road Trail, a spur trail to Hanson Top (a secondary peak) runs to the west.

Libby Road Trailhead
Directions via Google Maps

Dearborn Trail


Yellow Rectangles

This trail climbs up the southeast side of Green Mountain. The trailhead has a parking area and a kiosk. The Dearborn Trail begins gently, then becomes steeper as it nears the summit. The moist lower slopes, growing red oak, beech, birch, maple and hemlock, are bisected by many logging trails. The steeper mid-slopes contain a very dry, rocky ridge forest community of red and white pine and red oak. Some larger, old red oaks feature basal forest fire scars, while scattered red pines have been marked with teeth and claws as scent trees by black bears. The upper slopes are less steep as the trail winds through scattered red spruce and white birch, glades of ferns and patches of wild blueberry. In the fall and early spring, when there are layers of wet leaves on the ground, this trail can be slippery.  Round trip hiking time is approximately 3 hours.

Hanson Top Spur Trail


Sky-Blue Paint Blazing

The trailhead for Hanson Top (a secondary peak to Green Mountain) leaves from the Libby Road Trail, about 700’ from the top of Green Mountain.   Thus, it can easily be accessed after reaching the summit of Green Mountain from any of the three paths up the mountain.  The Hanson Top Spur Trail is a 0.4 mile hike to open ledges at Hanson Top, providing a southern view of the town of Effingham, Province Lake and other distant mountain ranges.  This viewpoint is also an ideal setting for a picnic and/or rest. You will find a trail register box affixed to a tree on your return trip from the Hanson top.

Libby Road Trailhead
Directions via Google Maps