Owl Head Lookout provides spectacular views of Giant Mountain, Bald Mountain, and Rocky Peak Ridge, among other mountains

Owl Head Lookout
2.6 miles (5.2 miles round-trip)
Elizabethtown, Essex County
Giant Mountain Wilderness Area
Hiking, Snowshoeing
Level of Difficulty: Moderate


Hike Owl Head Lookout

Owl Head Lookout is a 2.6-mile hike outside of Elizabethtown in Essex County. The trail is located on public Forest Preserve lands in the Giant Mountain Wilderness Area. The Lookout provides spectacular views of Giant Mountain, Bald Mountain, and Rocky Peak Ridge, among other mountains.

The trailhead is located just off of Route 9N between Keene and Elizabethtown. This trail, also called the North Trail to Giant Mountain, follows red trail markers that start beyond the trailhead register. The trail makes a number of stream crossings on foot bridges and with stepping stones.


The first 1.5 miles of the trail traverses through a young northern hardwood forest, interspersed with towering erratics. At the 1.8-mile mark, the trail departs this stretch of path and crosses the stream using a few sizable stepping-stones. The trail then levels out temporarily, hops over a handful of smaller brooks, and curves sharply to the right. After a moderate incline along this curve, the path levels out again.


Owl Head Lookout

The last 0.5 miles of the trail is a long ascent that leads to a ridgeline where a trail junction appears at the 2.5-mile mark. From it, two paths exist, one forward to the Giant Mountain lean-to and summit, and one on the left that shoots up a small spur trail to Owl Head Lookout.

This spur trail runs 0.2 miles, ascends steeply, and offers breathtaking views from the top of Owl Head Lookout. The rocky outcrops at the Lookout provides ample spaces for sitting and enjoying the view.


The return hike to the parking area follows the same route as hiked in.

Click here for a map and directions to Owl Head Lookout.

When You Hike Make Sure to Practice “Leave No Trace” to be Prepared and to Protect the Forest Preserve

Please follow “carry in, carry out” rules for all trash and follow other Leave No Trace principles when hiking in the public Forest Preserve and other wild areas. The seven Leave No Trace principles are: 1) Plan ahead and prepare; 2) Stay on hiking trails and camp at designated areas; 3) Dispose of human waste and trash properly; 4) Leave what you find; 5) Minimize campfires; 6) Respect wildlife; 7) Respect other hikers.

Educated hikers do not damage the environment.

Prepared hikers do not need search and rescue unless injured.

Winter Use: Owl Head Lookout is a popular trail for snowshoeing.

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